All Posts By jacob

Top .KE Domain Registrars 2024

Posted on 2 min read

If you have a website in Kenya, you probably use a .ke domain name such as .co.ke, .or.ke, .sc.ke, and others. These are the most popular domain name extensions used by Kenyans, although .com and .org are two other popular domain extensions.

There are tens of both local and international companies that offer dot KE domain registration services. Have you ever wondered which are the top ones? Here is a list of the top 50 with the number of domains they have registered

Top 40 .ke Domain Registrars

1Truehost Cloud Limited24507
2EAC directory17121
3Kenya Website Experts14256
4Hostpinnacle Kenya Limited8195
5Global Internet Fortunes Limited7849
6Safaricom Limited7377
7Webhost Kenya Ltd4254
8deepAfrica Co Ltd4050
9Afriregister Limited2693
10Lexregistration Limited1253
11ICT Authority734
12SawaSawa.com Limited677
13Webcom Kenya Limited583
14Dimension Data Solutions 526
15Kenyaweb Solutions(E.A) 485
16Hostnali Webhost Limited456
17Oracom Web Solutions 443
19Fun Media Limited348
20Gamma Solutions319
21Peak and Dale Solutions316
23Raysco Web and Net Solutions255
24Web Hosting Experts Ltd233
28Bitsimba Telecommunications200
30IT Experts Solutions Ltd180
31Big Host Africa176
32Dotnet Africa Ltd175
33Ignite Africa Limited174
34Heartbit Computer Solution172
35Crystal Technologies Ltd166
38Shine Web Technologies Lt153
41Hostraha Limited134
42MyISP Limited132
43Legibra Solutions Limited123
44Creative Edge Limited121
45Softlink Options Ltd118
46Digital Webframe Solutions113
47CIT Techno Ltd105
49Messaging Labs Africa Solutions101
50Intrepid Data Systems91

In terms of new registrations, here are the number of domains registered by each registrar in January 2024.

Top Domain Registrars in January 2024

1Truehost Cloud Limited1166
2Kenya Website Experts448
3EAC directory439
4HostPinnacle Kenya Limited400
5Safaricom Limited244
6Global Internet Fortunes 144
7Webhost Kenya Ltd99
8deepAfrica Co Ltd98
9Afriregister Limited41
10Lexregistration Limited21
11Fun Media Limited20
12Hostnali Webhost Limited18
13Kenyaweb Solutions(E.A) Lt17
14Hostraha Limited16
16Webcom Kenya Limited11
17Gamma Solutions10
18Raysco Web and Net Solutions9
19Crystal Technologies Ltd9
20Oracom Web Solutions LT8
21Digital Webframe Solutions8
22Pwani Web Hosting Solutions8
24IT Experts Solutions Ltd7
25SawaSawa.com Limited6
26Softlink Options Ltd6
28Web Hosting Experts Ltd5
29Legibra Solutions Limited5
34Bitsimba Telecommunications4
35Shine Web Technologies 4
36Movetech Solutions Ltd4
37Mbitrix technologies LTD4
38Alpha Savvy Logistics LTD4
40ICT Authority3
41Peak and Dale Solutions3
43Heartbit Computer Solution3
44Blue Shine Trading Ltd3
45Techmate Solutions3
46Infrotronics Limited3


Planning for your Website

Posted on 4 min read

You will likely need a website in the course of your life. If you are reading this, that time could be now.

Most people who are not familiar with websites usually start without a clear goal or look at the website as the end goal itself. This should not be the case because a website should be a tool to help you achieve a specific goal. You therefore need to plan diligently and ensure that you have a formula for success and the parameters that will define that success.

Here are the specific things to consider.

Start with an Objective

A website for the sake of a website is likely a waste of resources. One needs to clearly define the end goal so that everything will be designed to fit that end goal

The objective could be raising awareness about your brand, creating publicity about your products, selling online, sharing useful information, creating a community, or even protecting your brand online.

Once you have that information you are better placed to decide what will work for you, and it will inform the type of content that you are going to create.

Prepare your content 

One of the most important steps is preparing content that can go into your website. Remember that you are the person who is best placed to provide the relevant content that you need, even before you seek external help.

What kind of content do you need to prepare?

First, think about all the information about your business or the entity that needs a website and put it into writing. Any bit of information that you think somebody should know ought to be written down.  From there, go ahead and search online to see what similar businesses and competitors have put online.

The second part involves the more technical work such as identifying keywords that you want your website to rank on and organizing your content in a way that is appealing to both people and search engines. If you are not familiar with this, get an expert to help you with this. Most web designers can also help you with this.

It is important to have this content ready before you engage someone to develop your website. This is because you are the best placed to know what you need, and when you engage a third party it will be about enhancing what you already have and covering the gaps.

Get a Domain Name and Hosting Service

You definitely will need a domain name and web hosting service. This can also serve as your email service.

There are many web hosting and email service providers you can choose from, and I will leave this for you to decide. Of course, Truehost Cloud is the go-to place.

Get a good web designer

From there you need to have a web designer or a developer who will make your website become a reality.

