Archives For how to NOT

When the whole city gets covered in snow and chaos and all sightseeing and party plans fall apart, it's time for a time out - on the empty highway.

When 50cm snow falls and the country stands still someone needs to get moving.

Disclaimer: I write this as the owner of weather.co.za - a privately held weather forecasting site that has definite plans to extend it's offerings to launch and produce it's own weather forecasts and warning data very soon. The weather bill can and will be used by the South African Weather Service (SAWS) and it's heavily connected private sister-company Weather Intelligence Systems  (Pty) Ltd. to fight off private competition as my site could become.

Less than a week before the final hearings, the proposed SA weather service amendment bill, 2011 does finally make some headlines and gets attention by the DA MP Gareth Morgan, FW De Clerk Foundation and many other affected parties.

"Only the Weather Service may issue severe weather-related warnings over South Africa in order to ensure that there is a single authoritative voice in this regard." 

is what the South African Weather Service Act already says since 2001. As if this questionable decision, that lacks any legally binding definition of a 'severe weather-related warning' isn't enough the new amendment is now supposed to add the following section 30A that reads:

(1) No person may
(a) issue a severe weather or air pollution-related warning without the necessary written permission from the Weather Service;
(b) supply false or misleading information about the Weather Service;
(c) unlawfully, intentionally or negligently commit any act or omission which detrimentally affects or is likely to detrimentally affect the Weather Service.

(2) A person who contravenes any provisions of subsection (1), is guilty of an offence and is liable, in the case of a first conviction, to a fine not exceeding five million rand or imprisonment for a period not exceeding five years, and in the case of a second or subsequent conviction, to a fine not exceeding ten million rand or imprisonment for a period not exceeding 10 years, or in both instances to both such fine and such imprisonment, respectively.

As the SA weather service amendment bill is so outrageous and wrong, I just sent the following letter to the parliament, just in time for the public hearing, that I will attend January 17 and 18:

I heavily object to the new weather service amendment bill and ask parliament to review essential clauses to understand what this bill does to any legitimate competitor to South African Weather Service (SAWS) or their licensing customers:

  • South African might become the first country in the world where there is a state guaranteed monopoly for weather services. In my humble opinion does South Africa not need less, but more competition to guarantee a better forecasting quality, than we currently get.
  • The SAWS must by law adhere to The World Meteorological Organization Resolution 40 that urges Members to: "Strengthen their commitment to the free and unrestricted exchange of meteorological and related data and products" and specially states in Annex 3 "The purpose of these guidelines is to further improve the relationship between NMSs and the commercial sector. The development of the exchange of meteorological and related information depends greatly upon sound, fair, transparent, and stable relations between these two sectors.". This bill clearly does NOT help fair relations between SAWS and private competition!
  • The bill does not define "Severe weather warning". SAWS can use to scare clients by way of fine if they use any other forecast service other than SAWS and thereby creating a monopoly. Also, what would be considered "false" information? There is no 100% accurate weather forecast.
  • SAWS already acts and markets themselves as "The ONLY accurate source of SA weather" and take a very similar stance when negotiating with third parties over licensing terms. Their self-conception is NOT matched by their accuracy and I hope to bring some fresh competitive comparison with me to the parliamentary hearing next week.
  • The insertion of Clause 28A is also of great concern. The minister can change the act without going through parliment. Really not fair since this can change legislation even further to keep competitors out.

The offenses clause and clause 28A in the Bill needs to be removed and I ask parliament to rethink the current policy on "one single authoritative voice" in regards to severe weather warnings.

kind regards,
Randolf Jorberg
owner of weather.co.za

German blog: 3Gstore.de nach Bieterkampf für €135.000 verkauft

This news was supposed to break with a (german languaged) press release by Sedo, but as a domainer blog broke the news I don't want to be quiet: The iPhone store 3Gstore.de that I started in 2008 was sold to Avazu group's Teebik Inc for 135.000 € (ca. 180.000 US$) through the broker house Sedo.

The blog was saying we sold only a domain name, but it was all the existing assets of the former 3Gstore.de GmbH. We even opened the worlds first iphone only brick and mortar store here in Germany and generated a turnover of more than 15 million Euro in total. 3Gstore.de still has more than 2000 unique daily visitors and transaction, even though we announced the sale and shut down two months ago. In short: we didn't sell a domain name, but a whole online shop / brand / business with a complete domain-portfolio (3G.de, generic and typo-domains) organic search traffic and lots of customers that are eager to return and order again...

There are lots of stories about all the successes and failures I experienced in the last three years, but I can honestly say: it was an awesome experiencing to start an e-commerce business from scratch, learn ALL aspects of starting and growing  an online business from zero to 1 million € monthly turnover and I'll be glad if the next three years have a bit less excitement for me...

To my knowledge, this was scheduled to released on Friday, but Groupon Inc. just issued this press release, where they announce:

CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Groupon (http://www.groupon.com) announces the launch of Groupon India, Groupon Israel and Groupon South Africa via acquisition of daily deal sites SoSasta (http://www.sosasta.com), Grouper (http://www.grouper.co.il) and Twangoo (http://www.twangoo.co.za), respectively. Terms of the deals were not disclosed. [...]
The acquisitions continue Groupon’s rapid global growth and extend its reach across India, the Middle East and South Africa. In just three months since launch, SoSasta has grown to run daily deals in 11 Indian cities. Serving Tel Aviv and surrounding cities since March 2010, Grouper is widely recognized as the first and largest deal site in Israel. Twangoo has rapidly grown to serve the most cities of any deal site in South Africa. All three sites will transition to the Groupon brand name and site design in coming months, and will serve deals in the local communities’ primary languages: English in India and South Africa and Hebrew in Israel.

