Robert X Cringely is a journalist, author and online industry commentator that I have been reading since I first discovered him in Computing SA back in 1993-1995. Anyway his insights are very accurate and the trends he spots turn out to be important in most cases. This week he wrote in his weekly column on PBS about the impact Craigslist is having on America newspaper business. For those in the newspaper business this is another reason to sit up and pay attention to the online reality.
In South Africa simply because we have such a small internet population newspaper’s classified business will be safe for the next five to 10 years. Once the internet population cracks 50% of the population there will be a similar shift to online world. Locally Ronnie Apteker, founder of Internet Solution, one of the first Internet millionaires in this country has set-up Vottle, a sort-of Craigslist for South Africa. Now I don’t know how good Vottle is because I have not placed any classified ads on it. I’m going to place some ads over the next few months to test Vottle and see how quickly or slowly I can sell products or find services that I would use a newspaper classified for.