Friday, December 15, 2017

Monetizing Online News; Prospects and Challenges.

Online media in recent times seems to be the branch driving the media force. Majority of readers these days prefer sourcing for information online to traditional media outlets. Furthermore, the advancement of technology has, for good, made this choice easier and more accessible, as new devices are released almost every day. The ease in accessibility to news online is however posing a financial threat to online editors as no direct payment is made to them by readers to access their online content.

Penplusbytes in collaboration with Online Editors Ghana, on 12th of December, 2017 held a strategic seminar on the theme “Monetizing Online News” aimed at identifying solutions for online editors to generate revenue using their websites. The seminar attracted online editors and bloggers from notable media outlets in the country who were taken through how to discover various ways to monetize their online content and some applicable tools to increase online content monetisation.
Giving the welcome address, the president of Online Editors Ghana, Isaac Yeboah stressed on how reporting fake news is becoming the alternative to ethical news reporting in the country. “The rise of digitalization has contributed to this; online reporters take advantage of various apps to create shareable news item of no validation and source”, he said.

In an interactive and engaging manner, speakers at the seminar including Kwami Ahiabenu II of Penplusbytes, Charles Ayiku of University of Professional Studies (UPSA) and Emeka Dele and Venus Tawiah both of Now Available Africa, outlined some guidelines for online editors to increase revenue generation on their online platforms.

Monetizing online news; Prospects
An online editor must firstly identify a focused niche, with which the site will always be associated. In such situations, the site has a focused consumer market, rather than focusing on many target group. When the target group of the site is clearly defined, it easily answers what type of content to be provided on the site to the target group.

Another thing online editors must note is that, to generate money from their online platforms they need to build huge traffic on their sites, and the major means for audience to be pulled to a site is by having strong content. In this sense, when generating content, it is very appropriate to identify the needs of the audiences that visit the site, and thus build content satisfying their needs. Also, the content should revolve around the preferences of the site’s target group. 
It is possible that an online editor will have a clearly defined target group, provide strong content solving problems of users and may still not generate money from the site. It takes practical skills to use the necessary tools for monetizing online content, in that order if the online editor doesn’t have the know-how knowledge of the tools, monetization becomes difficult. For that reason, online editors should be abreast with the periodic advancement of online monetization tools.
Google AdSense, Facebook Integration, Live Stream, Social Media Walls, traditional integration are some the tools for monetizing online news, that online editors should acquaint themselves with their applications and usage.
There are online affiliate programs like Amazon, Shopify and other third party agencies on which online editors can sign for a link to their sites to generate money.

Monetizing online news; challenges
Generating money from a site has never been smooth due to challenges like internet connection. The continuous interruption in connecting online makes it not interesting for readers to access online content. And the less readers visit a site, the more building strong traffic on a site becomes impossible.
Another challenge is unsolicited ads frequently popping up on the site. This breaks the chain of smooth reading on the site which has a high possibility of driving readers away from the returning to the site.

Plagiarism has also resulted in decreasing revenue for online editors. Some online editors copy and paste content from other sites on to their sites, without due credit to the original source. This unfortunately has the tendency of questioning the credibility of the original source, not making the site a trusted source. And hardly will readers visit a site associated with trust issues.
Unfavorable policies from affiliates also deter online editors from monetizing their online news. Some of the policies do not favor their assertions which make them decline from signing on to affiliate programs. 

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

VACANCY: DW Akademie Ghana seeks Project Finance Assistant

Penplusbytes’ partner Deutsche Welle Akademie is recruiting a Project Finance Assistant (m/f) for its Ghana office.  DW Akademie is Germany's leading organization for international media development ( DW Akademie Ghana maintains an office in Accra. 

The Project Finance Assistant supports media development projects carried out by DW Akademie in Ghana. The assistant is expected to devote a considerable amount of his or her time to accounting, liaising with external tax consultants and administrative tasks such as filing documents. The Project Finance Assistant also provides support to the Country Team in Ghana and Germany by helping plan and facilitate workshops and training courses, including logistical arrangements, for local partners throughout Ghana. This entails liaising with local partners and trainers, booking hotels and venues, financial reporting, documenting activities and monitoring results.

