Archives For Online Marketing

Great news for Stephan Ekbergh and for South African entrepreneurs hoping to make it big! My Friend Pip just found this story: eTRAVELi acquires the european arm of their competitor Travelstart – this adds just another success story to serial entrepreneur Stephan Ekberghs biography. While Travelstart had sales of approximately ZAR 1.5 billion in Europe during 2009 eTRAVELi and Travelstart together are now expected to sell 5 billion (Rand and Swedish kronor are nearly on par) worth of travel in 2010. The sales price is not disclosed, but Stephan blogs about his motivation to sell the european operation on his personal blog and that he wants to completely concentrate on the emerging markets and he realised that he had to let go of the european arm of his ‘baby’.

Reportedly brokering 50,000 flight bookings a month on the South African Travelstart platform alone, Travelstart is a travel giant on the tiny e-commerce market of South Africa and I do seriously hope that this is not the last positive news we hear from this travel powerhouse, operating from Cape Town.

Update: after receiving confirmation and further details from Stephan via this comment, I rewrote the posting and clarified the separation between Travelstart Europe and Travelstart South Africa. Official confirmation can be found on the Travelstart blog where they confirm: “The deal means that will own the rights to the global Travelstart brand, and that eTraveli takes over the European brand management and all its operations there.”

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…

Randolf in Cape Town

Randolf —  November 20, 2007

It’s now more than a month that I arrived back in Cape Town and lots of things happened but I never got a blogpost ready to talk about these events.

Sunset view from my home officeLife here is as different (compared to Germany) as it is beautiful. While productivity is seriously decreased by the lack of instantly available internet-connectivity (Vodacom’s HSDPA is the best compromise I was able to find but it lacks speed and reliability to be used for VoIP and permanent connectivity), this wonderful people and scenery of Cape Town more than compensate for the problems I might be running in. Cape Town really is THE city in Africa to be, when it comes to Online Marketing. I was meeting old and new friends in Cape town, specifically at these events:

Podcamp Cape Town on the October 20th was great for me as a first-timer. I met Dave Duarte for the first time and had a great chat with Chris du Toit, Rafiq (of webaddiCTs) and many others. It’s good to see that there’s a vibrant internet scene here in South Africa. It was here that I first announced the aquisition of the domain name (still without real content) and that I do plan to develop it into a proper weather portal as soon as possible.

The 27dinner in Cape Town just a few days later really showed the size of the online marketing industry in SA. Around 100 people came together to have dinner, talk and listen to the well prepared presentation on user experience by Phil Barret and having to go through that talking thing myself by giving a short speech on my last 9 years in the online marketing world. I was happy to sponsor the corkage at this event so we could enjoy the wonderful Stormhoek Wine. This was a good opportunity to meet new people and I really look forward meeting and doing business with you again. After meeting oh-so-many people there (if I’d start linking and mentioning you, I’d miss out the other half of you) Marcus (of, Jayx and me decided to end that night at the fabulous Rafiki’s.

After some busy working days there are some upcoming events I’ll attend. First there is mobile and broadband conference AfricaCom starting tomorrow that I was lucky to get a press pass for and there’s the Geekdinner coming up on November 28th where I’ll be present as well. Too bad I’ll be travelling Namibia, when *Camp (aka Starcamp) hits the town December 8th and 9th. Before I go to Namibia, I’ll visit Johannesburg for a few days, and I’m happy to meet new people from the industry over there…

While searching for any evidence for my very first Google check I received in early 2001 (back when there was no Adsense) I found a mail remembering me of the very first online marketing conference I ever attended and probably the very first online marketing event in Germany.

Internet Marketing Conference Berlin 2001From 13th-15th November 2001 there was the Internet Marketing Conference (IMC) (wonder that their website wasn’t changed since) organized by the Swede Lennart Svanberg and german online company luna-park. There was a maximum of maybe 50 participants, sponsorships from the search engines was unknown and the setting in the house-of-industrial-associations is probably unthinkable today.
The only german participants I remember meeting there were Ron Hillman, Stefan Fischerländer, Klaus Patzwaldt and Mathias Schmitz, while there were lots of english speaking participants (e.g. Dixon Jones whom I see speaking at all the us-conferences) from all over Europe back then. I keep on meeting many of these guys at every online marketing related conference-event today and it’s really great to see that so many new faces joined the scene since then…
I keeps on searching for the historic Google check, but the memory of early conference times is alive again – alot has changed in the industry and I’m excited to compare todays SEO get-togethers with the ones we’ll see in 2013…

Just a short roundup to my english speaking friends – my german posting contains more details regarding two affiliate meetings I attended here in Germany right after returning from my US-trip.
During SES 2007 we had alot of fun at the Googleplex at Google Dance and Karaoke. The paid-links debate only proved that google does not care about paid links as long as they are on highly relevant pages and not about viagra, so: who cares?
Google Visitor Badge

But much better than the overrated Google dance was certainly my appointment at Google a few days later. The Multiple-Choice-Salad ordering forms and healthy drinks are all I can talk about for now, as my digitally signed NDA does not allow me to say much more. The result of that meeting will soon be online at…

The days after were completely different – at Burning Man in the nevada desert I met nerds, freaks and lots of other friendly guys, because half the bay area meets in the desert for music, fun and much much more… I had a blast!

Just a short hello to all the folks I’ve met so far and I’m hopefully gonna meet at this year’s Search Engine Strategies in San Jose.

I’ve just finished todays Webmaster on the Roof radio show together with Marcus ‘Mediadonis’ Tandler and many other guests. All guests and more background are on During the show a TV-Team from 3sat/ZDF appeared we were interviewed about Google and related subjects by Journalist Dagmar Hovestadt for a piece that will be aired on the ‘neues’ show somewhen in November.


gulli and friends in San Jose

SES was a very good show so far, but the real fun is just about to start soon. The Google Dance 2007 is gonna happen tonight and we’ve got a lot of partying to do. So far I’ve met too many people to list, but I’m sending special shouts to Thorsten ‘trafficer’ Loth, Marco Ciachera, Jill Sampey, Marcus Tober and Pascal Fantou.