opinion

Africa on the Move

Stephen Yagielowicz

Boasting the world’s largest growth rate in Internet penetration between 2000-2012 — a figure exceeding 3,600 percent, according to InternetWorldStats.com — Africa is bridging the digital divide at an increasingly rapid (and mobile tech-forward) pace that can only be seen as good news for porn purveyors.

InternetWorldStats.com also reports that 167,335,676 African Internet users were online as of mid-2012, with 51,612,460 Facebook users across the region as of 2013 — while Wikipedia notes that South Africa is the only African country with Internet access figures similar to those of Europe and North America, and is followed by some smaller, highly touristic economies, including Seychelles and Mauritius; plus several countries in North Africa, most notably Morocco and Egypt. After South Africa, Kenya is the leading Sub-Saharan country in regards to Internet development.

Spankmo’s recent moves in Nigeria, South Africa are the latest opportunities to be explored in the region by adult entertainment marketers.

But this isn’t your daddy’s Internet — unless he spoke Swahili on a cell phone.

One company making moves in Africa is Spankmo Mobile Services SL, with its MobGlam.com NATS-based affiliate program, which recently added mobile billing for Nigerian and South African consumers; offering a 50 percent revenue share on all sales.

Spankmo’s Graeme Kingshott says that the use of feature and smart phones is rising in both countries, due to the popularity of BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) and aggressive promotion of the Android platform.

“Because of poor quality fixed line Internet services,” Kingshott explains, “[African] surfers have to go mobile to get online.”

The MobGlam.com site portfolio features subscription sites that are paid for by SMS transactions in Nigeria and South Africa, among other countries, at a relatively low cost.

“Most surfers are on prepaid mobile plans, and a smaller cost to join [means] a better chance they have enough credit on their phone to pay,” Kingshott concludes. “In Nigeria, we sell subscriptions for just one hour’s access, and in South Africa, for just one day.”

MobGlam.com has a 365 day NATS cookie policy, so returning surfers with a cookie present in their browser create credits for affiliates every time that surfer re-joins the site.

On the traffic front, brokers such as Reporo.com have considerable experience with the African audience, and are able to provide a steady flow of visitors with many options regarding targeted countries, platforms and surfing times; as well as website monetization services for publishers.

A further dimension to the African Internet traffic issue comes from a joint initiative of the Internet Society and the African Union Commission — which is bringing Internet exchange points to eight African countries as a way of improving interconnectivity while reducing connectivity costs.

“Africa has been plagued by high Internet costs because most of the exchange points are in Europe,” Rebecca Wanjiku wrote for PC Advisor. “Several fiber optic cables have been laid in the region, but costs are still high.”

The new effort will train and support the African Internet Exchange System (AXIS), funded by the Euro-Africa Infrastructure Fund and by the Government of Luxembourg. Pursuing a goal of 80 percent of local Internet traffic exchanged within Africa by 2020, this task will usher in broader Internet availability and open vast new audiences for adult entertainment marketers — as new products and service offers become available, targeted to the unique technical and budgetary requirements of this specific marketplace.

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