Potential candidates must provide proof of a relevant degree, for example, in accounting, and at least three to five years of work experience at an international organization. Experience in the media industry or media development work is an asset. German language skills are desirable. The fixed term employment contract runs until the end of 2018. Contract renewal is possible, but not guaranteed. Limited travel within Ghana is possible.

Please mail your application (no larger than 2 MB) and include your monthly salary expectations to: The application deadline is January 5, 2018. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Corruption Is Rape…Fight With Your Pledge

A disruptive anticorruption campaign has been launched by the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) and Penplusbytes at the start of the week-long AntiCorruption conference (4th-9th December) at La Palm Hotel in Accra. The campaign aims to strip corruption of its socially accepted status and aspirational appeal by getting Ghana to see it in the same light as rape, murder and armed robbery.
Speaking about the campaign, Mr. Richard Quayson, the Deputy Commissioner of CHRAJ noted that “It’s so unfortunate, but the fact is, corruption has now become a norm in Ghana. People freely talk about their corrupt intentions and are rather cheered by their friends and described as ‘sharp’ or ‘smart’. The Commission is committed to changing this.”
The campaign which started in the week of ahead of the launch with an ‘anonymously leaked’ video of a certain ‘Teacher Bismark’ admonishing his primary school students to “chop Ghana’s money” when they are older, revealed at the end of the video that it was staged and prompted viewers to consider what their lifestyles are teaching children. The video went viral, with many Ghanaians sharing their anger at the thought of such a thing happening. This was all planned.
At the launch, Jerry Sam, Programme Director at Penplusbytes urged Ghanaians to channel all rage and anger into fighting corruption by taking the anti-corruption pledge and sharing the message with their family and friends. Anyone can take the pledge
“We built this idea on a strong insight that; at the heart of corruption is selfishness and a desire to live comfortably and present an image of success at all cost. So we crafted a campaign that attacked that image attained corruptly. If all of Ghana saw and treated corruption like rape, murder and the worst social vices, then people in the position of trust will think more carefully and be less willing to resort to corrupt means to fuel a corrupt lifestyle. We have very compelling TV, radio and social media ads to help drive home the message which will be released in the course of the week.”
Another interesting feature of the campaign is how it gives everyone the chance to anonymously report any act of corruption through the ‘whistleblower function’ of the campaign website. CHRAJ is committed to investigating and prosecuting any culprit found to be guilty as a result of a tip-off. The campaign is targeting 50,000 pledges and anyone can take the pledge at and/or join the conversation on Social Media using #GhanaSaysNo.


Monday, November 27, 2017


Technology helps businesses in a number of ways that generally center on doing things bigger, better or faster than you could without technology. Different industries and companies rely on technology in different ways, but widespread uses include business communication, optimized production, inventory management and financial record-keeping.

Business Communication
Technology expands the reach and efficiency of many forms of internal and external business communication. Field sales representatives and technicians, for instance, no longer have to return to an office to receive assignments. Instead, they take calls or mobile messages while in the field, alerting them to the next scheduled appointment. Business reps traveling for work can stay connected to the office and colleagues. E-mail enables mass distribution of messages to people across geographical boundaries.
Externally, technology enhances opportunities for marketing communication. Social media, e-mail and mobile phones allow companies swifter and more interactive communication platforms relative to traditional, one-way media options.

Optimized Production
No matter what your industry, business size or primary activities, technology allows opportunities to optimize production beyond what you could produce without it. Small companies can often compete with larger firms in operational efficiency, thanks to access to high-tech equipment and tools. Manufacturers constantly look to upgrade equipment to compete with industry leaders on production efficiency.
In a retail business, technology makes the process of selling to and servicing customers much more efficient as well. Scanning barcodes at a checkout is faster than finger-punching numbers in a cash register. Also, as items get scanned, companies capture important data for precise marketing.

Inventory Management
Raw materials suppliers, manufacturers, wholesalers, retails and B2B providers all have inventory management processes. Technology is used to organize items systematicallyin a warehouse or storage room. Matching computer information to inventory storage spaces helps associates pull stock as quickly as possible. Companies can quickly compare inventory when it comes in the door to order sizes on the computer screen. Many inventory processes are automated. Retailers, for instance, often use vendor managed inventory approaches where suppliers automatically send replenishment when alerted that stock is low at a store. Organized, efficient inventory control helps minimize inventory costs while meeting customer demand.