You need someone who will help you appealingly present your content and make it presentable on the web. It is a similar thing to painting a house and working on the landscape to make a piece of real estate look attractive.

This is where you will determine what content appears on the specific location of the website, as well as get good graphics to accompany your content. A Web developer should use their expertise to present the content the way it is designed, and this is quite a hard task that takes time.

Publicize your Website

Once the website is ready, it is necessary to publicize the content and put the word out there.  What is the purpose of having a website that no one knows about?

There are several ways to achieve this.

Start with listing the website in directories, and adding it to your social media pages. Let your clients know about it and put it in all your publications and branding materials.

You could also consider promoting it using online ads. This would help put the word out there but in most cases, it may not be necessary. With time, you will see your site start to show on search engines.

Keep it alive with content

A good website is alive and needs regular content and working on to keep it relevant. How can one achieve this?

For a website, you need to keep adding content that your users might need. This is because no one will keep coming back to see the old content. The best way to do that is to have regular posts, and you can consider having a blog section where you will be sharing this content.

Try to keep up with trends and any new information that could be useful for your website. If you cannot do this yourself, you can consider getting someone to do this for you.


Why do Highly Funded Startups Fail?

Posted on 4 min read

After almost ten years in operation, one of the most funded startups in Kenya – Sendy – recently closed shop. This comes after Sendy ran out of funds. Sounds weird? Yes, the company that was valued at over KShs 10 billion late last year ran out of money to pay salaries, rent, watchman… etc.

This seems to surprise many people who assume that a highly funded startup ought not to fail. Sendy had so far received almost KShs 4 billion from investors and as of mid-2023, it had spent all that money and was not making enough profits to survive without the need for external funding. How and why did this happen? How can a business burn through KShs 4 billion and still not make money?

Sendy is not the first highly funded startup in Kenya (and in the world) to fail. Kune Foods, Notify Logistics, WeFarm, and BRCK are some of the many that have recently met their demise in the rough waters of the Kenyan economy. To understand why all these startups fail, there is one misconception that people need to get rid of; that the death of a business is something strange or unexpected.

Death is Written

One thing is certain in business: death. It can come from natural causes (like Covid) or human causes (like mismanagement), but it will come sooner or later. It’s just a question of when. Death is more certain than taxes because some clever business people can avoid paying taxes. But death. Death is inevitable, and the average business today only lasts 17 years. In 1958, it was 61 years.

If you don’t believe me, try to name three famous companies that have reached their 200th anniversary.

This is especially true for startups, which tend to die faster than other businesses. Worse if they are tech startups. Tech startups have a short and flashy life, like Simon Makonde. They sprout up like mushrooms and in no time, they are worth more than many solid companies (Uber has a bigger market cap than Honda). And then, before the management can take their seats, tech companies disappear and leave no trail. Thus, it should not shock anybody that a tech startup closed shop.

 Big Money, Short Life

Nevertheless, we would at least expect that highly funded startups would be better at escaping death. After all, money can cure a lot of things. Why then does a startup that has received KShs 4 billion end up not taking off? Are you saying that all that funding could not translate to a profit?

To answer this question, we need to understand what funding and valuation mean.

What determines the worth of a startup? It depends on market size and potential, and that is valid if the startup will be able to execute its vision. But even the potential of a startup is very subjective. At the end of the day, if a startup can tell its story very well and convince potential investors, money will rain. Whether that translates to profit is a different story altogether.

Funding is essentially a vote of confidence in the future of a startup, not the current state. Investors make a (calculated) bet and hope that their investment will pay off. When you hear that a startup is valued at x amount of money, it does not tell you how profitable the business is. The simplest deduction you can make is that some people believe that the future of the startup is big. Remember that those investors can (and often) get it wrong. In other cases, investment in startups works like a pyramid scheme where initial investors make their money and exit, and the last person will be left with a dead body in their hands. Only time can validate a bet made by investors.

The investors also know that they are making a gamble. Usually, the strategy is to identify several high-value startups and invest in them. Most will fail, but a few will succeed and earn you more than enough to cover your losses from the failed ones.

Back to Sendy

Sendy had a big dream. Imagine a Kenya where every delivery was done by Sendy. Online shopping, parcel delivery, retail goods, construction materials… that is a big market and if Sendy could hack it, they could have become an elephant (or a unicorn). Imagine the possibility of enabling a trader from Kitui to sell curio to buyers in Kumasi, both by moving the goods and facilitating payment. What a dream!

But in the real world, all dreams are not valid. To achieve that Sendy needed a miracle. They tried, they needed more time to keep trying and make it work, but they ran out of money before the dream could be realized. They were a big plane trying to take off from a short runway, and no one was willing to give them money to extend the length of the runway they had. The only way out was to abort the take-off.

Armchair experts are full of ideas on what Sendy could have done differently, but remember, it is never that obvious.


Will AI Replace Your Job?

Posted on 3 min read

Once Upon a Time…

Before writing was invented, the world was very different from what it is today. Everything that needed to be known had to be committed to memory. Humanity needed to remember stuff or else crucial knowledge would be lost. Perhaps, that is how poetry and music were born because people needed a flowery language that was easy to remember. Alliteration, rhyme, repetition – all these were helpful tools in the age when memory was the main repository of knowledge.

