Archives For randolf

We started selling the iPhones in our exactly one year ago and we quickly became the leading store on the german internet. Now it’s time to go offline and become the first iPhone store worldwide to sell them in a brick-and-mortar Store in Bochum, Germany in the middle of the industrial Ruhr Area (Ruhrgebiet). We hope to continue the success story we started online and become the store for all iPhone lovers in Germany.

3gstore-coming-soon-day3gstore iphone shop bochum

I write this in my english blog rather than my german one first, because Theappleblog did scoop the story today and wrote:

On offer will be 3G and 3GS iPhones, contract free and officially sim-unlocked. Customers who buy these devices can then sign up for a service plan with the provider of their choice — either O2, Vodafone, or ePlus, in addition to T-Mobile.For us here in North America, it sounds like some fantastic dream… imagine the freedom, the sheer public nature of it all. Right there in the open, no jailbreak, no shady independent electronics retailer offering unlocking services on Craigslist.

This is exactly what 3Gstore brought to the german online world and is now bringing to a store next to you. We are certain that this is going to change the mobile industry in Germany that is currently bound to exclusivity contracts effectively stopping fair competition. iPhone who were forced to sign up with T-Mobile whatever their home network was are now able to choose the network of their choice, thanks to 3Gstore.

Google’s approach of rolling out their technology gradually throughout the world showed great success when conquering western markets and seemed to work OK for africa aswell. No other search engine had it’s user interface translated to Zulu, Afrikaans and Xhosa years before they opened an office in South Africa or any other African country and still today there’s no competition within

Back in the very early Google years using voluntary user contributions with their Google in your Language service and is constantly adding new languages. But there seemed to be weak spots where Google was not able to roll out it’s infrastructure on a global level in other fields, because they involve too much professional local knowledge and infrastructure and this is where I was delighted to see some real progress in the last months:

Google Mapmaker allows people to edit and contribute to maps in countries where no professional map making company has gone before. The (infrastructural and marketing) power that honorable open source map projects like openstreetmap did not have meets usability and the result is great map data for all countries in Africa.

Today there was now the big news (via TC): Google launches SMS based services for the ugandan internet community. Some of these services like Google Trader (think of Craigslist/gumtree/kijiji simplified and via SMS only) are build exclusively for Google Africa and I’m sure we’ll see them rolled out and succeed in many african markets soon. The initiative carries the Google logo, but was initiatiated by the Grameen Foundation and MTN and they describe it as:

“The suite of five mobile services, provided using Google SMS Search technology and the MTN network, includes Farmer’s Friend, a searchable database with both agricultural advice and targeted weather forecasts; Health Tips which provides sexual and reproductive health information, paired with Clinic Finder, which helps to locate nearby health clinics and services; and Google Trader, which matches buyers and sellers of agricultural produce and commodities as well as other products. The services are SMS-based and designed to work with basic mobile phones to reach the broadest possible audience.”

My personal perspective is that education driven by technology is going to be the THE MAIN source of development in Africa and I love seeing google use it’s market power to help development to those who need it most. I’m looking for ways how I can personally contribute my knowledge to efficient projects in this area and I urge anyone with the killer idea how to bring knowledge to Africa to share his ideas… Not only this video shows that it’s going to be the mobile phone that’s going to bring development to Africa:

Weather in Cape TownIt’s along time since we last updated anything on but today I’m happy to add the most-requested feature:

Weather widgets are here! You can finally add a button to your homepage with the weather forecast for tomorrow. This means that your visitors don’t need to visit anymore to see but stay on your site. You can add this image to any site you wish and we offer you three different versions (Image, PHP and Javascript). While we strive to add customization (color, size and style) in the future, we settled for one default style for now that is very simple and does not add any logo or advertisement to the weather information. The image on the left is actually just the life forecast that you can add to your homepage or blog right now!

That is not everything yet – you can also add data to your iGoogle homepage. Just click on this button and you’ll be taken to your Google homepage where you can customize your weather feed: Add to Google

You know that a company loses touch with reality, when it sues companies selling its own products.

Apple iPhone is a german online store selling the iPhone 3G without the usual Simlock or T-Mobile contract. They can do so legally, as they import the iPhones from other EU countries where the unlocked iPhones are sold to the public for prepaid customers. Therefore it’s only obvious that they use Apple’s official promotional pictures to sell the popular Apple gadget. Without any warning Apple sent a Cease and Desist letter, disallowing any future use of Apple product images and a 1780 Euro (2271 US$) bill attached for legal cost. Asked by german mac magazine if other sites using their image material can expect similar costly C&D ‘treatment’, Apple Inc. only referred to their Image Use Agreement that disallows all image editing and usage in any commercial context, such as competitions or other non-editorial appearances.

To free itself and other blogs or websites from the risk of receiving such a hefty bill by Apple Inc., paid Photographer Lukas Palik to create professional looking iPhone 3G photos that are now also being licensed under the very liberal Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License, allowing editing and commercial usage. These Photos can be downloaded in the original Resolution from the Blog and on Flickr.

Alexa seriously tries do defend Google’s recent data publishing attack (releasing Trends for Websites and Insights for Search) and stumbled across this ad on

The linked download is quite impressive. Not only the Top 500 (or country-based Top 100), but the top 1 million trafficked sites by Alexa ranking is now available for download ( 9,5 MB Zipfile, ausgepackt 21,4 MB) and it appears to be recent data too (November 24th says the file-timestamp). This list would set you back 2500 US$ via Amazon’s Web Services and unlucky you are only if you recently bought it or you work with MS Excel 2003 where you’re limited to the first 65536 Entries…

Some observations about the content: Subdomains from,,, and others are now counted seperately. While this might be old news to some I just observed it today as well as the fact that they do also seperately track it when your folder-structure contains a ~username (old UNIX standard used at some universities) or my.domain.tld/user/name. This also causes some errors, assome Domains using Feedburner MyBrand appear in the stats with their feeds.domain.tld/~r/ redirect URLs.