Financial Record-Keeping
Companies’ small and large use advanced software programs to manage accounting and finance tasks, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration. In fact, companies often use programs that sync accounting with point-of-sale terminals and bookkeeping programs, such that each purchase or sale transaction is automatically captured in an accounting platform. Using technology to manage financial record-keeping minimizes manual processes, reduces costs and helps protect against human error.

Friday, November 24, 2017

How smart is Artificial Intelligence?

Artificial Intelligence is beginning to have transformative effects on consumers, enterprises, and governments around the world. The impacts are contributing by automating repetitive task, creating efficiencies, ubiquitously improving user experience, and creating ways for humans to improve our cognition.
Furthermore, by 2020, the AI market is projected to reach $70 billion, driven by increasing computational power and improving approaches/applications with machine, deep learning, natural language processing and robotics and many a number of other technologies.
To gain a better understanding of the perception of AI in the US, PwC surveyed 2,500 consumers and business decision makers. The objective is to better understand their attitudes towards artificial intelligence, and the future implications on business and society. I found the findings to be insightful and a few that are surprising!

While the world has concerns and there are certainly obstacles to overcome, consumers in the survey believe that AI has the potential to assist in medical breakthroughs, democratize costly services, elevate poor customer service, and even free up an overburdened workforce.
From a business perspective, enterprise executives are most optimistic about the potential of AI technologies to increase efficiencies via automated communications and alerts to enable more proactive approaches (70%) business challenges.

Today’s proactive solutions will mature to include predictive capabilities thanks to a direct correlation with improving big data and data analytics (59%), fueling this advancement. Additionally, our surveyed execs believe virtual personal assistants and automated data analysts are the AI solutions they see most impacting their businesses.

The more tech-savvy executives see a world where AI will further aid human abilities that are amplified as machines help mankind process, analyze, and evaluate the abundance of data that creates today’s world, allowing humans to spend more time engaged in high-level thinking, creativity, and decision-making.
In their own roles, business execs see huge potential for AI to alleviate repetitive, menial tasks such as paperwork (82%), scheduling (79%), and time sheets (78%). In fact, 78% agree it will free all employees from such tasks at all levels across their organizations.

Already, 34% of business execs say that the extra time freed up from using digital assistants allows them to focus on deep thinking and creating.
While 69% of business execs believe an artificial intelligence adviser would be as fair, or even more-fair, than a human manager when it comes to promotions and raises, only 46% would consider having AI involved in decisions regarding their own personal promotions.
Business execs also see potential for AI managers to improve life for employees. The majority believe employees wouldn’t mind working with an AI manager if it meant more flexibility and freedom to work from home (71%) and if it meant a more balanced workload (64%).

67% of business execs believe leveraging AI will help humans and machines work together and combine both digital and human intelligences in the best ways possible and even augment the c-suite and board.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Your quick guide to using LinkedIn to distribute content

What type of stories go viral on LinkedIn, and how does the algorithm impact the visibility of certain posts? We take a closer look at the content process on the business professionals’ network. For some business-focused sites such as Forbes and, LinkedIn engagement is beginning to rival, or even surpass, their shares on Facebook.
Earlier this month, we looked at how LinkedIn has been investing in video capabilities. But video isn’t the only area of content that has been succeeding on LinkedIn. Earlier this year, Digiday reported on how business publishers were seeing growth in referrals from the platform.
Here’s how engagement, measured as shares of links on LinkedIn, looked for English language publishers on the platform from January to September:

According to Executive Editor Dan Roth, the platform had three million writers and around 160,000 posts per week as of the end of 2016. Those articles either get distributed by LinkedIn’s in-house editorial team, made up of around 25 editors based around the world, or algorithms. LinkedIn claims that 87 percent of users trust the platform as a source of information, making it an attractive location for gaining people’s attention.
But what sort of messaging works on LinkedIn, and how does it get distributed? Unlike Facebook, there isn’t a whole lot of discussion about the influence of LinkedIn’s algorithm on what their users see when they log on.
As with most algorithm-based news feeds, we can divide the question of why certain stories go viral into two sections. First, we need to analyze the actual substance, tone and presentation of the stories themselves. Second, we need to consider the distribution particulars of LinkedIn, the role of its algorithm and the influence that a writer or publisher can have on that process.

