Local initiative to ‘introduce’ blogging to South Africa

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A local startup called iBlog launched on 23 February after being in development for a little while.  iBlog was created by Capetonians Mark Garbers and Tim Price with the intention of introducing this “relatively unknown” phenomenon to South Africa.  According to ITWeb

iBlog aims at SA bloggers

By Warwick Ashford

Posted: 16 March 2006

Capetonians Mark Garbers and Tim Price have created a Web site they say is aimed at introducing more South Africans to blogging (Web logging).

“Blogging is relatively unknown in SA, which is about four years behind the UK, US and Europe, where blogging is already extremely common and popular,?? says Garbers, who is based in the UK.

The new iBlog Web site offers a template-based free blogging service in English, Afrikaans and shortly in Zulu and Xhosa. The developers plan to add the seven other official languages in the next six to 12 months.

In addition to adding administrative and writing interfaces in local languages, iBlog’s creators say they focused on creating a site that is easy to use by stripping out all the complexity associated with many existing US-developed blogging sites.

“Current Internet trends in the UK are probably a good indication of future trends in SA and therefore we believe blogging will become increasingly popular as more South Africans are exposed to it as an easy way to establish a Web presence or set up a personal Web site to share thoughts, experiences and photographs,?? says Garbers.

In development since November last year, iBlog has attracted over 150 registrations since opening up to the wider Web community on 23 February.

It seems that the blogs are created using an implementation of WordPress similar to WordPress.com with a number of built in templates.  Here is iBlog’s explanation of their service:

At it’s simplest, a blog is your personal online journal. It’s a simple way of sharing your thoughts, experiences and feelings with anyone you choose! It’s a new way to connect with your friends, family and bloggers all over the world.

It’s sort of like an online diary. Whenever you have something you want to share, simply login, type what’s in your head and click publish. If you like, you can also add photos and allow visitors to comment on your posts.Then, when your friends check out your page, they can catch up with your life, see what you’ve been up to and what you’ve been thinking. It’s like catching up over a mug of coffee, just over the internet and without the coffee!

What’s more, your blog is customisable to your own liking, with many template options available.

The service seems to be aimed more at people who would use a blog as a social page for friends and family rather than incorporate a blog into a business site (or even use a blog as a business site itself).  Some of the advantages of iBlog include the capacity for a few of our 11 official languages and the fact that it is free.  I have just signed up to take a look at the back-end and it seems to be a stripped down version of WordPress’ back-end interface.  You can choose templates pretty much the way you can on WordPress.com and even add custom code to your sidebar (which you can’t really do on WordPress.com).

All in all, not a bad effort.  It is a basic service for people who don’t want anything fancy.

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Paul

Enthusiast, marketing strategist, writer, and photographer. Passionate about my wife, Gina and #proudDad. Allergic to stupid

  1. I'm not a pessimist, seeing as launching online services like these are my business and livelihood – but quite frankly, I'm not too sure where they plan to fit into the picture…

    The back-end of blogging has become a total commodity, with practically zero barriers to entry. Even the seriously savvy innovators in this space are struggling to differentiate themselves. No offense to the guys, but they're not tech-savvy to start off with (witness the use of poorly kerned JPEGs for the text of their navigation). Add the commodity factor, and I don't see success anytime soon… Sorry, I don't want to rain on their parade, but it's a classic case of “show me the money” (or where it's going to come from, at least).

  2. I think they will enjoy a measure of success only because the market is relatively uninformed. When I look at iBlog I see an inferior version of WordPress.com but when the average social blogger-to-be sees iBlog they see something that hasn't really featured locally. Perhaps all the South Africans using Blogger, TypePad and WordPress (thinking now of the hosted solutions) are in the minority.

    To make things worse, I think the media plays into this sense of novelty by treating this service as something new and 'wow' when it really isn't.

  3. I’m not a pessimist, seeing as launching online services like these are my business and livelihood – but quite frankly, I’m not too sure where they plan to fit into the picture…

    The back-end of blogging has become a total commodity, with practically zero barriers to entry. Even the seriously savvy innovators in this space are struggling to differentiate themselves. No offense to the guys, but they’re not tech-savvy to start off with (witness the use of poorly kerned JPEGs for the text of their navigation). Add the commodity factor, and I don’t see success anytime soon… Sorry, I don’t want to rain on their parade, but it’s a classic case of “show me the money” (or where it’s going to come from, at least).

  4. I’m not a pessimist, seeing as launching online services like these are my business and livelihood – but quite frankly, I’m not too sure where they plan to fit into the picture…

    The back-end of blogging has become a total commodity, with practically zero barriers to entry. Even the seriously savvy innovators in this space are struggling to differentiate themselves. No offense to the guys, but they’re not tech-savvy to start off with (witness the use of poorly kerned JPEGs for the text of their navigation). Add the commodity factor, and I don’t see success anytime soon… Sorry, I don’t want to rain on their parade, but it’s a classic case of “show me the money” (or where it’s going to come from, at least).

  5. I’m not a pessimist, seeing as launching online services like these are my business and livelihood – but quite frankly, I’m not too sure where they plan to fit into the picture…

    The back-end of blogging has become a total commodity, with practically zero barriers to entry. Even the seriously savvy innovators in this space are struggling to differentiate themselves. No offense to the guys, but they’re not tech-savvy to start off with (witness the use of poorly kerned JPEGs for the text of their navigation). Add the commodity factor, and I don’t see success anytime soon… Sorry, I don’t want to rain on their parade, but it’s a classic case of “show me the money” (or where it’s going to come from, at least).

  6. I think they will enjoy a measure of success only because the market is relatively uninformed. When I look at iBlog I see an inferior version of WordPress.com but when the average social blogger-to-be sees iBlog they see something that hasn’t really featured locally. Perhaps all the South Africans using Blogger, TypePad and WordPress (thinking now of the hosted solutions) are in the minority.

    To make things worse, I think the media plays into this sense of novelty by treating this service as something new and ‘wow’ when it really isn’t.

  7. I think they will enjoy a measure of success only because the market is relatively uninformed. When I look at iBlog I see an inferior version of WordPress.com but when the average social blogger-to-be sees iBlog they see something that hasn’t really featured locally. Perhaps all the South Africans using Blogger, TypePad and WordPress (thinking now of the hosted solutions) are in the minority.

    To make things worse, I think the media plays into this sense of novelty by treating this service as something new and ‘wow’ when it really isn’t.

  8. I think they will enjoy a measure of success only because the market is relatively uninformed. When I look at iBlog I see an inferior version of WordPress.com but when the average social blogger-to-be sees iBlog they see something that hasn’t really featured locally. Perhaps all the South Africans using Blogger, TypePad and WordPress (thinking now of the hosted solutions) are in the minority.

    To make things worse, I think the media plays into this sense of novelty by treating this service as something new and ‘wow’ when it really isn’t.

What do you think?

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