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Good bye To “Technology Zimbabwe”…

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Over the years we have become known as a ‘technology’ blog. Anything and everything tech was hopefully covered by us, where we’d do what we termed ‘connecting the dots’.

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In publishing, you have either of two customers, the reader or the advertiser. The age old adage of “you can’t serve two masters” held true a number of times when brands who advertised with us would contact us to change negative content in an article we’d have written about them. Knowing who we are, we’d turn them away, but this made for a difficult discussion when we’d go see the exact same person for an advertising booking (if we made it past the door).

The idea was to write content for a reader who was in a strategic position at their organisation and was needing to make tactical decisions. We envisioned that this reader would value deep analysis to the extent that we started what we termed ‘Beneath The Surface‘ content. Writing for our readers at a strategic level was something we thought would be so valuable that readers would pay for it through subscriptions to our blog.

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We recently trialed subscriptions and after having a whole three people subscribe (yes, one, two, three)Limbikani and myself included, the conclusion was that either our content was not valued enough (which was strange, especially when we’d get over 120,000 visits in a month) or that Zimbabwean’s just don’t pay for stuff online.

The exact reason is neither here nor there for us as we’ve opted to rather focus on the advertiser.

What Changes Are Going To Take Place?

Firstly, we’ll be changing our name. Yes, we’ve been known as both Technology Zimbabwe as well as TechZim. The former limits us to technology as well as to covering Zimbabwe, while the latter was just an abbreviation of the full name.

From today, we’ll be called Techzim (no link to technology or to Zimbabwe) and we’ll be re-branding as well.

Essentially the cosmetics are what will be revisited as we reach out to our new target audience.

What does this mean to you the reader?

Nothing drastic for the next few days.

However, if you’ve hung around here a bit before, you’ll start seeing more business-like content. We’ll be posting more of short updates and less longer-form analyses.

Our target audience will be those that are at a basic understanding of both technology and business and we’ll be breaking down any updates to what it means for an ordinary individual on the streets.

We have a rough idea of where we are going and one thing we’ll be looking closely to is the data. What will bring us the highest growth in both traffic and revenue.

 

Here’s hoping we can build the biggest business and technology knowledge resource in Zimbabwe (and maybe Africa).


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85 thoughts on “Good bye To “Technology Zimbabwe”…

  1. Techzim is a very good website but you guys now need to iterate just like you are planning. For me I go on facebook to chat and know whats happening within my circles, I go on whatsapp to instant message but if you ask me why I go on techzim, its really difficult to explain. I just drop to your site maybe through a link from facebook. You must find a reason that makes readers to flock to your blog.

    1. Yes, valuable content for our readers is what we going to be about (which I think we’ve always been about).

      At the end of the day, readers (and people in general) will gravitate towards stuff that they love. We want to be that place for local tech and business, however, breaking it down for the layman on the street.

  2. Its too bad, I enjoyed those posts which were more focused on the reader however u had to do it coz u want profit, will miss the techzim that I loved

    1. Yes, there is a certain section of our readership that did like this style of content, but that takes up our resources (of which we have a finite amount) and so can’t expend much in this area.

      Hopefully the “new Techzim” will be something that you will still appreciate and enjoy

  3. 120000 per month is very impressive, go with the advertising portal model. Search deeper u will find something that makes the business sustainable

  4. its a bold decision… but it’ll either work or it wont 🙂

    im not sure keeping the name techzim is a good long term move, because you’d want to keep the name relevant to your content. in this case, its not only tech related, or with Zim…so if a new reader comes across and asks “why the name techzim?” what would you say?

    in the past, techzim existed as a “blog” where authors were allowed to write articles and stay neutral on whether services/tech were good or bad. then things changed and we saw more “sponsored” content where a company would come and market themselves and take away the objectivity that people valued from this site. then there was a period where articles clearly were partisan and people called it out. originally companies genuinely feared having articles written about them on this site, because you pointed out do’s and dont’s in an extremely objective way. that changed, and people stopped caring once the corporates started paying to put up content, banners etc.

    so i think your new direction needs to be fine cut on what it is, and what it isnt..otherwise you’ll get a reputation of having double standards again. readers from outside of Zim have higher standards for the way content is written and managed… so with that said, i wish you guys all the best.

