Storm over 'fraudulent' Google behaviour in Kenya

2012-01-14 08:52

Kenya - Mocality, Kenya’s “largest” business directory, has accused Google of knowingly engaging in deceptive behaviour and telling “untruths”, reported on Saturday.

The Kenyan company is a three-year-old start-up owned by South African-based emerging market internet giant, Naspers — an US$18bn company that has stakes in Facebook, Tencent and — and many other emerging market internet properties dotted around the world.

According to the report, Mocality says that Google illegally used the Kenyan site’s database to boost its recently launchedGetting Kenyan Businesses Online(GKBO), an initiative aimed at Kenya SMEs who do not have an online presence.

Memeburn said, however, that Google has since issued a statement on Google+ saying the search engine had “unreservedly apologised to Mocality” and was still investigating the incident.

“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. We’ve already unreservedly apologised to Mocality, ” Google’s emerging markets product and engineering VP Nelson Mattos said in the statement.

“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,” he said.

It is, however, unclear at this stage whether the individuals involved were Google employees or contractors working on the company’s behalf.

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  • Sheda - 2012-01-14 09:17

    You have to have balls to trade in Africa. We do things the Chinese way. With even fewer ethics and no death sentence.

      david.lebethe - 2012-01-14 09:48

      You talk as if business is pure in Europe/America and that everything they are doing is overboard? Otherwise, we would not have banks and businesspeople becoming victims of crime and bankruptcy if there was honesty and respect for the rule of law. Financial institutions and individuals have fallen from grace due to industrial espionage in Europe (UK in particular)and elsewhere. In view of the above, you are not sincere about your comment. In fact, your comment has a dim view of doing business in Africa and should be roundly condemned.

      danie.malherbe1 - 2012-01-14 11:00

      I agree 100% with David's comment, thumb's up! However, each world region, with particular cultural characteristics, poses its own challenges. Of this I am sure - Africa's not for sissies. I also believe that when it gets to business, if you can make it in Africa, you can make it anywhere - especially in cotton covered western economies however fragile. Perfect transactions are idealistic, but we have to have some handle of common understanding between two trading partners. This explicated model, call it an agreement or contract, cannot capture the complexity of the deal in its entirety. Ethics is an issue exactly because of this necessary simplification. If one party believes the other's simplification is missing valuable information it will try to exploit it.

  • clivecorbz - 2012-01-14 09:33

    News24 stands against the info bill... Then another company owned by the same group sues Google for using publicly available information...

      Peter - 2012-01-14 12:08

      Clive yes the information is publicly available but that's not the issue here. "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."

  • ludlowdj - 2012-01-14 09:49

    corporate culture dictates that the ends justify the means and profit is the God of big business

  • robbie.crouch - 2012-01-14 09:57

    Cry me a river!

  • Comrade - 2012-01-14 10:24

    Let me guess .... Malema is a shareholder, and wants Google closed down !@!!

  • Adam - 2012-01-14 10:44

    Dont listen to News 24 ..they are all liars!

  • Alva - 2012-01-14 10:55


  • Kevin - 2012-01-14 11:13

    The commercial standard would have been for Google to purchase the info from Mocality. This can be fixed with money. What is more disturbing is does Google have the permission of the people whose information they are disseminating to do so?

      david.lebethe - 2012-01-14 12:08

      It boils down to my argument - there are no ethics in business (and its not a continental issue but an international one).

  • Anthony - 2012-01-14 11:28

    Only in Africa!

      Peter - 2012-01-14 12:14

      Internet fraud in Europe amounted to 1.2 billion dollars last year... Only in Africa?

      Garth - 2012-01-15 11:52

      @anthony - There is no longer space for comments displaying such unmentionable ignorance such as yours. All it and its suchlike do, is to invite idiotic comments from the other side of the spectrum, where ignorants take it upon themselves to invite all whites to leave.

  • ratalegp - 2012-01-15 09:26

    @ Sheda - i couldn't have said it better either - i take it that they now understand Africa. Lol

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