Bandwidth Blog sat down with Rafiq and got the low down on his latest project, biggest achievements and becoming a TV star for being online 24/7.
Rafiq, introduce yourself and describe some of your daily activities (daily routine)?
Rafiq Phillips – Web AddiCT, QuirkStar and co-founder of www.idrive.co.za.
My daily routine will be aired on TV pretty soon and i do not believe in re-inventing the wheel, you’ll be able to see it all there. Google reveals all too. What they didn’t show was me spending time away from the internet: With awesome Friends, not enough with my family and recovering from a heart smashed into more pieces than there are web pages indexed by Google.
You recently won the Top ICT Youth Innovator in Africa Award – what has that meant for you?
Nokia-Siemens were the category sponsor for at the African ICT Achievers awards. It’s still in the early stages but there are some awesome things about to happen. How about a Bandwidth Blog scoop when it’s official? (done deal – ed)
Last week Carte Blanche filmed you ‘living on the internet’ which ended up at cafe Neo – tell us more about what you did and how you experienced being behind the camera?
The Carte Blanche crew followed me around for 2.0 mornings. from waking up in the morning (yes there was a camera in my face when I opened my eyes) reaching for my mobile phone to go online to my daily SEO work at Quirk eMarketing, twitter, facebook, blogging, IM, MXit, Flickr, Shozu and ended up meeting with Charl Norman and the other half of idrive.co.za and Web AddiCT(s); – Miguel dos Santos at Caffee Neo. We did bit of an interview, the cameras didn’t really bother me. Just was a bit weird being woken up with a camera in my face and having to walk into the QuirkStation 5 times for them to get the perfect shot. Yeah, and it was laundry day too.
who do you think is the hottest web startup in SA?
*shamless self promotion time*
It was Guy Kawasaki who once said, “Make meaning, not money.” I believe the hottest web startup in SA that was not built-to-flip is www.idrive.co.za. A vertical search engine that connects learners drivers throughout South Africa with credible driving schools via the web, mobile and MXit. It’ll make the roads we all travel on safer by ensuring those more likely to cause a fender bender are actually taught the basics right by driving schools who actually know what they’re doing.
Another web app I believe will be huge internationally is the Online Reputation Management tool BrandsEye – it enables you to extract the knowledge required to make key decisions which will affect your brand’s future in real-time. BrandsEye then goes one step further and allows you to quantify your online reputation letting you benchmark against your competitors and yourself. I first became aware of BrandsEye pre-alpha when Quirk while monitored their own Online Reputation with it. Whenever I mentioned Quirk in a blog post on Web AddiCT(s); there would be this funny referring site in my stats. When I confronted them about this I was told it was top-secret. Rob Stokes later invited me to beta test the ORM tool and I was pretty much impressed. I wonder if I’m allowed to talk about this… let me stop there. *Disclosure – i joined Quirk 9 months later.
Do you think blogging will continue to enjoy growth in SA?
We’ve only just begun… I’ve been hopping over to Amatomu since it was in beta at least once a week, think Web AddiCT(s); was the 10th blog registered, to see the 7-day traffic graph increasing. Everyone one of the hundreds of thousands of facebook users in South Africa are micro-blogging every time they update their status. Facebook might be in a closed wall garden like the media 24 blogs but it’s still blogging.
Name your favorite web apps (what you use daily)?
twitter, wordpress, muti, gmail, AdWords, AdSense, del.icio.us, Google Analytics, Google Webmaster Tools, Google Reader, YouTube, facebook, BrandsEye – The Online Reputation Management Tool and of course Wikipedia.
What’s in your rss reader now?
Thanks to Twitter’s track functionality I tend to wade through my feeds alot less freqeuntly than I used to. There are certain phrases and buzzwords I track and whenever anyone in the twecosphere mentions one of those phrases I immediately get it in my IM. You can see the feeds is share via Google Reader here.
You’re a SEM guru – whats the most traffic you got from a certain keyword in Google and how did you optimize for this?
I’m a Web AddiCT with a habit of checking web stats… alot. I noticed a sudden spike in the traffic to one of the sites a few days after publishing some new content. Traffic continued to climb for that keyphrase and after checking Google trends noticed that the stats of the site matched the Google trends graph. Implemented some on-site SEO fundamentals and continued to create content, content, content and some more content for those phrases.
Webaddicts is in and out of the top 20 on amatomu – this is quite the achievement – but what do you think of the rankings?
I think that Vince and Matt should drop the nofollow tags from the top 20 and stick to Google’s guidelines and add nofollow tags to their sponsored banners and links. Make being in the top Amatomu top 20 worth more than only more visitors but actually pass some of that authority and Google juice all blogs sporting the Amatomu badges in their sidebars have given them in the first place. Sharing is caring. When that happens being in the Amatomu top 20 will really mean something to me.
Who is your favourite SA blogger and why?
Stafford Masie’s – Mashing it Up
Why? I first heard Stafford Masie speak at the HP linux roadshow at Spier many years ago and was pretty impressed. Ended up running SuSE for a few years before migrating to Mac. Actually, I’m only saying so because I hope his Google Alert picks this up. Stafford Masie, when/before your team eventually decide to release Android please send one my way 🙂
I always thought it was spelled Staford Massie but it is actually Stafford Masie. 2.0 f’s and one s.
In your opinion whats the best blog post you’ve published online?
It might not appear that way, but lots of thought goes into almost every blog post I’ve ever written. Did I mention that I’d love to get my hands on one of the mobile phones running Google’s Android?
Tell us more about Ted and your involvement?
This is how it started…
Thanks for taking time out to answer our questions Rafiq. Next up on our series of interviews is uber blogger Nic Harry. Watch this space..