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  • Google gives Google+ a makeover

    There are those who think Google’s approach to its social effort Google+ was wrong from the start. It was rushed, they say, a desperate attempt response to the meteoric rise of Facebook. So can a fresh lick of paint convince the doubters that things have turned around? Google today unveiled a series of changes to Google+, which it says makes the social network “more functional and flexible”. The tweaks to the 170-million strong social network have been made in three key areas: navigation, conversations, and hangouts. Navigation Google claims it is giving users “a new way to get around...

  • What the hell is social business anyway?

    Is social business just another term competing with other faddy social trends (Social media, social networking, social media marketing, social CRM...the list goes on)? Or is there really some substance behind it? How do we start making this concept work and do we really understand it? The thing that business and business owners need to remember, regardless of their size and their market, is that times change and people change. So as baby boomers give way to millenials and the digital divide grows ever more slight, business needs to be there to open the door as they approach it. The first...

  • Crowdinvest, ‘worlds first crowd sourced investment platform’, launches

    Any new startup, scratch that, any business should be solving the universal issue of “what problem can my company solve?” Crowdinvest, a venture by three ambitious Cape Town locals aims to address the need of the burgeoning startup in a distinctly un-Kickstarter like way. How so? By crowdfunding projects through social networks, word of mouth and whatever else fits the bill. Anton Breytenbach, Jay Thomson and Jaco van der Bank are the trio founders behind Crowdinvest. Breytenbach is the CEO, Thomson the CTO and Van der Bank the SBA. According to Thomson, Crowdinvest cost R2-million “to iron out the various legal...

  • How to lockdown your Facebook profile in seconds

    Worried about Facebook security? Sick off all those annoying apps pestering you for things you really couldn’t give less of a damn about? Fear not, there is a solution. Storify marketing director Jeff Elder has put together a nifty chart explaining how easy it is to manage how much access your friends’ apps have to your personal information: If you’re one of those people who think that Facebook having all that information on you isn’t an issue then hey, completely ignore the chart. Just bear in mind that all those so-called privacy nuts are in some good company. Late...

  • Chinese web powers vow to clamp down on rumours

    Three of China’s biggest online players are vowing to clamp down even further on false rumours being spread online. Search giant Baidu, along with social titans Sina and Tencent promised to guard their platforms more carefully after people started speculating about a potential coup led by security chief Zhou Yongkang. The coup rumours themselves were fuelled by a rare public scandal in which rising political star Bo Xilai was dismissed as a Communist Party chief. Authorities responded by shutting down a number of sites, making a string of arrests and punishing Sina and Tencent’s microblogs (or weibos). In comments...

  • Lessons from Facebook’s Instagram deal: Screw accountants, trust social

    Accounting be damned! Valuations and the science of accounting can never justify the pricing decisions of the new internet gods. What’s a billion amongst friends, a billion US dollars that is? Plenty will be written about why Facebook bought Instagram for that sum. As a Chartered Accountant the right side of my brain is feeling a little battered. Where is the return on investment, ROI, where are the valuations that make sense? Stepping back for a moment, is the ring of a billion just too compelling? Why settle for anything less? I am not sure I would if I...

  • Why Facebook stumped up $1bn for Instagram

    To paraphrase the punk band Anti Flag, 1-billion dollars “could buy a lot of bling”. Or, if you’re Facebook, it could buy you Instagram. But why did the world’s largest social network splash out so much for the photo-sharing app? Is it because it’s so addictive? Has Facebook suddenly got penchant for vintage photo filters? Or is it more interested in digging its claws into the info Instagram has on its 30-million plus users. According to tech research company Ovum, it may well be because Facebook’s own mobile photo-sharing service leaves a hell of a lot to be desired....

