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As the whole startup world is going crazy over Groupon and it’s alleged 6 billion $ (US, not Zimbabwean!) offer from Google, I just want to look onto the tiny South African market, where it looks like Group-buying ‘Giant’ Groupon is about to launch under the domain name mycitydeal.co.za. They use that rather lenghty and generic domain, as the groupon.co.za domain, seems to be registered by Competitor WiiCount.

The launch of Groupon in South Africa was to be expected, as there are currently many Groupon clones starting up on the South African market. While the whole technology is operated by Groupon Europe GmbH out of Berlin, there is one surprise to be found:

mycitydeal.co.za is a service of:
Groupon South Africa
office at Boulevard Office Park, Block G, Ground Floor
Searle Street, Woodstock
Cape Town 8001

Phone: 0844 879 2888
e-mail: info(at)mycitydeal.co.za

Director: Christopher Muhr

Responsible for the content of this website: Twangoo South Africa PTY Ltd.

groupon mycitydeal south africaGroupon seems to cooperate with one of their clones when it comes to the sales side of operations instead of setting up their own local sales force: To me this is somehow surprising, as Twangoo (part of a group of global groupon clones) is a direct competitor to Groupon in the South African market and I wonder who’s going to get the better deals or if both platforms will see identical deals every day… Maybe this is also a sign that Groupon and Groupon Europe (that started as citydeal.de and were just aquired by Groupon a few months ago) are getting closer to other clones and think about aquiring Twangoo soon?

Just some thoughts for clarity: Do you really think Groupon is a viable business model and yet another clone is going to succeed? Livingsocial CEO clarifies the real cost of building your own Dailydeal site in this video and I think that a quick exit may be the only really profitable way out. But seeing that Google did NOT buy Groupon (and I highly doubt that 6 billion was ever offered by them!) there may be less options than you hope there are…

There are many group buying sites that were started in the last few months in South Africa. I don’t think that many of them will be live a few months down the road…

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 Travelstart.co.za will own the rights to the global Travelstart brand, and that eTraveli takes over the European brand management and all its operations there.”

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?
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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 gulli.com…

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!

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…