Where Africa and Technology Collide!

iblog: South African Blogging Platform

iblog.co.za is a blogging platform developed by South Africans for South Africans. This 1-year old hosted platform (which means that you get a domain like http://yournamehere.iblog.co.za) takes it’s lead from Blogger, and has been developed on the WordPress platform.

Mark Garbers, one of the two-person-team startup, tells me that there are almost 4,000 people using it, that’s not a bad number at all, especially within the confines of South Africa. I have mixed feelings about this, as anyone who reads my blog should know.

iblog.co.za shouldn’t just be about South Africa.


So, how does iblog make money since the service is free and doesn’t limit the amount of storage space for any user? Advertising. At some point they will have ads that show up. They toyed with Google Adsense, but the ads turned out to be irrelevant and distracting. They pulled those ads and are now working on figuring out a way to make it work for both the users and themselves. In the meantime, they have set up a dedicating hosting partnership with RSAWEB that defrays the costs and allows them to continue growing.

Now, this really is a great platform. iblog allows you to use your own customized style sheet to create your own look and feel. They also have done an excellent job of developing community using their homepage to show popular, newest and random blogs. iblog is also very well designed – this is where so many web applications fail (not just South African), they don’t understand that the aesthetics are as important as the functionality and feature set.


  1. Sometimes though, focused vision and targeting a specific niche is what will help drive growth.

  2. Leo, I agree. I took out the paragraph where I was talking about them being just focused on South Africa instead of all of Africa. I missed that once sentence though…

    In this case, I think the focused growth in a niche market is the right strategy.

  3. iBlog is pretty cool, quick & easy registration to boot.

    On another note, I see in your About section that you’re hoping to visit SA one day and that only 25% of your site visitors use Firefox.

    As I had the great pleasure of meeting you in SA last month, I reckon that needs an update.

    And maybe you could run a little mini ‘The Price is Right’ competition regarding Firefox usage.

    My guess is 41%!

  4. Henk! Okay, I’ve fixed both of those items. In fact, when looking at the browsers that people were using, I found that the number of Firefox users has grown to 44%. Not bad at all.

  5. Thanks Hash for profiling Iblog, RSAWEB has been involved with the project from an infrastructure perspective for the last 2 years. The key to furthering technology in Africa is through partnering. Knowledge is often closely guarded and slows growth in technology, however through partnering we can achieve far more. The knowledge we have gained through Iblog’s huge success has taught us a lot about infrastructure scaling and the needs of a Blog service. Partnerships between non-competitive mutually beneficial technology companies should really be promoted, especially in Africa where we often have further to catch up.

    Great Blog.

  6. Hash, thanks for the writeup and kind words about iblog.co.za. A quick update- we’ve now got just over 6,000 bloggers and are still growing rapidly!

    With regards to being SA-focussed, I think Leo is spot on, although hopefully we can grow to incorporate all African bloggers in the future. However, that does present a slight problem in terms of domain name… would we use a .co.za domain name? Or a dot com (expensive for a good one)? Or will we wait until the .af TLD is released?!?

  7. Hi Mark, when you do decide to move out of just SA, I would highly suggest you pick up the country TLDs for where you plan to move into.

    If you have a .com, it’s not such a big deal. If you only have the .co.za then it’s more important. Most countries outside of SA won’t take part in a .co.za site, but they will in a .com.

  8. I think you’re right, a .com would be first prize and a lot easier!

    The comment about the .af TLD was tongue-in-cheek, but I can remain ever hopeful for our own version of .eu!

  9. We all know how hard it is to find quality .com’s though… 🙂

    It would be nice to have an Africa TLD. I wonder if it has ever been presented?

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