South African Portal Enhances the Web for Dialup Users

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The current status in South Africa is that more than 90% of Home Internet users use dialup access. From analyzing online use of a major singles site (Galaxysingles) we realized that most people use the Internet at work when they have faster connections. Hence has been launched.

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News, Weather, Sharing Images with friends, these are common uses of the Internet. All over the world where broadband access is common in the home, people are using the internet to enhance their lives. All the major portals in South Africa use intense graphics to build their sites. This makes it unusable for more that 90% of the Internet users at home.

Batcard is a new type of Portal. It’s all text except for the logo and one image from your galleries. The page has a list of popular web sites in South Africa, the two day weather forecast, Financial Info like the Rand Dollar exchange, a public events calendar, News from South Africa, International, Business and Sport, the lottery numbers, and the latest petrol price. You can see this all in one glance without having to go to different pages for each category. There is also a Google search that allows you the best search for South African sites.

“So far we have had a lot of people making this their homepage,” says Simeon, the owner of “South Africans have taken to this format which gives them all the main info they need in one glance.” He also says that they will be adding new features as the year progresses including an internal email system, a site directory and a classifieds. “We will also be creating a new site for the soccer world cup that will have the same low bandwidth needs.”

About was created in 2006. It came out of the realization that emerging internet countries like South Africa effectively don’t share the same Internet that countries like the USA. In the USA people shop, look at maps, find phone numbers, news and weather forecasts hourly because the home market is over 30% on Broadband. In order to bring the same content to countries like South Africa a new approach is needed and hence Batcard is the start of this endeavor.


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Simeon Lifschitz
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