Google behaviour may lead to lawsuit

2012-01-17 07:10
Cape Town - Mocality is keeping its legal options open after catching internet giant Google trying to steal its customers and undermine its directory business in Kenya.

Mocality, a business directory based in SA that operates in Kenya, discovered that their customers were contacted by call centre staff trying to sell them competing products and claiming co-operation with Mocality.

"At the start of December we analysed our server logs to look for a common pattern for the businesses that had contacted us with these confused calls. We found a single IP/User-Agent combination that had accessed all these businesses," wrote Mocality general manager Stefan Magdalinski.

Google apologised to Mocality for the actions.

"We were mortified to learn that a team of people working on a Google project improperly used Mocality’s data and misrepresented our relationship with Mocality to encourage customers to create new websites," said Nelson Mattos, Google vice president for product and engineering, Europe and emerging markets.


The internet giant with the unofficial slogan of "Don't be evil" had apparently been caught trying to undermine Mocality's business in Kenya.

Magdalinski would not commit himself on taking legal action, but said that he had had discussions with Google about the matter.

"I have had a couple of calls from Joe Mucheru during which he apologised. I'm looking forward to the outcome of their investigations."

In the Mocality investigation that included a sting operation, an agent named Douglas identifying himself as a Google Kenya employee, called Mocality staff posing as customers.

There were several calls from similar agents allegedly using the Mocality database to deceive customers, Magdalinski said.

"On all calls, the same script is followed - A Google Kenya employee calls a Mocality business and tries to deceive them into signing up for their competing product, by claiming that we are working together."

Mocality also traced the IP address of requests on its database and found that they all lead to Google India in January 2012.

"Since October, Google's GKBO appears to have been systematically accessing Mocality's database and attempting to sell their competing product to our business owners.

"They have been telling untruths about their relationship with us, and about our business practices, in order to do so. As of January 11th, nearly 30% of our database has apparently been contacted.

"Furthermore, they now seem to have outsourced this operation from Kenya to India," Magdalinski added.

Google has said it will conduct a thorough investigation into the practice.

"We're still investigating exactly how this happened, and as soon as we have all the facts, we'll be taking the appropriate action with the people involved," Mattos said.

- Follow Duncan on Twitter
Read more on:    google  |  kenya  |  internet

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

linking and moving

2015-04-22 07:36 publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.