• Motorburn
      Because cars are gadgets
    • Gearburn
      Incisive reviews for the gadget obsessed
    • Ventureburn
      Startup news for emerging markets
    • Jobsburn
      Digital industry jobs for the anti 9 to 5!
  • The internet goes from free to fee

    The internet goes from free to fee By Matthew Buckland If only the internet had been invented by a businessman. It’s a common lament of internet publishers who are buckling and wheezing under the financial strain of running unprofitable websites. These are the web publishers who somehow managed to survive the dotcom crash by the silicon of their circuit boards, but have struggled to find solid business models -- this despite bringing in huge audiences that even eclipse many profitable, advertising-rich print publications. But the big question for online publishers is: How to make money out of their huge readerships? (more…)

  • Dotcom dating dollars

    When the internet arrived, people screamed let’s make lots of money. This new, interactive medium had the ability to deliver content to audiences in innovative ways and make money at the same time. Content would suck readers in, went the theory, and communities would form around these content genres. E-commerce areas would then be built around relevant content and wham bam thank you Ram, your community interacts and you have dotcom dollars. (more…)

  • War of the web

    As United States and British forces push through Iraq towards Baghdad, another kind of war is in progress: a battle between TV, radio, newspapers and websites to be the first to bring their audience breaking news on Iraq. Never before has a war been covered in such pervasive and explicit detail and on so many media platforms. Readers are getting the news via more mediums, in more forms and faster than ever before. (more…)

  • Netocracy

    If Karl Marx were alive today this is the book he would have written. This is the bold, if not slightly ambitious, claim of Swedish authors Alexander Bard and Jan Söderqvist. For Marx, society’s power politics, ideology and social dynamics are shaped by the economy, most notably in modern times by capitalism. In the Swedish authors’ new book, Netocracy, they pick up where Marx left off and take a good, long, hard look at the world today and pose the questions: what is a the major economic driving force of today and the future and how will society change as...

  • 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...