Afrigator, an African social media aggregator which was launched in 2007, closed down on 1 December 2011.
Afrigator was launched in the golden age of blogging in South Africa, and at its peak the website indexed thousands of African blogs, podcasts and videos.
In September 2008 the Naspers division MIH Print Africa acquired a majority stake in Afrigator which brought additional funding and further developed the Afrigator platform. However, the relationship did not last, and the owners of Afrigator bought back their shares at a later stage.
Afrigator also ran Adgator – an advertising network launched in late 2008 which helped African blogs to monetise their traffic through a service similar to Google Adsense. Adgator closed down in September 2011.
“About two months ago we closed Adgator down due to declining revenue and a core shift in focus for the four shareholders involved. Due to all of us having other interests Adgator became more of a burden than asset,” explained Afrigator founder Justin Hartman.
“Afrigator was closed down essentially to avoid the recurring costs of running the operation. The hosting bill to run Afrigator (across a pretty intense server structure) was just too high when you consider our primary revenue stream was closed down a few months earlier.”
“It’s been 4 years and 9 months since Afrigator started and while it’s a sad time for all of us concerned it was coming and needed to be done. Businesses don’t fail – people give up and this is true about Afrigator. As soon as our focus shifted we could no longer focus on growing Afrigator.”
Hartman is currently the CEO of SocialCode, a digital agency which he founded in 2010 that offers a range of digital services for clients which include UNICEF, Hyundai, SuperSport, Remgro, Vodacom and Distell.
Afrigator is however not the only ‘Web 2.0’ startup which did not last. Muti, an African bookmarking website similar to Digg and Reddit, changed into an online directory recently.
Despite receiving numerous accolades locally and internationally, Muti failed to attract the critical mass needed to make a social networking website successful.