To my best knowledge my blog post "Groupon to launch in South Africa in cooperation with Twangoo" dated December 17th was the first public posting about the Twangoo/Groupon connection and I got quite some interesting follow-up conversation with industry people that indicated the takeover deal that was finally announced today.

Groupon South Africa now looks at a launch from a market leader position, but they might face special problems, they yet have to solve:

- groupon.co.za is currently owned by competiting dailydeal-site wicount and they might face the same problem they're currently facing in Australia: they offered the local domain owners "about $286,000 for the Groupon.com.au domain and trademark" but only got a counter-offer to buy the whole competing business in a package deal. Now that Groupon was stupid enough to publicly value their own brand-typo-domain, I'm interested to hear what might happen if Wicount goes the same route. Will Groupon go to court about the very essential domain name groupon.co.za or will they simply put cash on the table and possibly buy the whole Wicount business ending up with two local companies?

groupon.co.za whois

It was this morning that I read via bradley on twitter that a Whale was currently removed from the Sea Point promenade. I was on the scene a few minutes later and could shoot the following incredible photos:

dead whale in Cape Town


I spoke to an officer in charge and he told me the whale is a Southern right whale, weighting 'only' 15 tons and he had between 9-10 meters in length, before he broke into three pieces when they initially tried lifting him out of the water. The whale was dead for a couple of days already, which you could certainly smell, when you were close as we were...

How to…

July 7, 2008

how to confuse an idiot youtube

(via)

If Matt Cutts says that the Googlebomb Problem was solved using a new algorythm that must be correct. After all it THE Matt Cutts from all-beloved Search-Engine Giant Google! Or is it possible that they lie to you? Why do they still claim that everything on Google's result pages is still ordered by algorythms? Because it's still done the manual way, they still don't get the 'smaller' language-specific Googlebombs like the case of 'völlige inkompetenz' (complete incompetence in german) that ranks the austrian politician Karl-Heinz Grasser #1 when searching for it with Google:

Völlige Inkompetenz

funny enough: when the safe search is activated the politicians webpage does not appear in the Google results. Does it mean that Google thinks of this Politician's (empty) homepage as an adult site?

safesearch on

There were too many lies about Googlebombing-Algos on the internet - hope that stops somehow soon. Google just started manually modifying their rankings on a massive scale and tries to hide that from their observers.

On a side note: the most impressive changes in the search rankings due to the manual anti googlebomb 'algo' was caused for the term 'exit'. Before Google shuffled the results the Top 3 spots were occupied by disney.com, Google and Yahoo, who're linked by tens of thousand adult sites with an 'exit' button on their index page but that is gone by now.

As we're Registerfly customers ourself and we're not able to get our Domains out of their account I wanted to share a quick find for a quick laugh on the current Registerfly-case: In some published court documents you find this gem:

"Defendant [Kevin Medina] has wasted UNI's assets by, among others: (a) wiring $9,000 in UNI funds on three seperate occasions to pay for the company of Defendant's personal escort, (b) using UNI funds to pay the $10,000 monthly rent on Defendant's personal penthouse residence in Miami Beach, FLorida; (c) spending tens of thousands of dollars from UNI's accounts to pay for Defendant's personal credit card bills; (d) spending approximately $6,000 of UNI' money for liposuction; and (e) unaccountably withdrawing tens of thousands of dollars in cash from UNI's accounts for Defendant's personal spending."

Hey - how simply can't run a business properly, if you spend all your time spending money! ;-)
If you haven't got the whole story: Read this at the excellent customer-blog Registerflies or here. BTW: Registerfly isn't that big as they appear - 63% of their domains are actually .info domains that were given away heavily discounted or even for free.
The real reason for all the chaos and the court actions seems to be a non-working 50/50 partnership between John Naruszewicz and Kevin Medina. Now John is trying to squeeze Kevin out of their company by publishing all this dirt - the whole document is a real how-to-NOT business documentary...

When writing about the stalkertrack myspace tracker scam I didn't speak about the service in itself, as users are promised access to it, but will never ever receive it from stalkertrack.com. But the whole issue of profile trackers at Myspace is indeed interesting and worth an extra post. At the Washington Post Security Fix Brian Krebs covered that a few months ago, but only gave a vague idea about the technical details and possibilities on myspace.

There are two different kind of myspace tracking services out there. Those who go with the Myspace TOS and those who don't. The legitimate services (like profilesnitch.com) can only show the data that every homepage owner can gather from his visitors: the visitors location (via ip), time, operating system, etc. The latter ones can show you the profile nickname, picture and even the registered email address of every myspace user visiting your profile on top! This surely is a serious privacy leakage that myspace needs to fix permanently. The illegitimate services are only stopped from working, as Myspace manually deactivates them, as their hide-and-seek continues. Using custom hosted scripts (available via ebay (1, 2) and other scripts that are not publicly sold like "Project Tenyer" the script used by stalkertrack.com, you can circumvent this limitation and host the scripts yourself. Continue Reading...