    1. Thank you for the pointers.

      We’ve made it clear always when content was paid for (that sometimes we were not objective, we’ll always stand by our writers as we believe in the team we’ve got).

      Yes, defining the fine line is key, and honestly, it’ll be an exciting road for us as we evolve.

      In regards to a name change and explaining, I think the origins of the brand can never be forsaken (we need to know our heritage) and the name speaks to what we “used to be”.

  5. I have always believed that your name limits your scope in terms of content and geography. However, i fail to understand how just changing the the capital letter “Z” to a small letter “z” changes anything. What matters is how the reader views you. And to me, as long as the name is Techzim, it relates to Technology Zimbabwe.

    1. Noted.

      We were more widely called “Technology Zimbabwe” and abbreviated to TechZim. Yes, for some readers it’ll take a bit more time, but I think as we become more mainstream (120,000 visits by a 60% Zmbabwean population speak to the opportunity of being known by more people rather than the few who already do) the shift will be easier for the greater audience that never knew us

  6. I think you are jumping too early, first with the subscription you never asked us our opion and secondly with this you are not asking us your readers you are telling us. The difference between you and other sites was the reader. Try other funding mechanisms ,for example ,crowd funding,grants,product placement, chargiing small fees to feature start ups and research. The reader is your asset I would have grow the visits to 500 000 or even a million. I think you can monetise an advertisor may not like what you say but if the reader does then you will score more for future when you endorse products.What you can do is to develop a new brand or product and figure out how to keep this running.Be entrepreneurial who says you can’t start something new and still have techzim.Dont mess with this brand .If you want sale it ,sale this business am sure there could be many ready buyers. if you change focous you will lose your brand .

    I would have subscribed but the way you sold it was take it or leave it,

    1. They just need to look at how Wiki does it, most of the websites tell you how much it is costing them to host and run it. They then ask people to donate and sometimes the money donated is published as people are giving, once the target is reached, it is either closed, or the owner carry it to next month.

      1. What is the diffrence if u u said to me pay 3 $ and get acess for a month and donate 3$ and get acess for a month.My point is there are many business models that a working very .Readers donate certain amount goves them acess to event, certain articles , one advert per year etc. Your editorial brand is ok your revenue genarating model is the one that needs to pivot.

        1. Pay means you see value in what we are doing are as such you are willing to part with your money for it. Donate equates to you not really seeing and appreciating the value, but out of the “goodness of your heart” you still give us those funds.

          We’d rather be on the value-side, as we can determine that you will pay, where as for us to get you to donate, needs you to feel sorry for us. We’re not a charity nor an NGO.

          1. William, you are getting ie defining the word Donate, Zimbabwean style! I cannt fault you for that. But worldwide its the term used in a more mature none lazy way giving to sustain a project because you see value in and want it to continue or even prosper.

    2. Thanks for the feedback.

      We asked our readers in the form of putting the Subscribe button, with a free trail for one month, and the whole of 3 people subscribed (2 of us were in-house as we needed to test the system). That was response enough.

      Yes, we are “telling you” the route we are taking, with much in-house consultation. This is not an over night decision (if it was then that was a very long night).

      The suggestions of funding are noted, but we’d prefer value exchange. If what we are serving you is valuable (our content), then you will give us what we value (money). This is proved to be somewhat of a challenge, so for now we’d refer to have that conversation with the brands (the amount of energy needed to convince a brand vs a reader seems to be the same, but the payoff are greater).

