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  • Alan Knott-Craig Jr on missing his first shot at Mxit, founding World of Avatar

    In the second in a series of extracts from his book "Mobinomics", South African entrepreneur Alan Knott-Craig Jr reflects on the first encounter he had with Mxit founder Herman Heunis. At that stage the company was worth a lot less than Knott-Craig would eventually end up paying for it. He also describes the bits of luck, opportunities, cups of coffee, and marital difficulties that put him on the path to leaving wireless broadband company iBurst and starting World of Avatar -- the group of startups that would come to include Mxit in its list of properties. ...

  • Rocket Internet’s Nigerian Amazon clone blasts off

    German cloning giant Rocket Internet has officially launched Kasuwa, its Nigerian Amazon-style ecommerce site. The company made its first big forays onto the continent with a number of properties in South Africa. These include a stake in Groupon, shoe and clothing site Zando, and make up testing service Glossybox. Prior to the launch, Nigerian tech blogs had speculated on what kind of site Rocket Internet might launch in the country. Techloy were right in the end, punting for an ecommerce site selling DVDs, books, and consumer electronics. Technesstivity meanwhile said that the company was launching an online clothing store. While...

  • Facebook commerce is dying? Not so fast cowboy

    If the headlines from a couple of months ago were anything to go by, Facebook commerce was as good as dead. Major US players were shuttering their storefronts and in the words of one commentator, "the entire ecosystem was painted a very ugly colour". Thing is, we probably shouldn't be so quick to hammer the last nail into Fcommerce's coffin. A number of the stores that failed said their people simply preferred shopping on their websites to their Facebook storefronts. According to the co-founder of customer experience specialist Consology, Kevin Meltzer that might be because some product offerings are...

  • On your marks, get set, get IPv6

    We are at the dawn of a new online era, but you probably won't notice. Than again, that's sort of the point. Today marks the day that participating websites, Internet Service Providers (ISP), and network hardware manufacturers switch on IPv6 permanently in parallel with IPv4. Say what now? Well, here's the thing, in order to connect to the internet, each device has to have an IP address -- a numerical label which identifies every computer, phone, tablet, ebook reader, etc. IP addresses allow machines to find and communicate with each other online–without them you couldn't check your email, visit...

  • Chinese online video ad revenue hits $330m, spikes 218%

    China's online video advertising market is now worth US$330-million, up nearly 25% from the last few months of 2011. More impressively, it represents 218% year-on-year growth. According to Chinese online research company Analysys International, the sudden spike came in the wake of slow growth in the latter parts of 2011. The company says that ad revenue grew spiked after the "Spring Festival", more familiar to Westerners as Chinese New Year. It also says that websites are finding new ways of creating ad revenue with online video. One example of this innovation is the...

  • Microsoft to give startups a free flight to the cloud

    Microsoft is set to give a select group of early stage startups free access to its cloud offering. Under the initiative, which is part of its global BizSpark Plus accelerator programme, the software giant says it will be giving away US$60 000 of free software to South African startups over 10 years. According to Clifford de Wit, developer and platform lead at Microsoft SA, the initiative is aimed at building a vibrant local software development community in South Africa: “We really want to give small software developers the incentive they need to not only develop local software, but also...

  • Google buys Quickoffice, looks to integrate into app suite

    Looks like the acquisitions team at Google has been given free reign over the company cheque book. Just one day after the internet giant bought out social and sharing outfit Meebo, it announced the acquisition of Quickoffice. In an official press blog post, Google said that it was "happy to announce" that we had acquired the "leader in office productivity solutions". It also made it pretty clear what its intentions for the company were: Today, consumers, businesses and schools use Google Apps to get stuff done from anywhere, with anyone and on any device. Quickoffice has an established track record of...

