Redesigning & rebuilding the Mail & Guardian Online

Redesigning the M&G Online, the country’s oldest news website. Pics below of the first meeting with myself, Vincent Maher (Strategist), Riaan Wolmarans (Editor) and Matthew Burbidge (news editor). Absent at this particular meeting is Bryan Khumalo (Online Sales Manager). We’re…

Online ads: What’s working?

Online advertising as we know it is crude. But it is entering a new era of sophistication….

The internet allows us to target advertising to an unprecedented degree, so why are most banner ads still served on such a hit-and-miss basis?

Publishers slap up an insurance ad on a homepage in the hope they will get the industry average 0,3% click-through rate or more. If they achieve that click-through rate, everyone is happy. But here is the question — what happened to the other 99,7%? Surely by any standards this is a pretty inefficient ratio? It may be at first glance, but that 0,3% is still valuable enough for advertisers to achieve major return on investment by forking out big bucks to be on the major sites.

The type of client found on local online publishers give us a clue as to what is working on the web. For example, insurance and car companies have had a very successful love affair with the internet. The one thing they have in common is that a single acquisition equals very high value for them, for example someone buying a car or taking out a long-term insurance policy. It’s also why the high-worth online audience, which can afford to pay regular premiums, works for their brand… (read on)

Nasty hatchet job on SA's 2010 prospects

To get your blood really boiling — read this nasty, little article by Jamie Trecker on the Fox Sports website about South Africa’s 2010 world cup prospects. It mostly focuses on what a terrible country South Africa is — giving the overall impression that we are basically a hopeless bet to host the 2010 word cup, because the country is headed to doom and gloom…

Roll on broadband

from my column in the media, called net savvy If a survey by search engine Google is to be believed, the British apparently now spend more time on the Internet than watching television. The report, carried by news agency AFP…

Vodacom HSDPA 3G problems

Update: 13/06/2006 Problem solved Ok I got an SMS telling me the service has been fixed. It has now been working for the last two weeks efficiently. Credit goes to Vodacom for fixing it, however it has taken some time and perhaps their communication could have been a bit better. Now that it works, I am loving the speed. Apparently we were one of the first country’s in teh world to get the HSDPA upgrade. Go South Africa.

Update: 09/06/2006 Still no contact so I wrote an email asking them to come back to me about beginning of this week. Yep, its Friday and have not heard from them. Not terribly efficient service. Vodacom are lucky that they have a such a good product from Vodafone… its a pity they cannot back up the good product by service. I’ll post here if they ever get back to me.

Update: 30/05/2006 It appears that Vodacom fixed whatever problem seemed to be occuring because i now get regular access again. Haven’t received a mail from them confirming this, nor the promised contact from the local network operator guy… maybe I am wrong to expect world class efficiency from company that makes millions in profits.

Written earlier 20/05/2006
Apparently South Africa’s Vodacom is the second biggest network in the worldwide Vodafone group, beating even its own network in the UK.

But I’d like to ask: Is Vodacom the network of choice any longer in South Africa? I have a new HSDPA 3G card (generously traded in by Vodacom for free) and I never seem to be able to connect at certain periods of the evening. I constantly get error 619 or error 31. I used to have the Novatell card and never had a problem from my house in Linden. But ever since changing to the HSDPA card, I have had error after error. Admittedly a friend of mine who also uses an HSDPA card says he does not have any problems.

The great convergence sideshow

It’s always been cheap and easy to publish on the web. Big professional, online publishers share the same medium as small-time, personal homepages. Online publishers typically publish at a lower cost than newspapers or magazines, making it an affordable option for shoestring publishers and budding entrepreneurs. It’s why they are in the web business in the first place.

Surviving the great dot.con

As Google embraces the stock exchange, many dot.com kids are rubbing their hands with glee at what could signal a return of the good times. Matthew Buckland has been through dot.boom and dot.bomb and spent lots on expensive therapy to forget it all, but here he reminisces.

Open source in SA

Something pretty revolutionary is going down in a dusty patch of Limpopo province. It involves billionaire and Africa’s first Astronaut Mark Shuttleworth, a multi-national technology company and the government.

The internet goes from free to fee

If only the internet had been invented by a businessman. It’s a common lament of internet publishers who are buckling and wheezing under the financial strain of running unprofitable websites

SA’s web stands up and gets counted

Websites seem to think in millions. Web traffic is always a million this or a million that with unique users in the hundreds of thousands. For the major online publishers in South Africa, the numbers have always been big and impressive.

Dotcom dating dollars

When the internet arrived, people screamed let’s make lots of money. This new, interactive medium had the ability to deliver content to audiences in innovative ways and make money at the same time. Content would suck readers in, went the theory, and communities would form around these content genres. E-commerce areas would then be built around relevant content and wham bam thank you Ram, your community interacts and you have dotcom dollars.

War of the web

As United States and British forces push through Iraq towards Baghdad, another kind of war is in progress: a battle between TV, radio, newspapers and websites to be the first to bring their audience breaking news on Iraq.

Netocracy

Netocracy BOOK REVIEW: NETOCRACY If Karl Marx were alive today this is the book he would have written. This is the bold, if not slightly ambitious, claim of Swedish authors Alexander Bard and Jan Söderqvist. For Marx, society’s power politics,…

Why we love and hate Google

net savvy Why we love and hate Google Local online publishers need to keep an eye on Google Publishers love and hate the world’s biggest search engine. Google is getting bigger and scarier everyday, or as Wired magazine puts it,…

Revenge of the amateurs

net savvy Revenge of the amateurs Now South Africa has its own citizen journalism offering via Johnnic’s commendable reporter.co.za One of the first images of the Asian Tsunami crisis came from a Nordic tourist stuck on a rooftop in Phuket…

Web 2.0 a Poo Sandwich?

net savvy Web 2.0 a Poo Sandwich? Some say “Web 2.0” is just the latest meaningless buzzword in a long list of internet hyperbole. But Matthew Buckland argues that such labels can be useful. A well-known blogger wrote that whenever…

’The future of advertising is the internet’

net savvy ’The future of advertising is the internet’ The future of advertising is the internet. And that’s not from my mouth. It’s from Bill Gates’. At an Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) conference in the UK in October this year,…

Online + print = better journalism

net savvy Online + print = better journalism Much has been written about how websites are increasingly threatening newspaper readerships. Much has been written about the supposed antagonistic relationship between the two mediums, stereotyped as the fast, loose and reckless…