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  • New data confirms mobile web use booming in Africa

    A slew of new data released by the web-browser company Opera has confirmed the general perception that mobile web browsing is being adopted at an astonishing rate across the African continent. According to their State of the Mobile Web Report for the year ending June 2010, South Africa still comes out on top in terms of mobile web usage, but significant growth has been reported everywhere. South Africa recorded page per view growth of 129% over the last 12 months and unique user growth of 94% over the same period. Looking at the continent as a whole sees mobile web usage...

  • 11 top African tech startups to watch, says Seedcamp

    Seedcamp, a European micro-seed fund that invests in early stage startup companies, has selected 11 South African technology startups to possibly attend the Seedcamp Week programme held in September in London, UK, where they will be in line for a potential €50 000 investment. Seedcamp, in conjunction with the Tech4Africa conference, put out a call for applications for funding and received more than 40 entries from technology startups across South Africa. The selected African entrepreneurs will have a rare opportunity to pitch their businesses at a group of people connected to powerful investors, mentors and startups throughout EMEA, with one...

  • Five reasons why user experience thinking is essential

    User Experience (UX) analysis and design is a rapidly growing field for good reason. Websites, apps and services are placing a lot of focus on UX to differentiate themselves from competitors. To get a quick taste of how design can be informed by clever UX analysis and thinking, just compare MWEB's ADSL options and sign-up page, with that of Telkom's product offering page. Even (especially, perhaps) if you are not well-versed in web development and design, it is probably clear that the experience you will have when assessing product options and signing up as a customer will be superior...

  • The Top 7 Twitter clients for Blackberry

    In an age of juggernaut smartphones such as Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android-powered devices, Research In Motion’s (RIM) relatively fledgling foray into the mainstream consumer market sees them still battling for consumer mindshare as a general purpose smartphone maker. With that said, RIM's long-time darling smartphone of the business world, the Blackberry, has come a long way since its conservative suit-and-tie beginnings. With consumer-oriented advertising, user interface improvements, touch screen - and budget devices, RIM are clearly making a push for the mainstream consumer market. The yet-to-be released OS6, is poised to be Blackberry’s most consumer-oriented operating system yet. A great mainstream...

  • Five easy ways to cross promote your social media content

    If you’re using multiple social media platforms to promote your business, it makes sense to cross promote the media you generate through the various channels available, and try to play to the inherent strengths of each of the platforms. Doing this increases your content's exposure to a larger audience, which means you have more people engaging with your brand. For example, if you’ve already built up a healthy fan base on Facebook, but have only just started  to engage on Twitter or YouTube, you can promote this new content to your Facebook audience that is already established and more open to...

  • The rise of eBooks and the myth of affordability

    Major drum roll from the guys at Amazon.com for their announcement that "Amazon.com customers now purchase more Kindle books (eBooks) than hardcover books." The group went on to claim that for every 100 hardcover books sold, it has sold 143 Kindle books, and also announced that Stieg Larsson, author of the Millenium Trilogy, has sold one million Kindle books. The statistics given out by the giant online retailer don't look quite so amazing when put in proper context. In fact, quite a different story emerges that indicates the traditional publishing business is unprepared to embrace the new dynamics eBooks bring...

  • 7 benefits of open source software for small business

    The current tough economic climate has hit small and medium-sized businesses and start-ups hard, particularly in emerging markets where safety nets are few and far between. Consequently, organisations are looking for every possible way to cut costs and increase profit margins without risking efficiency. The use of open source software (OSS) as an alternative to proprietary software in the technical management of many business processes is an effective way of doing just that. What exactly is ‘open source software’? In summary, the definition of OSS provided by the Open Source Initiative is "computer software which is distributed along with the source code...

  • 13 SA sports stars to follow on Twitter

    South African sports personalities have made their mark all over the world, but one of the downsides of being a global sports star is that you are away from your family and fans for long periods of time. What better way than staying in touch with them than embracing Twitter, the micro-blogging platform which has taken the world by storm. Here is a list of some of the most popular South African sports stars on Twitter at the time of writing this post: Graeme Smith - @GraemeSmith49 : 34 982 followers Captain of the Proteas and one of the most popular, candid and...