The content: aim for high quality
Let’s consider the types of stories that are seeing high engagement on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is actually quite explicit about the types of stories that it sees as being likely to go viral on the platform. In a guide, they note that articles should “share professional expertise,” and suggest titles such as “What will (or should) your industry look like in 5, 10, or 15 years and how will it get there?” and “What advice do you have for career advancement?”
Looking at the most popular stories of the last few weeks on LinkedIn in NewsWhip’s Spike tool, we can see that these type of stories also resonate when they come from publishers. Career advice and professional development insights are extremely popular.
In presentation however, LinkedIn makes an effort to distinguish its content from more mass-appeal platforms. The platform discourages the use of listicles and obvious clickbait and recommends that writers “keep articles appropriate for the LinkedIn audience. Don’t post anything obscene, shocking, hateful, intimidating or otherwise unprofessional.”
Being able to maintain these editorial standards is something that LinkedIn takes very seriously and to reasonably good effect. You won’t have noticed LinkedIn mentioned very often in ongoing discussion about the spread of “fake news,” and the platform is not known as a place where viral publishers go to thrive.
It’s also important that articles aren’t seen as overly promotional; it’s fine to mention where you work, or the product you’re building, but going overboard results in risking spam status and a visibility downgrade. LinkedIn isn’t trying to compete with Twitter for the breaking news audience, or Facebook for mass appeal. Its strengths lie in allowing users to develop thought leadership and sharing content relevant to their careers. Developing a genuine persona on LinkedIn with expertise around a specific topic is a surefire way to build an audience base on the platform. LinkedIn also recommends that articles are at least three paragraphs long.

Distribution: The algorithm at work
Distribution of content on LinkedIn is an algorithmic process, and that algorithm is theoretically designed for engaging, interesting stories to go viral. In this sense, the algorithm isn’t all that different from the type that bigger platforms employ, but it’s aimed at a more niche user base. LinkedIn is open about the effect its algorithms have on content visibility in the news feed, using a “man+machine” approach to classifying content in real time based on signifiers such as early engagement, previous reaction to content from the page and more.
LinkedIn uses a feature called “FollowFeed” to help determine what gets prominence in users’ feeds. FollowFeed aims to provide high precision and recall, or relevance. For a technical explanation of how FollowFeed works, see this great detailed explanation from LinkedIn engineer Ankit Gupta.
LinkedIn has a three-stage process for identifying and dealing with low-quality content. As the post is being created, a classifier buckets posts as “spam,” “low-quality” or “clear” in near real time. Next, the system looks at statistical models based on how fast the post is spreading and the networks engaging with the post, in order to spot low-quality posts. Finally, human evaluators review posts flagged by users as being “suspicious.”
There are some factors that help determine how much preference articles secure for algorithmic distribution based on factors related to the personal details attached to the author’s LinkedIn profile.
Here’s what LinkedIn recommends regarding article distribution factors from individual writers:
(Stories are) shared with a subset of your connections and followers. This is determined by connection strength, your connection’s notification settings, and notification state (i.e. number of unread notifications). Members who aren’t in your network can choose to follow you and by doing so they will receive your articles and posts in their feed.
1.      Followers may receive notifications when you publish an article. Your articles may be available in their LinkedIn homepage feeds and can be included in news digest emails.
2.      In an effort to simplify the notifications experience, we often aggregate notifications to your connections.
So as with any news feed, there’s quite a bit at play behind the scenes in determining how many people will see and share your posts. Analyzing other success stories and changing techniques learned on other platforms can help in boosting your own signal.
Ultimately, LinkedIn’s editorial mission statement is to provide timely and professional content to users. Those users can be divided into different cohorts – engineers, salespeople, executives and countless other – but timely relevance remains the key consideration.

Indian Scientists Develop New Technology To Make Bio-diesel- A Clean Fuel More Cleaner

It is possible to convert waste from agriculture, homes, and industries into bio-diesel. Since it is waste that is put to good use, it is considered a clean source of energy. However, the process of making bio-diesel also generates waste in the form of crude glycerol.  
A group of scientists have found a way to convert this waste into hydrogen, which is a green fuel. This way biodiesel – already a clean fuel – can be made even cleaner. 