Beside these minor flaws just a sincere Thank You to the Alexa Team for this early christmas present 🙂

Also see my original german post about this christmas present from Alexa.

If you read my social network statuses around October 6th: I’m happily back in South Africa and I intend to stay here for all summer, do lotsa business and live life. I’m not alone anymore, but returning with my Girlfriend Scarlett and into our new house in upper Greenpoint that kept us busy during the last two weeks while watching the construction work for the worldcup stadium below us. I hope to see alot of you at our house warming party this Friday – nudge me for the directions if you wanna come…

If you can’t make it I’m sure I’ll see at least all Online Marketing Junkies of you at this months 27dinner 😉

When I split my blog into a German and an English one, I was aware that I wouldn’t blog too much on the English one, while living in Germany. But I really didn’t plan to blog THIS little, so I’m just trying to give you a rough overview what happened and what’s coming up very soon.

October 17th-18th is going to be a big day for the german online marketing industry. More than 8000 visitors are going to visit the leading online marketing düsseldorf (OMD – renamed to dmexco in 2009) fair and afterwards more than 700 of them are going to visit the OMclub Party organised by me. This event is title-sponsored by and co-sponsored by many well-known companies and friends of mine. We started small by planning an alternative party to the big and boring official party but were overwhelmed by the positive response from visitors and sponsors alike. If you go to Düsseldorf this year make sure not to miss the OMclub event!

We used this opportunity of so many marketing heads directed into our direction to give our newest project an extra boost. We aquired (a leading German Mac and iPhone blogazine) in June and now decided to sponsor the OMclub event with an iPhone 3G 16 GB (without any contract or SIMlock) from We think this is the coolest price you can give and just hope someone would ever give us a similar present… 🙂 We hope that alot of webmasters will agree and participate in our competition, because this iPhone is given to the person who appears in the first spot on for the keyword “Befreiphone. Befreiphone is a made up term, that can be translated as “freed phone” so we want to show how useful an iPhone without any SIMlock could be. I’d love to have such an iPhone, as I could use it with my german SIM as well as with my South African Number…

Besides aquiring we also moved into new larger offices in April, wrote a (real hardcover) book about 10 years with and had a blast at the office opening / book release / birthday party early August.

Update from September 29th: The Befreiphone SEO-Contest was a huge success with circa 3000 blogs and mainstream media sites like or participating and the newly coined term ‘befreiphone’ gets more than 550,000 results with Google as of today. This and other contests created alot of buzz during the hectic OMD days for our OMclub that was a smash hit. With 1000 party-goers attending we grew bigger than anyone expected and observers blogged that the OMclub was more talked about than the actual OMD-fair we all came to visit… (Photos)

As you can see there is lots of business and partying going on right now in Germany and I’ll be happy once all this is over and I can finally return to Cape Town in October to concentrate on the South African business again…

How to…

Randolf —  July 7, 2008

how to confuse an idiot youtube


We’re happy to announce that we’ve finally launched the new We just started with a basic 5-day weather forecast service that gives you the weather for more than 90 locations in South Africa without the need to sign up for anything or deal with excessive advertising.

This site is just a semi-temporary solution while we’re taking time to develop the final Weather site with international weather data, mobile access, widgets, email subscriptions, RSS feeds, and much more but this will take some months and we wanted to build a useful site until we’re ready with the final site. is already visited by more than 400 Visitors every day. This is why we bought the site and used their code and developed it into the current site.

We’d be happy to see you using and liking our first Weather site and welcome feedback in the comments or on the WeatherSA Facebook page.

We’ve currently got the weather data for these cities and places in South Africa:

Alexander Bay, Aliwal North, Badplaas, Beaufort West, Bela-Bela, Bethlehem, Bhisho, Bloemfontein, Calvinia, Cape Point, Cape Town, Cape Town International Airport, Clanwilliam, Cradock, De Aar, Durban, London Airport, East London, Ermelo, Excelsior, Fauresmith, Ficksburg, Fort Beaufort, George, Giants Castle, Graaff-Reinet, Grabouw, Grahamstown, Graskop, Groblersdal, Hermanus, Ixopo, Johannesburg, Johannesburg OR Tambo Airport, Joubertina, Kimberley, Klerksdorp, Kokstad, Komatidraai, Kroonstad, Kuruman, Ladysmith, Lephalale, Levubu, Lydenburg, Mafikeng, Malmesbury, Margate, Mokopane, Mooiriver, Mthatha, Musina, Nelspruit, Newcastle, Ngqura, Oudtshoorn, Paarl, Phalaborwa, Piet Retief, Pietermaritzburg, Plettenberg Bay, Polokwane, Port Elizabeth, Postmasburg, Potchefstroom, Pretoria, Queenstown, Richards Bay, Riversdale, Rustenburg, Sasolburg, Skukuza, Slangkop, Springbok, St. Lucia Estuary, Standerton, Stilbaai, Strand, Sutherland, Taung, Thabazimbi, Thohoyandou, Tzaneen, Uitenhage, Ulundi, Underberg, Upington, Vereeniging, Vredendal, Vryburg, Vryheid, Welkom, Witbank, Worcester.

Please report if your place is missing in this list.