Afrigator and Adgator issues

I HAVE huge respect for the Gators who started Afrigator – Africa’s largest blog aggregator, and Adgator – a unique advertising service for bloggers. However, things appear to have gone a little pear-shaped in recent months to say the least.

Both services have been awarded and honoured in the press – and deservedly so. It would seem that the steady growth of Afrigator was something unprecedented. Unfortunately, it also appears that the Gators were unprepared for such (perhaps unexpected) growth. While Afrigator may be winning the popularity contest among the aggregators, it could be argued that it is fast losing popularity among its users.

Downtime, site crashes, delays with the fetching of new content, the slow death of Gatorpeeps, and the inability for bloggers to access their blog statistics, are all happening all too often. I found my own blog crashing and behaving painfully slow in recent months. This was until I removed the Afrigator badge and tracking code. I see that several bloggers have done the same.

Afrigator issues

I tried to reach the Afrigator blog for comment, but it failed to respond. I do have it on good authority though that the Afrigator blog hasn’t seen an update since June last year.

And then there’s Adgator – an advertising service that showed (and will hopefully re-show) much promise. Adgator has made a few bloggers some decent pocket money since its launch, yet lately there seem to be more disgruntled Adgator users than satisfied ones.

On the plus side, the Gators seem to be doing really well with finding new ad campaigns and offering these to bloggers on a regular basis. Every time I hear of a new campaign that’s applicable to my blog category and location, I think “this is it! This is the one that’s going to make it big!” Then I visit my Adgator dashboard a few weeks down the line, often to find an impressive click-through ratio yet a lump sum of about 50cents.

Adgator earnings


Ad impressions worth zilch

December dashboardI fully understand that not all the ads offered by Adgator are “paying ads”, and that there is a difference between the Adgator earnings and the Ad: Dynamo earnings. However, I can’t shed the feeling that something still isn’t quite right.

I make a real effort to better understand any issues, and the Gator team are really courteous and speedy with their replies. But when bloggers are constantly told that there is a “discrepancy between figures and stats” this doesn’t really offer much by way of solution.

I’m sure the Gators are painstakingly working on such issues and that they mean well. I’m sure they’re also probably sick of being e-mailed complaints and held to accountability. Of course, it’s fair to give them some time and be patient about the whole thing. But, it’s also fair to talk about it and appeal for answers. Perhaps others don’t want to bite the hand that feeds them so to speak.

So let’s get some discussion going. Am I alone here? Do any of the Gators care to respond? Any good news for your users in 2011? I sincerely look forward to hearing from you soon.

** More Opinion & Analysis Articles **


Galen (name), meaning: "Curious One". A lover of language, human ingenuity and the forces of the universe. Hugely drawn towards the mysterious and unknown. Regular laughter and escapism essential.

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19 Responses

  1. Gerhard says:

    Agree, Afrigator offers great service on all their products but lately this has just gone down the dumps. Getting constant error on the Afrigator pages, cant view stats, plus Adgator has for the past few months not brought in any money worth mentioning.

    This could perhaps be due to the fact that the Afrigator guys have launched another company called Social Code, so I guess all their time is going into that. However, Stii has mentioned that they are working on a refreshed Afrigator that will bring better performance, but its already a few months later and still no word on the new version…

  2. Ryan says:

    Yeah let’s hope they sort it out. Our site had it’s best month last month, and returned next to nothing in ad revenue, and as you say Galen, it’s all very unimpressive. The last few months with Adgator really have been a load of croc.

  3. Galen says:

    I’m with you there Gerhard. It seems to me that once you start such a service and have so many bloggers involved, it needs to maintain some sort of priority. It wouldn’t be fair if it’s all been put on the back-burner. But perhaps this isn’t the case…

  4. Galen says:

    @Ryan: if I had a “like” widget installed I would like that comment! :)

  5. Justin Hartman says:

    Hey Guys

    I know you are all VERY frustrated and I’m not going to lie here – you deserve to be.

    The truth is that Afrigator has scaling issues which is the cause of why it’s down a lot of the time lately. We’ve been working on a brand new version but between trying to maintain existing code and improve on the new code it’s made our life very difficult the last few months.

    I can assure you both Stii and I take this matter very seriously and we’ve had a number of sleepless nights around this issue. We want this fixed as much, if not more, as you guys do.

    In Adgator’s case I hear that you guys are frustrated but please know most of our effort goes into making this work. We’ve just hired a new sales person, Natalie, and we have a whole new strategy in place on how to make Adgator bigger and better for everyone. It is however a work in progress and while Dec & Jan were slow this is also partly due to the nature of the online advertising trends which everyone goes through.

