It’s kind of interesting, and not frequent to have a mini-scandal going in the African technology scene and the latest one involves Mocality, a Kenyan mobile business directory startup and contractors/employees (???) of Google Africa that used Mocality’s client call list and misrepresented themselves as working with Mocality in order to in fact, steal customers away from them. According to Mashable:
Nelson Mattos, Google’s vice president for product and engineering for Europe and emerging markets, stated on his Google+ account: “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.” […] Mocality employees decided to do some investigative work, setting up dummy numbers, and found out that employees from Google’s GKBO were calling prospective customers and current Mocality customers, identifying themselves as GKBO employees partnered up with Mocality.
Shady salespeople using shadier tactics to meet to sales quota, but the interesting twist to this story came from give-it-to-you-raw Kenyan technology journalist Robert Alai who posted an article titled “Mocality Should not Play Victim, they Also Scrape Data and Fake Listings” that you should definitely read where he accuses Mocality of being “guilty by association” of fraud i.e scraping other sites listing and posting fake data. Alai also argues that the publicity will most certainly save Mocality from certain bankruptcy. He accuses Mocality and other local players of various ethical breaches that in the end reinforce to end users the idea that the internet is not trustworthy and is counter productive to the growth of their business models. The vitriol in the comments indicated to me that he touched a nerve somehow so I highly encourage you to give it a read and read the comments as well.