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  • Bees Awards: World’s best social media campaigns in the spotlight

    Twenty leading professionals from all continents across the world will judge excellence in the fast-growing social media marketing industry via the The Bees Awards -- the San Francisco-based social media marketing awards. The event will once again award winners in more than 23 specialised categories, including eight new categories in the fast-paced social media marketing world. The ceremony will be held at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco on May 3, 2011 at 7pm and will be live-streamed over the web. (See winning social media entries from last year) One-fifth of the planet is using social media platforms. That...

  • Facebook now valued at $50-billion

    Facebook announced on Friday that it had raised $1.5 billion from investors in a private share offering that valued the booming social network at approximately $50-billion. "Our business continues to perform well, and we are pleased to be able to bolster our cash position with this new financing," Facebook chief financial officer David Ebersman said in a statement. "With this investment completed, we now have greater financial flexibility to explore whatever opportunities lie ahead." Facebook said US investment bank Goldman Sachs completed an oversubscribed offering to its non-US clients in a fund that invested $1-billion in Facebook Class A common stock. Russia's Digital...

  • Social networking: 4 trends you need to know about

    In early 2010, Facebook passed Google in website traffic. This is astonishing because Google has been the greatest growth story of all time. How could this be? What is fundamentally driving this behaviour? And what are the implications moving forward? U.S. Website Traffic, percentage of Total Visitors (Source: The Economist, Dec. 2, 2010) What distinguishes mammals from other animals is our need for true social interaction. Human beings are not wired to be alone. The most severe punishment meted out in prison is solitary confinement. And the internet and social networking have enabled human beings to exploit our need...

  • Q & A: Vanessa Raphaely on blogging, fashion and 21st century media

    Vanessa Raphaely, aka Hurricane Vanessa, is a force of nature in the local fashion and publishing worlds. Firing off humorous anecdotes, intelligent opinions and withering critiques at a rate of knots, she manages to hold a day job as editor of South African Cosmopolitan and editorial director of Associated Magazines, not to mention as publisher of Marie Claire, O, The Oprah Magazine and House and Leisure, while also blogging as Hurricane Vanessa and raising three children. On top of all that, she managed to answer our questions in record time. MB: How has social media changed the fashion world? VR: Blogging,...

  • Major shake-up as Google sees Larry Page elevated to CEO

    In an effort to shake up its internal culture and processes, Google announced that one of its co-founders, Larry Page, would replace industry veteran Eric B. Schmidt as CEO with immediate effect. With younger, smaller organisations like Twitter and Facebook mounting a serious challenge to its dominance, The New York Times reports that "Google has lost some of its entrepreneurial culture and become a slower-moving bureaucracy" -- a situation the company is desperate to reverse. The move is likely to put innovation and technology back in the driver's seat at the world's premier internet company. "A lot of the...

  • Top 10 most-downloaded free iPhone apps of all time

    Just two and half years since its launch, the Apple App Store is about to clock in its 10 billionth download. This same feat took iTunes eight years to achieve. To celebrate, Apple is giving away a US$10 000 iTunes Gift Card to the person who downloads the 10-billionth app. To commemorate the occasion Apple has also created an iTunes page featuring lists of the top paid and free apps available for iPhone and iPad devices. Four of the top free apps appear both on the iPad and iPhone lists, namely Pandora, Movies by Flixster, Google Earth and Google Mobile...

  • Why startups move to Silicon Valley

    I'm constantly meeting companies that have moved part of their operations to San Francisco/Silicon Valley. Usually it is the CEO and/or the marketing and sales group that moves. Loic Le Meur, a serial entrepreneur, founder of Seesmic, did the same several years ago, moving to San Francisco from Paris. In a guest column in the UK Daily Telegraph newspaper, Le Meur explains why he moved: "In the Valley, the best companies, entrepreneurs and investors are all in one place. It feels like a campus. Everything you do, from the morning run to the coffee run, is a networking opportunity." Compare this to...

