Quirk brings home UK award

Paul Vecchiatto
By Paul Vecchiatto, ITWeb Cape Town correspondent
Johannesburg, 05 Dec 2008

Online marking company Quirk eMarketing has won a British award for its South African Tourism Google Earth layer, which is only the third layer of its type to be integrated into Google Earth Core.

Quirk won the British Internet consulting company, E-Consultancy, Innovation in Search Engine Optimisation & Natural Search award, one of 11 categories in the Innovation Awards, which ran for the first time this year. Judges came from a number of major organisations such as Apple, the BBC, and Whatif!

Tim Shier, Quirk's marketing manager, says although there is no monetary value to the award, it does show that African companies can compete with their international counterparts in the global marketplace.

“An award such as this helps level the playing field for South African and African companies somewhat, as they can prove that they can deliver the quality of work that is at least equal to their international peers,” he says.

The work that Quirk has done for South African Tourism (SAT) at positions the country's tourism attractions on the Internet in an easy to use and informative format.

“At the last count, there were 23 000 articles written about the site, with more than 50% of them being positive and at least 15% giving high praise,” Shier says.

Linus Gregoriadis, head of research at E-consultancy, says: “Quirk eMarketing's work with the South African Tourism Web site was the stand-out winner of the SEO category of the Innovation awards. All the judges felt that the tie-up with Google Earth was a highly innovative way of driving engagement, which proved itself to be extremely effective in driving links and improving natural search visibility.”

Bronwen Auret, SA Tourism's online marketing specialist, says the project showcased SA as a world destination for travellers and that Google and Quirk have been instrumental in making this happen.

Rob Stokes, Quirk eMarketing's group CEO, says: “The concept had all the elements the judges were looking for - it was innovative, interesting and had a high user engagement - all of which are necessary elements in attracting high value organic links.

“With Google's 350 million users across the world, combined with the uniqueness of the medium, we could be confident that the SA Tourism Google Earth layer would deliver a level of organic search engine success unparalleled by any other media solution.”

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