  • Emerging markets are killing when it comes to mobile social networks

    Instagram’s a pretty big mobile social network. A user base now sitting somewhere north of the 30-million mark is nothing to be sneezed at. Thing is, big as Instagram is it’s nowhere near the biggest. In fact, emerging markets are killing when it comes to mobile social networks. Around half of the world’s top ten mobile social networks don’t have developed countries as their home bases. That’s according to social media consultant Tomi Ahonen who has compiled a “preliminary” list of the largest mobile social networks by user number. Given that it is the world’s largest social network,...

  • 5 Ways to grow your email list to tap into emerging markets

    I’m sure you’ve heard the term BRICs and the hype surrounding these and other rapidly developing emerging markets. Your company may already be doing business with companies in these countries, or thinking of entering them. They can offer great return on investment and growth to businesses in saturated, mature and post-recessionary markets. Internet penetration is growing at an extraordinary pace in these markets which makes it easier for marketers to reach companies and contacts via online marketing. Email marketing Email marketing alone is a powerful medium, combined with other communication channels, as part of an integrated campaign; it’s even...

  • Top tips for taking your blog mobile

    It’s time to take that last step and go mobile. Your competition is already there with nice, neat, accessible and entertaining blogs. Just because you’re online doesn’t mean your readers are compelled to visit you from their smartphones. You have to make it simple and enjoyable for them. Why go mobile? There is a reason people use mobile apps instead of opening clunky browsers on their phones and looking up information as they would on a desktop computer. People turn to mobile apps because they are easy. You can click your way to an entertainment news post as you wait on...

  • Waze: the app that saves you from traffic and fines [Review]

    Let’s be honest: I drive a car. I hate traffic. I get lost a lot. So when I heard there was an app that combined GPS navigation with traffic updates, it was installed on my phone within the hour. I was willing to try anything. Fortunately, as it turned out, Waze is actually pretty darn good. What is Waze? Waze is an app for iOS, Android, Blackberry, Windows Mobile and Symbian -- basically, pretty much everyone with a GPS function on their mobile device. It maps your routes automatically as you drive and sends information about your speed to other Wazers....

  • Why Google’s Project Glass is actually a brilliant business strategy

    Google's augmented reality glasses are the key to a killer business strategy: how to provide Google to its users 24/7 -- it's instant search on steroids. You'll be able to Google reality anytime, and all the time. Facebook can keep the social network space and the ten and more hours a month that its users spend there; Google has its eyes on the biggest prize of all -- reality. Forget social, 24/7 is the new battleground. Google is ready and able to mediate your visual and auditory experience as you move through your day. Whenever, and wherever you are, Google's glasses...

  • Iran denies internet shutdown

    With reports that Iran is set to restrict access to the internet by August, equally fervent denials are beginning to circulate. According to news agency AFP, the initial statement -- which supposedly came from the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology actually had nothing to do with it. In a statement, the ministry said ”The report is in no way confirmed by the ministry”. It added that it was “completely baseless,” and that it served only, “the propaganda wing of the West and providing its hostile media with a pretext emanating from a baseless claim”. Iranian minister for...

  • HalfArsed-a-chef goes all Kenny Kunene with sushi challenge [Video]

    Sushi’s tricky enough to make as it is. But when you have to make it look good enough to eat off a half-naked model, well that’s when things get really complicated. In this week’s HalfArsed-a-chef, the contestants were challenged to dish up the Japanese speciality a-la Kenny Kunene. For those not in the loop, Kunene is a South African businessman -- and former convicted criminal -- who rose to prominence after serving platters of sushi off half-naked models in his ZAR nightclubs. Can the contestants make a platter fit for South Africa’s sushi king? What unexpected ingredients will the...

  • ‘Iran-ternet’ reportedly set to roll out fully by August

    Iran plans to completely block its citizens from accessing the web by August. By then it hopes to restrict access to its own sanitised, internal Intranet. According to the International Business Times, the first phase of the project will be rolled out in May, during which services from the likes of Yahoo!, Google, and Hotmail will be replaced by Iran Search and Iran email. According to Reza Taghipour, the Iranian minister for Information and Communications Technology the changes are in line with the country’s bid for a “clean internet”. The government has reportedly started with the registration process for...