  • HP announces sweeping changes, appoints five new board members

    Months after CEO Mark Hurd was forced to resign, Hewlett-Packard announced a major shake up of its board Thursday, the latest in a series of leadership changes at the Californian computer titan. The company has named five new directors including former eBay chief executive Meg Whitman, who failed in her bid last year to be elected California governor. Four of the current directors will step down in what amounts to the first major shakeup since Leo Apotheker took charge of the company at the end of September last year. The move clears out much of the board that oversaw Hurd's departure, which...

  • Dewani trial: Round one to Twitter in the court room

    The London judge who is hearing the extradition case of murder suspect Shrien Dewani has ordered that the use of Twitter in the courtroom is admissable, providing that the tweeting "is unobtrusive, doesn't interrupt proceedings and is accurate". Dewani is an English businessman accused of plotting the murder of his wife while on honeymoon in South Africa. This is an international story where popular sentiment and opinion have played a key role -- and social networking services like Twitter could prove to play an influential part. Dewani has hired the outspoken international celebrity publicist Max Clifford to manage the media on...

  • The next great mobile wave, Bric by Bric

    Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa -- collectively known as the BRICs countries -- represent the next great wave for both mobile telecommunications and marketing. Home to over 40% of the world’s population, the rise of the BRICs' emerging middle class will profoundly affect both industries. Emerging markets in developing countries are destined for phenomenal growth in this sector since there are many more mobile phones than internet connections in these countries. The numbers for mobile internet growth speak for themselves. The BuzzCity mobile advertising network has already delivered 70% more ads in 2010 than it did in...

  • 25 years today: The story of the world’s first PC virus

    25 years ago today, the world's first computer virus was born in Lahore, Pakistan -- a development that would spawn countless problems for ordinary users and a multi-billion dollar industry dedicated to protecting the world's information from malicious software. As reported by Time magazine in 1988, a shop called Brain Computer Services, run by a pair of brothers, Amjit and Basit Farooq Alvi, was in the business of selling brand-name computer programs, like Lotus 1-2-3 and WordStar. The programs, which normally cost hundreds of dollars were going for prices as low as US$1.50. This resulted in steady traffic from...

  • Is it a tweet or is it a status update?

    After locking my BlackBerry away for the Christmas break and enjoying the consequent peace and quiet, I’ve decided that 2011 is the year we should start de-cluttering our digital lives, and filtering out the tons of useless information we’re bombarded with on a daily basis. One of the best ways to begin is to learn how and when to use specific social networks to get the best out of them, and still save some time for yourself away from your intrusive technologies. If you can manage to use your social networking accounts as they were intended and to your best...

  • Facebook Pages level the playing field for small business

    Few small business owners and entrepreneurs have the bandwidth or the budget to launch a full scale marketing campaign. Combine this with a lack of critical mass in terms of audience associated with the larger competing organisations/brands, and it almost seems hopeless to try and compete. However, with the dawn of the digital age and the rise of social media platforms and opportunities, the sky has quite literally become the limit. It is no longer just about having the traditional above-the-line campaigns spanning across radio, TV and print, but about creating an online brand presence, about having a conversation,...

  • Ugandan ISP reveals benefits of Google’s Global Cache

    Take a look at the amazing chart below. Orange Uganda has seen local traffic jump from 3Mbs to over 30Mbs in just two weeks due to partnering and implementing Google’s Global Cache. One wonders how much business they’re starting to chip away at from their competition. In layman’s terms, it works like this: Once anyone in Uganda using Orange has visited a website (especially Google’s data heavy ones like YouTube, Google Maps or even Search results), that the content is cached locally. Once that is done, the next person to visit that same site gets it served to them locally,...

  • Mobile payment systems making inroads into the US market

    In a sure sign of things to come, US coffee chain Starbucks on Wednesday began allowing customers in its US stores to keep their cash and credit cards in their wallets and pay for their drinks with mobile phones, after downloading the free Starbucks Card mobile application. Starbucks said the mobile payment system, which has been tested in selected cities since last year, was being expanded to the nearly 6 800 Starbucks around the country, as well as the more than 1 000 Starbucks located in Target stores. While Japanese shoppers have been able to pay by mobile phone for years...