Manufacturing of biodiesel has increased significantly, leading to higher production of crude glycerol. Disposal of this waste is a costly affair. Therefore, industries need cheaper ways for managing this waste. Scientists at the Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB) in New Delhi have developed a cost-effective strategy to convert crude glycerol into hydrogen gas, which is a zero emission and high-energy fuel.  
Nearly 14 million tons of biodiesel is produced every year globally which generates around 1.4 million tons of crude glycerol. “We have to find ways of dealing with that humongous amount of waste,” scientists have said in their study published in journal Applied Biochemistry and Biotechnology.

Researchers treated crude glycerol with a bacterium called Bacillus amyloliquefaciens CD16 and were able to produce 3.2 liters of hydrogen gas fuel from a liter of crude glycerol waste mix in a single day. Burning this amount hydrogen generates nearly 37 kilo watt hour energy, which is sufficient to run 4 ceiling fans for 8 hours.
“These bacteria have a special property – they form a biofilm, which enhances their ability to produce hydrogen”, the authors note in their paper. To make a biofilm, many bacterial cells attach to each other and release a sticky coating around them, which encapsulates them. “This provides a protective environment to the cells making them more stable and robust in the equipment during the glycerol treatment process”, say authors.
The research team included Jyotsana Prakash, Rahul Kumar Gupta, Priyanka, and Vipin Chandra Kalia.

 Source: Outlook India

Monday, November 13, 2017

How to use technology to cultivate efficiency in the workplace

Using tech is an effective way of bringing a workforce together. And employers can use different platforms to cultivate this efficient working environment

The traditional office environment is vastly changing with freelancing and flexible working becoming more prominent in many companies. To ensure the smooth running of a diverse and possibly international team, it is important to use the many communication and technology platforms available to cultivate efficiency in the workplace.
For businesses which have employees and freelancers all over the world, it can be beneficial to adopt a primary communication platform such as Slack, which not only allows colleagues to communicate in an informal conversational manner, it also allows them to submit work/queries seamlessly in one centralized platform.
Whether employees are in the same location or the other side of the world, there are a plethora of tools available to allow a team to work collaboratively and cohesively without stepping on each other toes or overwriting each other changes.
For coding, Github is an amazing tool for collaboration as it allows the team to communicate while coding in real time, meaning team members can cohesively work together to review code and share their input simultaneously while working on a particular project. Furthermore, the team can also search and reuse previous codes written by colleagues – perfect for when working on a tight schedule.
Project management has also gone digital with many platforms such a Trello offering an online space to keep track of all projects. From employee on-boarding to sales leads, employees across different company departments can easily track the progress of projects within their team through the visual boards.
With a large percentage of communication being non-verbal, conference calls can often lead to missed messages to what colleagues mean due to not being able to spot these non-verbal cues. Google hangout video conference calls allow colleagues to visually communicate with each other allowing for more effective communication, and avoid ‘stepping on each other toes’ by talking over each other.
The overarching benefit for adopting these types of technologies is to provide employees with a centralized platform to communicate and show progress seamlessly which ultimately allows teams to work in a more time efficient manner.
Creating and fostering an efficient workplace is no easy feat, but these technology platforms can lead to phenomenal results making the workplace albeit a virtual one, a much happier place to be.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Penplusbytes Begins Deployment of P4H Platform With Orientation in Northern Region

Penplusbytes, the lead ICT organisation engaged in the SEND-Ghana People for Health (P4H) project in four regions of the country, has begun the deployment of the P4H online platform in beneficiary districts in the Northern Region.

The deployment involves the orientation of various stakeholders engaged in the health sector otherwise known as District Citizens Monitoring Committees (DCMCs) as well as visiting staff and management of key health centres.

The P4H platform, developed by Penplusbytes seeks to facilitate citizens’ access to relevant health information especially the patients’ charter, and provide an avenue for them to report their grievances or challenges in accessing healthcare at various health centres in their communities.

So far, the Penplusbytes team led by its Executive Director KwamiAhiabenu II has conducted orientation workshops for DCMCs in the Yendi Municipality,East Mamprusi, Gushiegu and Central Gonja Districts of the Northern Region.