    Finally, about Social Code. Social Code is a new company that I am personally involved in. No other Afrigator employee is a part of this company so while my time may personally be spread over two operations team Afrigator remains focused on the product. In addition, Afrigator shares offices with Social Code so I’m here all the time and available for both companies.

    If you guys have more questions – please shout and I’ll be happy to answer!!!

  6. Galen says:

    Hi Justin, thanks for your speedy feedback! I think it’s a given that you guys are juggling with a lot and is what people expect to hear. It is exciting, however, to hear that updates are on the cards! Are you able to give us a rough idea as to when these might be available to us? Specifically the new version of Afrigator? Perhaps we could be informed as to when it’s safe to embed our tracking codes and badges again…

  7. Justin Hartman says:

    For sure – I will give you guys an update when we’re nearing the release. Just watch the Afrigator blog for info and little teasers pre-launch :)

  8. Henno Kruger says:

    Good post. Highlighting some of the issues I have problems with on Running Wolf’s Rant. I’m quite excited about the new Afrigator launch and the new Adgator campaigns. Let’s hope it all pans out nicely.

  9. Gerhard says:

    I have seen that a new campaign has started on Adgator yesterday, and I served quite a few but have not received any revenue from it.

  10. Galen says:

    @Gerhard: I think we’re all in the same boat there. Have also made nothing, and my ads keep reverting back to that black and green Adgator template!

  11. Galen says:

    Adgator ads seem to be working and earning again!

  12. Alan says:

    Amatomu was down last month and this month it seems Afrigator has quite some issues. Justin, wishing you strength!

  13. Kathryn says:

    Hi – thanks for this article. I have been struggling to register my blog with Afrigator and Amatomu for a few months now. I only started blogging in Feb and thought that I was just a bit slow…. anyway glad to hear I’m not alone. Do you know if things have improved. I have tried again today but still struggling!

  14. Galen says:

    Hi Kathyrn, thanks for your comment.

    Afrigator has been down several times this year. One can only speculate that this is a result of a high volume of traffic or blogs. Hopefully Justin will pick up your comment and respond soon. I’m sure we’re all keen to get an update on what’s going on.

    I would suggest that you get started on myScoop in the meanwhile. Sign up is free and their service is really great and reliable. That’s

  15. Greg says:

    I know it’s a bit of an old post and comment thread, but…

    Since you made this post Galen, have things changed and improved much on either Afrigator or Adgator at all?

    Both domains now redirect to the Social Code holding page and all Afrigator links on the site are failing. Has it died entirely?

    We were never an Adgator publisher, but I’d be curious to know if your ad serving from there is still working, or if you received any sort of notification that they were suspending the service? The last post on the Adgator Blog was Justins’ comments in May saying that the problems had been resolved and all was well – this from a Google cached copy of the blog as the blog is offline too.

  16. Galen says:

    Hi Greg,

    I’m afraid not. Adgator was officially terminated in September this year – announcing that it was no longer a viable business. Here’s a blog entry about it

    I’ve got to be honest and say that I don’t really know who these Social Code people are. Has someone bought the domain who will be running Afrigator? Can someone weigh in here?

    I haven’t been able to make proper use of Afrigator for almost a year now. Stats were the first thing to go, thereafter it became impossible to log in or receive updates. So in my mind the Afrigator era has come to an end. Sad, I was really fond of the Gators…

  17. Greg says:

    Thanks for the followup Galen. Missed the Adgator post.

    On the subject of Social Code and Afrigator though, Justin mentioned in his first comment on this post that “Social Code is a new company that I am personally involved in. No other Afrigator employee is a part of this company so while my time may personally be spread over two operations team Afrigator remains focused on the product.”

    With the subsequent closing of the Afrigator site and the Social Code holding page, it seems like that situation has changed a lot since then as well. It seems that perhaps the focus for Justin and Stii is now on Social Code, which positions itself as a “digital media agency” on it’s homepage at

    Like you, I always had a lot of respect for the ‘Gator folk. It’s just a little sad to see them having gone from being a “worldwide top start-up to watch” to this very quiet disappearance without a word?

  18. Tessa says:

    Hi Justin

    How effective has Afrigator been in addressing the challenges posed by the African social media industry?

  19. Galen says:

    Hey Tessa. That sounds like a topic for an academic essay! Takes me back to varsity. All I can add is that Afrigator battled to address the challenges and has since closed down as a result, but hopefully Justin can weigh in here and Justify (lol) why by offering some reasons…

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