      Currently the For Sale sign has not been hang up

      1. I fully understand and appreciate your argument. Many a reader in the continent have not adopted the concept of paying for the content you read in the media. If I might recall Newsday and The Herald also tried the same route and the results were bad. In the media circles around the world, it is still one area that is still contested and news organizations still looking for ways on how we can pay for the content we read online. As a start-up definitely you have bills to take of. I wish you all the best but I still feel you could have incorporated the new model on the already existing one. You have become a household name in this field. I wanted to suggest some ideas on funding as there are journalism grants for tech journalism but heard you saying you dont want to beg. All the best once again.

        1. Thanks for the heads up. We appreciate.

          Yes, media organisations are still trying to wrap their heads around how to monitise their content. We’ll be exploring some as time progresses.

          Noted on the grants and noted on the acknowledgement of our stance towards them too.

      2. Good luck. I still think build on your brand ,keep your readers. judging from the comments we love the current brand, call it grant ,donate whatever at the end its money. So I would still go with a crwond funding for instance you could have the readers give , donate call it pay if you want a certain amount that could give them, for instance, a day or half a day advert, an attendance to a techzim event and a one full year membership. I still think you can monetize your readership you just have not figured it out. The brand route/advertise route is ok but that is not your total brand. I would even suggest a live event with your readers to discuss this can even be monetize too. Any way at the end of the day your call ,your business.

        1. We’re not ditching our readers and will see to it that the content we publish here is valuable. However, this is us taking a stance that our efforts to monitise our readers directly have failed and so we will put the pedal to the metal in making money from the brands who advertise with us.

          We will sample other efforts, perhaps selling ebooks, consultancy or other areas that readers may be interested in. However, this is not the short term effort.

  7. I for one would have paid for the subscription if you were offering something unique and insights into what is happening in Zim.
    What l found strange is a lot of the content you guys are providing are or were available on the internet or you are referring to an extract from another publisher like Nhemald, oops sorry Herald!

    That to me points to different things:

    1. Limited resources
    This can be that you do not have vehicles or mobility to move around sourcing the news. I remember Kabweza sometime ago buying a scooter in trying to move around the city quickly and easily getting the news. Im happy if he have lost that scooters without breaking his bones.

    2. Lack of specialist content
    I agree that techzim is called a specialist website, but saying you specialise in technology in Zim, africa or beyond is not good enough as technology is very broad.
    I can guess Kabweza have done some website or programming, not sure of you William. But if lm to go outside programming, what have you guys got?
    In summary lm saying evaluate the skillset you have and see if you have enough inhouse specialist to drive the numbers.

    There is a lot of articles which have been published here, 80% of it lacks deep analysis. Once that is corrected, lm happy to subscribe, you do not even need that, a donate button is enough and l will donate if l feel you are providing value for my money.

    1. Thanks MacD, yes creating unique content costs us resources (the scoutter has been off the road for over a year now), resources that we are limited by.

      Deep analysis would require us to spend more time and possibly money to better understand local tech and this would be a more long term goal, which we can’t finance in the interim.

      We have our different talents that we bring to the table, I think mine is the looks, but I believe in the team that we have and look forward to building something new and different. We acknowledge that we may lose some readers along the way and we embrace this as we realise that you can’t be all things to all people.

  8. Change is the constant of life, hoping u become the techcrunch of africa
    hope u get the techzim.com also
    tech and business makes sense more like mybb but they put the business stuff on another donain businesstech.co.za
    i think ur strategy will be better just to put it on one domain
    techcentral.co.za is very good with the indepth stuff
    disrupt-africa.com good with the african tech scene and funding angle
    mybb.co.za is everything tech

  9. Have no doubt you will make it. Love the vision. Have you tried exploring other avenues like selling digital products – tutorials, guides etc

  10. My worry will be the quality of content as a reader, if u continue providing me with it then it’s fine but if u compromise it for the sake of revenue then I am afraid there is a good chance of loosing me too for other sites. I really liked this site, it provided me with latest tech Zim news and kept me aware of technology in zimbabwe. Good luck to you, hope this will be a win win situation and yes by the way we in zimbabwe don’t pay for online news and sure even newspapers are feeling the pinch and they hAve to survive by selling advertising space

    1. The quality will not be compromised, however, we are taking a lesser leaning towards in-depth content (as this requires more resources) and focusing on quick updates.

