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  • Internet democratising the video production industry

    The internet has not only changed the world, but the way we broadcast. Whilst the production industry has always been a service industry, there has always been a level of capital expenditure required to play in the rarefied air of commercials production that has kept the numbers of players few and the pickings ripe. That is however changing at an alarming rate, and the reasons are numerous. The advent of the internet, a paradigm that seemingly snuck in and took over our lives and the way we do things, has changed the way we broadcast. Genius! Seriously? You ask. Is...

  • Renren’s Wall Street debut off to a soaring start

    China’s biggest social network, Renren, made its debut on the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday. The company’s shares soared raising $743.4 million through the sale of 53.1 million American Depositary Shares. Renren is trading on Wall Street under the symbol “RENN”. The Beijing-based company seen as China’s answer to Facebook initially priced the shares at between US$9 and US$11 but later raised the price to US$14. Renren shares soared as high as US$24 during the day’s trading on Wednesday before closing at US$18.01. Renren chairman and chief executive Joseph Chen, who rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange,...

  • Group buying in South Africa – all hype?

    The online group buying industry (often called social buying, collective buying or even social commerce) has literally boomed in South Africa, as it has all over the world. Rather interesting, especially when one looks at the fact that other countries have up to six times the internet penetration than South Africa has, and have far more people with a great deal more buying power. So why has it grown so fast — is it hype? Thus far, Groupon have rushed in and bought a lucky Twangoo, Wicount and Dealio are running radio adverts that must have cost a good package,...

  • Angry Birds creates a flap at this year’s Webbys

    The winners of the 15th annual Webby Awards were announced on Tuesday. Famous for identifying the break-out stars of the year, and awarding deserving industry leaders, this year’s Webbys, with a good mix of both, should prove to be no different. The Webbys hosted by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences are held to honour excellence in website design, interactive advertising, film and video, mobile and applications in various categories. There are four main categories: “Websites,” “Online Film and Video,” “Interactive Advertising” and “Mobile and App,” each including sub-categories. As always, two types of awards were handed out,...

  • A friendly warning — The other side of social marketing

    Naomi Klein’s NO LOGO chronicled a global backlash against a number of “super brands” that used advertising and branding in questionable ways to maximise their profits. The book helped produce a new class of conscientious consumers by highlighting some of the features of an overly branded and globalised world: No Space, No Choice and No Jobs. NO LOGO was the warning on the label of the bad mood rising against corporate brands that abused their role and influence in society. And while the world has changed since the book was first published, the reality that some brands choose to put...

  • Innovation journalism — Media coverage is important to startups

    Media coverage is very important for startups. It is how they gain respect in their community, it is how they can win investors, and it is invaluable in helping to recruit staff. Positive media coverage will also help gain users of their products and services, providing valuable marketing services that could cost tens of thousands of dollars. But the only reason media coverage of a startup and their product is valuable is that the media coverage is seen as a neutral third party — it has no financial bias in its reporting. The only acceptable bias is a thirst for a great...

  • Internet freedom: South Africa doing poorly

    As the internet grows and users become more aware of its uses and better ways to use it, so does the concept of its freedom. After the scenes witnessed earlier this year as people in the Middle-East, used the internet as a tool for organisation to challenge oppressive regimes the importance of internet freedom cannot be denied. On the backdrop of the role the internet is playing in society today, Freedom House, the 70-year-old world renowned freedom and democracy watchdog has gauged internet freedom. The 2011 rankings were recently released. Looking at 15 countries, the pilot edition of the report...

  • Bin Laden’s raid live-tweeter now famous

    The Pakistani IT consultant who hoped for a quiet life in a summer resort town in Pakistan has become an internet sensation as the first to report the attack on the world’s most wanted man. Sohaib Athar was just another witty voice on microblogging site Twitter until he heard the sound of helicopters near his home in a Abbottabad, 50 kilometres north of Islamabad early Monday. But Athar is now world famous with almost 90 000 Twitter followers as the first person to record the attack on Osama bin Laden’s secret hideaway. He was swamped with emails and interview requests from media...

