You should read Mocalityâ€™s blog post about the situation in full, but below is a summary:
As we all know, there are no Kenyan Yellow pages, so the business directory from Mocality was crowd-sourced; paying over Ksh. 11m (over $100,000) to thousands of Kenyans to help create and validate its database of business & ventures in Kenya and also help them advertise themselves on the Web.
Not long after Google Kenya helped kick-start a program to get Kenyan businesses online, the start-up suddenly started fielding calls from Kenyan business owners with questions about a supposed partnership/joint-venture which Mocality had set up with the Internet search and advertising giant.
Google Kenya have allegedly been trawling through Mocalityâ€™s online database and cold calling the companies/businesses on the list claiming to be in partnership with Mocality and offering to sell them a website.
The problems are:
– They are not partnered with Mocality
– They have been recorded stating (mp3 link) several mistruths to place Mocality in a negative light
– They also claim that Mocality is and has been charging a fee to be included in their online directory which is a blatant falsehood that has not and according to Mocality will not happen in the future.
From Erik Hersman’s blog,
For some context, the Google team in Kenya has always been above board. They are genuinely good people, so seeing this happen is incredibly surprising. Iâ€™ve been trying to get in touch with them since yesterday when I first was made aware of this situation, but have had no response to any of my queries.
The problem here is that the sting put on by Mocality is so complete. They have all the forensics and even voice recordings to show what Google is doing. I want to believe that Google has an answer for this that makes sense.
Apparently someone forgot to implement the “Do no evil” business logic.
- Google Was Caught Scraping Data From A Kenyan Startup And Telling Lies About The Startup To Its Customers (GOOG) (businessinsider.com)
- Google Plays Dirty in Kenya (whiteafrican.com)
- Facing Another PR Disaster: Google Accused Of Fraudulently Undermining A Kenyan Startup (techcrunch.com)