At the Central Gonja District for instance, DCMCs were taken through the concept of the P4H project and its objectives as well as the essence of health workers communicating effectively to their clients in a satisfactory manner with relevant information.

Mr.Ahiabenu explained that, one of the key components of effective and efficient healthcare delivery is through effective communication between healthcare personnel and their clients as well as other stakeholders.

He therefore urged healthcare workers to endeavour to seek feedback from their clients and respond appropriately so as to elicit the desired results that would lead to efficient fight against HIV, maternal and infant mortalities and among others.

The P4H platform, also gives a patient or their relative the power to report any type of rights violation and poor services rendered to him/her by health personnel in any health facility in the regions where the P4H project is being implemented.

KwabenaTabiri, one of the lead developers of the platform, said it seeks to empower citizens to report their concerns on any poor service delivery for immediate resolution so as to achieve quality provision of healthcare from service providers.

The P4H platform can be accessed via One can choose to log in anonymously or provide his/her personal details but managers of the system will protect the person’s identity.
As soon as the issue the patient reported is resolved, he/she will be contacted via sms if only the patient provided his/her contact number at the time of accessing the platform to make a complaint.
People who access the platform to lodge complaints are expected toprovide evidence in pictures, audio or video to back their claims so that staff and managers of the health facility involved can be held responsible. 

The P4H platform is however not limited to only challenges in the health sector. Issues pertaining to the water and sanitation sector which is one of the issues being addressed by the P4H project can also be reported to local authorities.

District Health Management Committees, Regional Health Directorates, Ghana Health Service and other institutions are deeply involved in the investigation of reported cases of abuse or poor service delivery by patients or their relatives to the platform.

The P4H is a 5 year project, being implemented in Greater Accra, Eastern, Volta and Northern Regions by a consortium of governmental and nongovernmental organisations including SEND-Ghana, Penplusbytes and the GNA. SEND-Ghana is the lead implementer of P4H whereas the GNA and Penplusbytes provide communications and ICT services respectively.

The project is benefiting 20 districts in all four regions. In the Northern Region, it is being implemented in Karaga, Central Gonja, East Mamprusi and Yendi.

The objectives of the P4H project include reducing inequalities in the delivery of health services through the promotion of good governance and practices of accountability, transparency, equity and participation. - Source:

For detailed information on the project, kindly visit

Monday, October 09, 2017

Penplusbytes’ African Elections Project covers Liberia Elections

Penplusbytes’ African Elections Project covers Liberia Elections

      Penplusbytes’ African Elections Project (AEP) is set to yet again provide comprehensive coverage of the Liberia general elections slated for Tuesday October 10th 2017.
Voters go to the polls on Tuesday, and for the first time since 1944, a sitting, democratically elected Liberian president is about to hand over the reins of government to a democratically elected successor.
Twenty candidates are expected to compete for the presidency on 10th October 2017 including the current vice president, a former football star, a former war-lord, a fashion model, seasoned politicians and a host of businessmen.
The African Elections Project (AEP) established in 2008 to empower journalists to cover elections using Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) across the continent is poised to use new digital tools to cover the October 10 elections as it did in the last Liberia elections in 2011.
According to the Programmes Director of Penplusbytes, Jerry Sam, “Liberia will make history after a peaceful elections and subsequent transfer of power. It is a true test of the African democracy and African Elections Project is excited to be following and bringing audiences up-to-the-minute updates on happenings from Tuesday when the polls open.”
He added that AEP is committed to contribute to a better election by working with the media and civil society organizations through the provision of independent information and impartial coverage using ICTs.
In addition to its flagship online portal, AEP is covering this elections using other new media tools such as Facebook, blogs, SMS and twitter
The project recently covered the Kenyan Elections in August this year and has successfully covered elections in Botswana, Namibia, Ghana, Mauritania, Mozambique, Malawi, Togo, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Liberia, Uganda, Cameroon and Niger.
Through the AEP, over 100 journalists have been trained in the use of digital tools to cover elections in Africa. Over 17 million citizens have been reached across the continent through this project.
Penplusbytes urges all Liberians to conduct themselves at the polls for a free, fair and peaceful elections.