  • 100k apps published on Windows Phone store

    Over 100 000 apps have now been published on the Windows Phone store at a rate of 313 a day, with nearly 10 000 added in the last month. That's according to All About Windows Phone (AAWP) -- a site dedicated to well, everything Windows Phone. It should be noted however that those numbers come with a bit of a caveat. One hundred thousand plus apps might have been published, but just under 90 000 are currently available for download. According to AAWP, the 10 000 or so missing apps have either been removed by Microsoft or unpublished by their...

  • Airtime: Napster team launches video-based social network

    Napster founder Sean Parker has launched a video based social network called Airtime, which connects people based on their Facebook interests. The social network has been in development for the past year. In an official statement, the Airtime team claims that it "is not just a product, it’s a network service designed to create live shared experiences online, between two sets of people: those that you know and those who you want to know". "The service," it claims, "allows you to share live experiences through content, and expand beyond your social graph to discover new people through similar interests in an...

  • DStv, etv join SABC in refusal to air Nando’s ad [Update]

    South African digital satellite TV service DStv has joined the country's national broadcaster, the SABC, in refusing to air a Nando's ad on the grounds that it could inflame xenophobia. According to the Citizen newspaper, DStv Media Sales CEO Chris Hitchings confirmed that the broadcaster had "suspended flighting of the ad. Per our terms and conditions we have the right not to broadcast any material that we believe may be offensive to viewers.” In the advert, a narrator says, “you know what’s wrong with South Africa? All you foreigners”. Various population groups from Zimbabweans, and Nigerians, to Indians and Chinese...

  • China’s Renren signs deal with Japanese mobile gaming company DeNa

    Chinese Facebook clone Renren and Japanese mobile gaming company DeNa have signed a deal in what seems to be a bid by the latter to increase its presence on Chinese mobile devices. Under the terms of the deal Renen will feature a number DeNa titles on its mobile app for Android. In fact, the Japanese gaming manufacturer will have its own dedicated section in the app. Users can download games from the Mobage section and log in to Mobage with their Renren IDs. “DeNA China’s goal is to bring high-quality mobile games from around the world to the ever-increasing...

  • Primer: Programming languages & databases. Which is best for startups?

    According to the TIOBE index you’re more likely to overhear a Java, PHP, Python, Perl or Ruby developer riffing on an idea for a new web startup, than, let’s say, a PL/SQL developer. Programming languages are developer community argots. To me, the lesser-known lexicon of Oracle’s PL/SQL has been a subject of study for quite some time. I love it. Far beyond its corporate pedigree, I've seen it being used to build an online music store, course search database and microblog. Perhaps I’m partisan, then again, perhaps so are you. But, despite being part of disparate developer communities, we are...

  • Does your social media campaign have an online PR plan?

    While social media continues to evolve world-wide on the social web, it is still a very scary medium for many organisations. All of a sudden social media means that the public, customers, and prospects now have a method with the use of all the social media channels to make their voices heard with relative ease. Despite the fact that everyone can be a "citizen journalist" online, only a small percentage of the people involved with social media are creating content. Most of the others are only consuming the content on this medium or making minor contributions and commenting on...

  • Best of British: How brands upped their social efforts for the Diamond Jubilee

    For years I have been a lover of the Royal Variety Performance. The only problem is that before the days of PVR it coincided with my annual end of year festivities. So as I sit back and watch the Diamond Jubilee with old favorites like the two Ronnies, it brings back fond memories. On 4 and 5 June the UK (and the rest of the world, clearly) celebrated the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. It’s been interesting to note how companies residing under Her Royal Highness’ rule have taken advantage of the (uncommonly) lifted mood of British citizens. Turn that frown...

  • Facebook’s IPO honeymoon was over before it began… where to next?

    Ah shame, poor Facebook. In the short time its stock has been on the market, it's taken a complete pumelling. Not exactly the honeymoon present Mark Zuckerberg would've hoped for. His company’s listing was one of those memorable events that you have to have watched. I was not watching because it was my daughter’s seventh birthday party (that was a success too). Okay, so the listing did not actually go off as planned -- a glitch of sorts by NASDAQ saw many an investor and folks hoping for a giant pop confused and mad. I guess Morgan Stanley...