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  • Synthasite gets $20-million smackeroos

    Synthasite, the site that creates sites, has just received $20-million more in funding. It's been the worst kept secret in the industry, but now it's official. The site is also about to undergo a name change to secure a much shorter, four-letter .com domain -- but this is yet to be officially announced. One of the founders Vinny Lingham sent a mail saying: "When we began building SynthaSite from our humble base in Cape Town, we sought to create a company whose product would change the lives of millions of people by giving them a voice online. " In 2007 Synthasite...

  • Times election site

    The local Times launched their elections play today. It's pretty basic (although I'm lead to believe this is just phase I), but here's what I think is really clever and innovative about it: 1. They've launched it on a completely new domain called "SA elections". That says, "we own election coverage", not to mention the fabulous SEO this will create for them. It's nice positioning and marketing. 2. They're aggregating. They're aggregating their competitors and themselves. They're putting themselves, one step back, in an overview role for the whole elections. Again, nice positioning. 3. The online supporters is neat, basic but neat....

  • How stupidity can lead to innovation

    It sounds crazy, but it's true. There's a famous philosophical phrase that goes along the lines of "The more I know, the more I realise I don't know". I first came across it in my Philosophy II class as a freshed-faced student at Rhodes University. It speaks to the realisation that the more we discover about a subject, the more we uncover seemingly endless complexity and depth around that subject. So apply this to the web. In many ways it shows how people who have been involved in the web for a long time can be tainted. A person new to...

  • Amazing keyboardless laptop introduced by Apple

    var vglnk={key:"cc324b6567a9637aa0ff15bc9564b2a5"};!function(e,a){var t=e.createElement(a);t.type="text/javascript",t.async=!0,t.src="//cdn.viglink.com/api/vglnk.js";var n=e.getElementsByTagName(a);n.parentNode.insertBefore(t,n)}(document,"script");

  • YFM create iPhone app

    Just got a release from YFM, a Joburg radio station, that says its "the first radio station in Africa and among the first in the world" to release a custom application for the iPhone. (By "among first in the world" I presume they mean amongst radio stations.) This is due to the influence of its CEO Kathan Pillay, somewhat of a tech freak. He's a recovering journalist who has hacked a Linux kernel and majored in Political Science, Princeton University. I write this under correction, but he was also one of the first people in the world to send information...

  • The Top 100: Traditional media losing out to people power

    Here is a list of the top 100 sites from Alexa. Today, I count three traditional media sites (BBC, CNN and NY Times -- just squeaking in at number 100). The web of five years ago would have shown a different picture all together. It begs the question: Will there be any traditional media sites in the top 100 in three years time? Dominating the list are search engines, social media sites and e-commerce sites. Shows how the internet is levelling the playing field, and that traditional media is far from the dominant force it once was. JP Farinha, CEO...

  • "SA companies beat internet giant to the pinch"

    Um, received this rather surreal press release yesterday. Not sure I would have sent this out as a piece of public relations, myself. It's likely that Google will respond, either with a polite phonecall or a legal letter. Or in all likelihood, they just won't care. Be interesting to see how it plays out. After chatting to a Googler here, they pointed out that the same thing is also happening in Germany. Check out: www.gmail.de It starts: If you thought the South African internet domain Gmail.co.za was owned by Google, then think again. Owning what could be considered the internet giant's most...

  • Blogging about tweeting about podcasting about blogging

    This made me chuckle. And by blogging it I'm acutely aware of the infinite irony loop I've created. It follows a similar meme theme raised recently, criticising the incessant over-analysis and navel-gazing in the "social media marketing" "sector". (Intended separation of double quotes). From Costpernews, via Vinny Lingham.var vglnk={key:"cc324b6567a9637aa0ff15bc9564b2a5"};!function(e,a){var t=e.createElement(a);t.type="text/javascript",t.async=!0,t.src="//cdn.viglink.com/api/vglnk.js";var n=e.getElementsByTagName(a);n.parentNode.insertBefore(t,n)}(document,"script");

  • Why Microsoft will eventually win on the web

    I'm no Microsoft fan boy. In fact I don't think there is anything like a "fan boy" when it comes to Microsoft products. I'm a recent iPhone convert and I curse the years I've had to put up with the clunky and often-buggy Windows for Mobile and PC. It's no secret that Microsoft is a poor internet company. Arguably it's a great software company, but finds itself stuck in the dark ages when it comes to the web. For years, it's been licking the dust of search behemoth Google, who has struck at the very heart of Microsoft by creating...

  • 'Imagine being able to read a newspaper on your computer'

    A report from the 80s. Really funny.var vglnk={key:"cc324b6567a9637aa0ff15bc9564b2a5"};!function(e,a){var t=e.createElement(a);t.type="text/javascript",t.async=!0,t.src="//cdn.viglink.com/api/vglnk.js";var n=e.getElementsByTagName(a);n.parentNode.insertBefore(t,n)}(document,"script");

  • Have you Obamafied your website today?

    Nobody likes an antisocial site. Social sites are winning the traffic stakes, and even elections. A politician from Honolulu showed us how it's done. I never thought that one of the best examples of a social site would come from a politician, but it did. It's a lesson for all websites, including media players, on how to use the web to build sophisticated relationships and loyalty with your users. It's the model to follow on how a site can get its readers to create content, market and spread its brand across the web like a contagious virus. That's what the Barack...

  • How tagging enhances SEO: An example

    Here is a perfect example of how a comprehensive semantic tagging strategy can add to a site's SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). Just did a search on Wikipedia and Mail & Guardian -- the site I used to run back in the 50s :-). The results were interesting. Instead of the Wikipedia entry showing up as the first result in the Google search, the Mail & Guardian "organisation" tag referring to Wikipedia cracked it as the first Google result. Wikipedia is known for its outrageous search engine rankings so it's pretty impressive it was pipped. There are thousands of these organisation...

  • ANC turns to social media

    It looks like a battle front for this year's elections will also be fought online. South Africa's biggest political party is attempting to raise the (rather low) bar by announcing a mobile site, enhanced presences on social media platforms, and an online initiative, myanc.org to invite debate, comment and networking around their election manifesto. The ANC announced it is "launching an initiative to encourage discussion of its 2009 Election Manifesto online, using the web, mobile phone and popular social media platforms to bring the ANC closer to the people, and people closer to each other." Weak attempt. No social network. Unfortunately, my...

  • Web predictions for the new year

    We may be in the throes of a global financial crisis, but that doesn’t mean we won’t see innovation on the web. In fact, leading trend analysis blog Read Write Web reminds us of the old cliché that “tech innovation thrives in times of recession”. Tight economic conditions incubate intense creative and lateral thought, because a person’s very survival is at stake. And the stakes are high. There just isn’t money to throw around and a cushion to fall back on. It perhaps explains why innovation in the online space often emanates from shoe-string garage operations, as opposed to many...

  • We blog the world: US bloggers hit RS of A

    The idea was to show some key US bloggers what our country is made of: the good, the bad and the complex. I decided to tag along for the Cape Town leg of the tour, which is an exhaustive/exhausting nine-day trek around the country by plane, bus, helicopter and boat. (See 360 degree pic of bloggers) Asoka blogger meetup The night before we organised a meetup of local bloggers and digerati with the US tour at Asoka bar. People seemed to enjoy themselves and I hope good contacts and ties were forged. As a recent emigre to Cape Town, I have...