  • ‘Operation Iran’ — Anonymous does not ‘forgive’

    Anonymous, the free-form leaderless internet hacker group has moved in the last year from its history of being “prankster” group with actions such as “Operation Titstorm”, to an actual “group” that does present an actual (online) threat to those who come into its cross-hairs. The latest victim to fall in Anonymous’ line of fire — the Iranian government. The Iranian regime’s opinion of the internet has always been pretty clear. In 2006 it was declared an enemy of the internet by Reporters Without Borders for heavy censorship of the web and imprisonment and intimidation of bloggers. Iran then of course...

  • Man ‘unwittingly’ gives the world a front row seat to Bin Laden’s death

    Twitter has proved itself to have far more power and reach than just the 140 characters bursts it allows. Many global events and issues have also become “Twitter events” thanks to the reach and power of the microblogging site. The death of Osama Bin Laden, after a “targeted bombing raid” as US officials put it, by US forces in Pakistan on Sunday night was the same, and more. Branded as the world’s most wanted criminal with a US$25-million bounty on his head, Bin Laden was an ongoing covert operation. Any plans of capture or assassination of the world’s most wanted would...

  • More on Techcrunch editor’s ‘conflict of interest’ disclosure

    There is a widespread perception within the Silicon Valley community, that when it comes to the media, as long as everything is disclosed about potential reporting biases, then it’s OK. That seems to be why some have defended Mike Arrington, Editor of the influential Techcrunch publication, when he disclosed last week his investments in startups, and said it did create “conflicts of interests“. Some praised his disclosure, saying that as long as his financial biases are disclosed then that’s OK. However, Arrington has failed to meet even these minimal levels of ethical behaviour. He admitted that he has been making investments for “several...

  • We’re in the ‘McDonalds Drive-Thru’ model of the information age

    When is the last time you heard music that shook you viscerally? Not a dandle, but a jolt. Something that saturated every crease in your barren soul and made it efflorescent. I’m talking about music that made you lose all inhibitions. Music that made you unabashedly ebullient, music that marched into your life like a special operations unit and subverted the jaded preconceptions about the state of the music industry, that you didn’t even know you had. It’s been a while hasn’t it? That’s it, that’s one of the biggest problems with the music industry and the reason why piracy is...

  • Highest tweets ever — Bin Laden’s death shakes up the internet

    The news of Osama Bin Laden’s death has, not surprisingly, caused a major spike in internet traffic. The news of a successful mission to eliminate the most wanted man in the world sent users flooding the web for information and confirmation. Akamai’s Net Usage Index, a company which measures traffic for news sites that Akamai delivers content, recorded 4.1 million page views around 11:30pm (US Time) Sunday, when President Obama began his speech. Around the same time Twitter announced via a tweet that, “Last night saw the highest sustained rate of tweets ever. From 10:45 – 2:20am ET, there was...

  • Five researched ways to get more followers [Infographic]

    For marketers the most important use of Twitter is to increase your reach to spread your content. To do this, you need to get more followers. Sure there are customer service uses of Twitter, but for marketing purposes, follower count is key. I’ve been doing research for a few years now on how to get more followers, and here are some of the most important points I’ve found. You can find graphical details about each point in the infographic (below). Show us who you are When you sign up for Twitter, you’re asked to provide three pieces of personal information: a bio,...

  • Europe’s newspaper industry unease about paywalls

    There is a growing unease rising in Europe’s newspaper industry. The troubled industry is keeping a close eye on the outcome of experiments by English language sites to charge for content but is reluctant to install paywalls for fear of losing readers. The New York Times, The Times of London and the Financial Times have all introduced paid subscriptions for online content in recent months but so far continental dailies have been slow to follow suit. While largely agreed that the industry’s future is online, delegates at the ongoing European Newspaper Congress in Vienna are trying to work out not only...