  • Twangoo brings the power of collective buying to South Africa

    Do you like the idea of saving 25% on a floatation hydrotherapy session? Or what about a R100 saving on a meal at Gourmet Burger. If these deals appeal to you, then you might want to consider joining Twangoo.co.za, a new Cape Town-based startup which is harnessing the power of collective buying to make great deals available in cities around South Africa. Collective buying is one of the hottest trends on the web right now, and it's a timely introduction to the South African market. The concept was pioneered by Groupon, the American powerhouse in this field who offer deals...

  • 5 reasons to use Facebook adverts instead of Google Adwords

    For well over a decade Google’s iconic self-service advertising system has been connecting businesses to potential customers cheaply and efficiently (while generating billions of dollars for Google in the process). Adwords is so brutally effective that it has become the reflex choice for many brands online. A whole ecosystem of businesses has sprung up around the optimisation and administration of Adwords campaigns. The problem, though, is that when you have a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail. Many companies continue to pour money into Adwords without even considering their options. When Adwords was the only pay-per-click, targeted advertising platform...

  • Kalahari.net expecting big things from its new and used goods platform

    South African online retailer kalahari.net is forecasting impressive growth by the end of the year from Marketplace, its new and used trading platform which was launched in February this year. Kalahari.net believes that the trading platform, which lists both used and new products for sale, will provide South Africans with a way to earn extra money, which is especially important in the current economic climate, and speaks to South Africa’s natural entrepreneurial spirit. “The launch of our marketplace allows online users to sell their new or used products on a platform that has an enormous database of existing customers and that is...

  • Why does being in Africa make you untrustworthy?

    I haven’t been able to use PayPal for two months. I just got profiled for extra security measures on Facebook. I can’t make certain purchases from Africa. Few organisations ship goods to me here in Kenya. Let’s be honest; living in Africa, or being African, gives you a certain unwelcome aroma in the eyes of global corporations. Frankly, we’re just not trustworthy. This isn’t new to any of us who live, or spend a great deal of time, in Africa. You’re blacklisted, given extra screening, and generally treated like a second-rate human. You’re not trusted, and you’re not worth the time...

  • Interview: Obami founder Barbara Mallinson on startups and e-learning

    With her own savings, support from friends, and the backing of a UK Government Grant, South African entrepreneur Barbara Mallinson founded Obami, a social networking site that’s been developed specifically for schools and to facilitate e-learning. Mallinson has since brought Obami back to South Africa to try and make a difference in the country she’s always called home. Memeburn.com caught up with her to talk online education and where it is all going. Memeburn: What are the major trends you are seeing in your industry? BM: With Mxit and Facebook making up a huge percentage of South Africa’s online audience, I think...

  • Thesis vs WordPress resolved: A new era of collaboration beckons

    The heated debate that has swirled around the WordPress community over the last few days appears to have been settled amicably with the news that the famous Wordpress theme or "search engine optimised framework" Thesis has agreed to a "split licence". By licensing their PHP code under the General Public License (GPL), Thesis can now more directly contribute to the growth of the WordPress code-base as a whole. It can also directly benefit from the many developers working with the framework (and WordPress), who are now able to fork or contribute to the project. The debate was sparked between WordPress...

  • CNN launches iPhone news app for international audiences

    Following the launch of CNN’s app for the iPhone and iPod Touch in the United States last year, the news giant has announced the availability of the international version on the App Store.  Available free of charge to users outside of the USA, the international version of the CNN App is purpose-built and designed to provide a visually-driven news experience for iPhone and iPod touch users. “CNN’s new app will offer our international audience a fantastic mobile experience for iPhone and iPod touch, delivering unique features and a user-friendly design,” said Louis Gump, vice president of Mobile at CNN. Maximising the revolutionary features...