A story blowing up in the news today is Google‘s use of Mocality‘s crowdsourced business listings in Kenya. Mocality did a great job of tracking the issue and finding out what was going on and even includes a transcript of the fraudulent calls on its blog. Apparently, someone identifying themselves as Google Kenya is trying to sell web sites to businesses that Mocality has worked hard to get on the Internet via its business listings product, by saying that they are partnering with Mocality and even denigrating Mocality’s business listings product on the calls.
Google may be in the wrong or it may be a company they have outsourced to run Google Kenya. However, has anyone considered the fact that it might be the same people doing this who have $5 million they have to get out of the country from the Nigerian ex-President? Seriously, how many Internet scams come out of Africa? Of course, they’ve never been known to scam those on their own continent, but maybe the scam email market is drying up!
Note: The previous paragraph is completely meant to be taken tongue-in-cheek. Google needs to get to the bottom of this and come clean. If they are doing it themselves, they should stop immediately and if it is being done by a vendor, they should end the relationship. Either way, Google needs to give Mocality a public apology and financial compensation for the harm caused to their business by the confusing phone calls made to their customers.
Note: I have updated the post after being informed that Kenya is on the other side of the continent from Nigeria. I should have looked at a map before posting. My apologies.
- Google, what were you thinking? (Mocality blog)
- Google Plays Dirty in Kenya (whiteafrican.com)
- Google’s Kenyan ripoff (boingboing.net)
- Facing Another PR Disaster: Google Accused Of Fraudulently Undermining A Kenyan Startup (techcrunch.com)