      Our intention is to write for the “average Tinashe” and breakdown what an update is and how it’ll affect him/her.

    1. We’ve been funded through advertising and events. We failed to host an event this year (part economic situation, part lack of focus on our end), but advertising has managed to keep the lights on.

      However, being 7 years into existence, we need to more from just “barely making it”

  11. The good thing is that you are still around and will celebrate that. Such major decisions are always difficult for isu vana but you need to pay the bills.

    Fare the well cdes

  12. Why ‘and maybe Africa’? Why limit yourself? Do not be afraid to be ambitious and to dominate. Go out there and conquer Africa as well.

  13. Well done. It was long overdue. It was unsustainable to continue bashing the hand that butters the bread. However we all mature with age like wine. Wishing you all the best as we get in 2017 onwards. The title. For the consumer to notice a difference in approach ain’t it well to consider another new name.

    1. We’ve considered a new name platform, but that would mean generating the content to reside there as well as building the SEO. Would have taken us a bit of time to be half of where we are today.

  14. Selling “News Online” is something which is not that popular everywhere else. I was reading a certain article on how thesun newspaper in UK used to be the highest visted online site but changed when they turned to online subscription. Its really difficult to pay when there are other non-paying alterbatives like dailymail! As for texhzim, I was really going to subscribe . May you could handled the transition better.

    1. Transition will be gradual, not over night. But we’ve been on this idea for over a year now and have decided to act. Will it work? We have no idea, but we sure as hell not gonna find out sitting on our (some text missing)

  15. Best wishes cadres.
    Musaite zvisina mari mukati, do what works for you.
    May profit always be your portion and the Lord deliver you from every grant ?

  16. this site had become my daily tech updater on tech issues in zimbabwe and beyond. i hope your change is not going to chase your readers who have been with you all along.
    Good luck!!!!!!!

    1. I’m sorry to read that you feel “cheated”. To make it up to you, please advise your bank details and I’ll transfer to you all the money that you have paid us to date.

  17. 1. I am vey dissapointed in your content shift.

    I can get general tech content anywhere. I refused to read corporate drivel (My Broadband SA). I read TechZim for the deep insights and honest thoughts on tech in Zim. If you stop writing about what is *really* happening with tech in Zim, I’ll unsubscribe, and so will your high-quality readership – those that make decisions based on what you publish, not who adverts with you.

    2. I am very dissapointed in your lack of vision.

    Blogs rarely, if ever, get enough funding via ads or subscriptions. And I’ve tried both models in multiple ways. The best either can do is provide some revenue and some level of authority, but not much of either, really. Better is use the high-quality audience that the blog builds, to create profitable related activities – job boards, conferences, consulting.

    Look at Tech in Asia – they are open that their blog adverts don’t cover the rent. They focus on using their audience to create and populate high $$ events. Others use their insight for high $$ consulting – think Economist Intetelegence Unit.

    Or look at my own site, ICTworks. I don’t have ads, and the ‘sponsors’ don’t give me cash, but they do legitimize the site, which has grown so big (10k email subscribers) that USAID and other large orgs come to me to help them run events or gain insights, paying more than any fickle corporate advertiser ever would.

    Your audience is your asset, not your advertiser. Server the reader and everyone & everything will follow.

    1. Thank you for your comments and concerns Wayan. We value them.

      We realise some may be lost along the way and may not be willing to go down this road with us, and that is fine. Unfortunately, we can not be all things to all people and writing for the reader (who doesn’t pay us) is not something we want to venture into right now.

      That it has worked for you, well done.

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