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  • Why we love and hate Google

    net savvy Why we love and hate Google Local online publishers need to keep an eye on Google Publishers love and hate the world’s biggest search engine. Google is getting bigger and scarier everyday, or as Wired magazine puts it, going from “guerrilla startup to 800-pound gorilla”. Now that Google appears to be making a beeline for this continent, local publishers need to keep an eye on the search monster’s movements. Google stunned the country by quietly launching google.co.za. It has now just launched Google News South Africa. (more…)

  • Revenge of the amateurs

    Now South Africa has its own citizen journalism offering via Johnnic’s commendable reporter.co.za One of the first images of the Asian Tsunami crisis came from a Nordic tourist stuck on a rooftop in Phuket who MMSed it to a major news website, where it was immediately published. During the London bombings we saw grainy underground footage via evacuees’ cellphones. Here at home, e.TV recently received footage of shackfires in Cape Town via cellphone video, prompting the station to ask questions and do a short insert on the “citizen journalism” phenomenon. (more…)

  • Web 2.0 a Poo Sandwich?

    net savvy Web 2.0 a Poo Sandwich? Some say “Web 2.0” is just the latest meaningless buzzword in a long list of internet hyperbole. But Matthew Buckland argues that such labels can be useful. A well-known blogger wrote that whenever he hears the phrase “Web 2.0” he feels a little bit stupider for the rest of the day. Critics have dismissed the term as the latest meaningless, hyperbolic obfuscation to hit the internet and get people all excited over nothing. If anything demonstrates just how much scepticism there is, it’s the particularly vicious criticism from popular UK technology site The...

  • ’The future of advertising is the internet’

    The future of advertising is the internet. And that’s not from my mouth. It’s from Bill Gates’. At an Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) conference in the UK in October this year, Gates said this when he was asked whether he thought the online advertising industry would continue to see its strong growth of the last few years. Gates said he that he actually saw the debate between online and offline advertising as obsolete, because soon all media channels will be powered by the internet, as the boundaries blur between the virtual and physical world. It is a view that was echoed...

  • Online + print = better journalism

    Much has been written about how websites are increasingly threatening newspaper readerships. Much has been written about the supposed antagonistic relationship between the two mediums, stereotyped as the fast, loose and reckless propeller heads versus the staid, conservative, old newspaper hacks. Well it’s not like that. Although I was just a twinkle in my father’s eye during the early years of Marconi’s wireless, I have often been told that back then people spoke of the ‘death of radio’ with the looming arrival of moving picture television. (more…)

  • The future of online advertising

    net savvy The future of online advertising Here’s a prediction: Expect online advertising to increasingly resemble television commercials. Soon there won’t be too much difference between an advert you see on your TV and an advert you see on a website you are visiting. They may even be one and the same thing. As technology and bandwidth on the web advances, so advertisers and their agencies are increasingly deploying rich media to funk up their online campaigns. Rich media means smoother, silkier online ads that make use of animation, video and audio to deliver The Message. It means online adverts should...

  • Dot.boom, dot.bomb, dot.reality

    \During dot.boom the geeks were cool. Takkies, jeans and T-shirts were to replace ties and sensible shoes in the corridors of power. Boardrooms were to be replaced by lounges with bean bags and foosball tables. The pimply dot.com kids were ushering in a new economy built around the internet and showing the old world how it was done. Back in the 90s, every day you read something about a new, crazy dot.com start-up, backed by millions. Living in the 90s, writes the Guardian, and having no involvement in a dot.com startup, was like living in the 60s and not smoking....

  • What’s a Wiki?

    net savvy What’s a Wiki? It means “quick” or “informal” in Hawaiian. Matthew Buckland explains the latest form of web-based “open content”, which has net wizards in a spin. If this column was a wiki on The Media’s website, everyone and anyone could edit and change it. Readers would be able to rewrite and modify it to such an extent that it might even end up not being about wikis anymore. Preposterous! If all went well, people would edit this column via an “edit this page” link somewhere on the article – hopefully making it a stronger...

  • International traffic on local websites: Name in Lights

    On Google’s news page recently, Matthew Buckland saw the name of East London’s Dispatch Online above some world famous brands. But could they cash in on it? The other day I saw a story from East London’s Daily Dispatch website, Dispatch Online, highlighted on Google’s news site. It was up there with world famous brands like the New York Times, Washington Post, Guardian and CNN. The Google news search engine had picked up a random Dispatch Online wire report floating in cyberspace on a random shooting in Iraq – and made it the lead for a few hours, relegating a...

  • Why SA’s Online Journalism is Rubbish

    When will online journalism make a real impact in this country? Matthew Buckland says that until online starts to publish more original stories, it’s not going to be taken seriously. There is a movie on circuit at the moment called Shattered Glass. It’s about a rising star journalist, Stephen Glass, who got caught out for fantastically fabricating his articles for The New Republic, one of the US’s most prestigious magazines. The scandal was unthinkable at the time. Of all titles, not The New Republic – the “inflight magazine of Airforce One”. The outrage broke when an online journalist, Adam L....

  • Online advertising: Behind the Growth

    If it’s not the traffic or the advertising model, why is online experience a massive growth in revenues? Matthew Buckland finds some answers in a Standard Bank. case study. A greater number of companies are starting to allocate bigger portions of their advertising spend to this thing called the internet. The figures backing this fact up are relatively well known by now: according to the Online Publishers Association, the sector recorded a prolific increase of 136,7% in 2004. The year before, it showed a largely stagnant 9% increase, and before that there was the dot.bomb decline of about...

  • The online advertising edge

    A great philosopher once said: I think, therefore I click. I think his name was Desmond or something, but click he did. After the click followed the advertiser’s website, which listed the product and allowed Des to buy himself a fine looking chariot and that gladiator suit he had always wanted. You see, this is what online advertising is all about. It goes beyond the branding, allowing people to transact with the advertiser and buy the product right there and then at an online shop. The effectiveness, or lack thereof, of the advertisement can be measured immediately. We can tell...

  • Online advertising: Cautious Optimism

    I’ve always wondered where the gazillions in online advertising revenue went. If the pundits and their skyward-pointing graphs were to be believed, I doubt very much I’d still be working, but filing this column from Mauritius. Of course then it was de rigueur to foam at the mouth over the projected revenue of the reckless dot.boom era. It was all part of the hype: that internet-is-going-to take-over-the-world-and-kill-newspapers mumbo jumbo we all know so well. (more…)

  • The power of information

    People are still asking today how it was that the world failed to mobilise during the Rwanda genocide. Nearly a million Africans were hacked and slaughtered, making it one of the most appalling genocides in history -- yet the world didn’t lift a finger. Could it be that the world (and even Africa itself) doesn’t really care a jot about what happens on the “dark continent”? Or is it the case the world failed to act because there simply wasn’t the right information reaching the right places? It seems hard to believe that a genocide on the scale of Rwanda can...

  • Audio streaming online: Dare to Stream

    Radio “streaming” may draw in a surprising amount of listeners, but the business prospects have yet to evolve. Matthew Buckland considers the current landscape and future prospects of the net’s audio capabilities. Thanks to the world wide web, regional and national South African radio stations have become, in a sense, worldwide broadcasters. Stations like 5FM or Joburg’s 94.7 Highveld Stereo can now be picked up, via the net, anywhere from Khayelitsha to Kazakhstan. Primedia’s 94.7 boasts about 200,000 streams every month, and its sister station 702 about 95,000. The SABC’s 5FM – one of the first stations in South Africa...