In a surprising twist of events, readers of sheqafrica.com suddenly found the website requires payment to access its content. This happened after De Novo Media decided to start generating revenue to keep the site going, after it bought the website from Advantage ACT in May 2016.
De Novo Media sent an email to its major shareholders on 17 April 2017 announcing the intention to sell its share in sheqafrica.com and offered them first right of refusal. De Novo Media’s Stakeholder Relationship Manager, said in the email, “We bought the site, with the intention of creating opportunities for SHEQ consultants and training providers to showcase their skills and services, events and other products in the form of advertising, but the on-take is just not viable. We had a few contributions from Women in SHEQ, and Dr. Scheepers and regular advertising from Cygma SHEQ and recently also from SHEQContractor, but the cost of the site licensing, hosting fees and editorial staff was not recovered and we are forced to shut it down or sell out. We introduced a subscription of R45 per month, which is far lower than subscriptions by other general news publications, but this resulted in a drop in subscribers. De Novo Media can no longer continue funding a charity system, which in fact offers valuable information, which otherwise would have been rather expensive.”
Africa’s largest independent SHEQ Magazine was started in June 2007 by Ben Fouché, owner of Real Babe Media and co-founder of Advantage ACT. From a slow start it gradually grew into a top publication, recognised by Google as a vital source of SHEQ information, and an integral part of many practitioners’ daily work routine.
De Novo Media and a group of private investors bought the website from Advantage ACT in an effort to make advertising open to all sheq service providers. But after various attempts and invitations the website did not generate sufficient revenue to keep it on its asset register.
On Monday, 17 April 2017, the decision was made to shut it down or sell it.
Rudy Maritz, CEO of the Cygma Group, which also owns a 25% share in sheqafrica.com and a regular contributor responded to the invitation.
Dublin, 17 May 2017. Cygma International plc, has announced that it will continue to seek investors to take over the sheqafrica.com publication while changing the focus thereof. The company with its South African subsidiary, are changing the focus on serving Employers.
Sheqafrica.com has been a source of information for SHEQ practitioners and employees, without any revenue. Despite efforts to promote loca; (African) SHEQ businesses and service providers, it appears these entities are not aligned to business practices and the majority are mere “employees within their own companies”.
Employers can expect high end information from the publication. This is an attempt by Cygma to attract business leaders to the website instead of the symbiotic relationship with emerging practitioners over the past 10 years.
Transformational Safety Psychologist, David Broadbent, demanded to have all his articles removed from the site, after making the assumption that is only available to paying subscribers.
Former Editor, Edmond Furter are also demanded to have his name removed as Editor of the publication and insisted on the “naming of the editor” as required by standard media practice.
The moderators of Sheqafrica.com has since removed all references to the authors and denies any relationship or endorsement of the legal accuracy of the content.
Rudy Maritz, CEO of Cygma Group Southern Africa said that “the company bought the site on 16 May 2016 and it was valued based on content. If any person wishes to withdraw content prior to this date, they need to take it up with the former owners or compensate the company based on their own assessment of the value of their professional opinions expressed therein.
We have decided to terminate all advertising of external parties and will continue to keep our reader numbers above 500 per day until we can find a suitable alternative. Much of the content is outdated, such as legal updates, and should have been deleted. The top articles in the stats are promoting UNISA and Safety exams, neither of which serves the interest of the publication or its corporate clients.”
More news will follow on the future of Sheqafrica.com as it approaches its 10 year birthday. Will it survive the battle of Intelletual property rights?