Having a good memory was considered a great skill, and people learned to commit a lot of information to memory. There were mnemonic tricks that could help one remember almost anything, and these today are used by a group of nerds who participate in the World Memory Championships. Just a preview of what it entails, the 2020 winner, Emma Alam, memorized 410 random words in 15 minutes (and in the correct order).

Then came writing, and the world changed a little. However, it was not until Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press that books became a household thing and no one needed to remember anything. Within a short time, the need to remember so much information became useless. The age of books had come.

Learning from History

Those who don’t study history are doomed to repeat it. (Yet those who do study history are doomed to stand by helplessly while everyone else repeats it.)

A long time ago there was a profession called copy typist. It still exists today, but it has seen better days, and possibly you do not know any career copy typist. When word processors came, everybody got the freedom to work on their own documents and their career came to a sudden end.

Same with Human Computers. If you have watched the movie or read the book Hidden Figures, you know there was a profession called computers, who were disrupted by the actual electronic computers that we know. These were people who performed mathematical calculations and would undertake complex and tedious calculations, and we see them in the movie Hidden Figures where Katherine Johnson’s work is crucial in the first American orbital spaceflight.

Today we do not have human computers as a day-to-day profession, and no one seems to care. Such a beautiful profession is no more, and the world has moved on.

I could go on and on.

The End of ………. (Insert Career)

Professions come to an end.

I do not know the day or the hour. But as sure as the sun rises, some careers will go the way of calculators, courtesy of Artificial Intelligence. It is a matter of when not if.

Which jobs will go away? I can speculatively name a few, but that is not important, neither is it the point.

As someone once said, “Technology will not replace people, but people who use technology will replace people who don’t.” This is the same case with ChatGPT and other forms of Artificial Intelligence. If ChatGPT will replace some lawyers, it will replace them with lawyers who use ChatGPT. That is why as a lawyer you need to keep up with the technology (AI) that can make you more efficient.

What should I do if my job is threatened by AI? While it still lasts, the best advice I have is this.

We ride

Keep riding on the available opportunities. As you do that, learn to leverage the opportunity that AI provides. Be adaptable, and use AI to your advantage.

And while you are still here, a book I am currently reading, 2084: Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Humanity, could be a good starting point to understand what the future of AI looks like.


‘DM for Prices’

Posted on 3 min read

One of the most frustrating things that people come across online is someone selling goods or services online and working hard to market them but does not openly display the prices of their goods or service. Instead, one is supposed to write them a message to enquire about the prices. Usually, there is a label that one should DM for prices.

Critics argue that this is tantamount to having a supermarket with goods very well labeled but with no prices. One picks something, then goes to the cashier to confirm the price.

That would be ridiculous.

But then, why do so many online merchants (especially on social media) run this model of business? Why are they not willing to openly display their prices so that people can make a decision quickly? Wouldn’t it help if the prices were open so that one won’t waste their time inquiring about goods and services which they cannot afford?

Turns out that this is not anything awkward, and it is widely practiced.

The Price is Never Fixed

At the local market where I shop once every week. The prices are not cast in stone. There is room to haggle over prices. The prices could change based on whether you are a ‘regular’ or a ‘visitor.’ The price changes depending on the time of the day. It also changes depending on the car you drive and the shoe you are wearing. Even the weather is a factor.

This is the exact opposite of what one would expect in shopping malls or supermarkets. Prices are fixed, and very transparent.

Many markets operate this model where the prices are negotiable. If you want to buy a shoe, the seller will encourage you to try it out and see if it fits. They will delay announcing the price in the hope that once you like the shoe, and it fits, you are more likely to buy it. Once they mention their price, you go ahead and bargain until both of you agree on a price that is fair to both of you.

The model is similar to what happens even with huge purchases like cars. There is an asking price, but the actual price that the buyer pays largely depends on their negotiation skill and many other factors. Even in public transport in Kenya, one needs to ‘discuss’ the fare with the bus conductor before boarding the vehicle, because it varies depending on many factors.

Risk of Turning Away the Buyer

In such a situation where the price is not fixed, the seller needs to be careful not to quote too low when a buyer is willing to pay a higher price or quote too high until the potential buyer is disinterested in the negotiation.

To guard against this, the seller wants the buyer to test drive the car first or even fit the shirt. Once they like it, negotiation becomes easier since the buyer has already invested some time and emotion into the transaction. They are more likely to buy the product.


I find the concept interesting, and it can earn you some great offers. It is not too different from the surge pricing adopted by Uber, or trading in the stock market.

Business on Social Media

When people move their business online, they carry the same principles they used in offline businesses.

Some merchants want you to get in touch with them so that they can let you know about the prices. They know that once you have started a conversation, you are more likely to buy. You are also likely to come back for a second time, and since they have your contact and know your interests, they can share with you more offers. This is the reason why they do not state their prices.

Unfortunately, social media is not a uniform audience, and hiding the prices ends up irritating some people. There are buyers who want to make a decision quickly based on the price, and there are those who want to negotiate a favorable price. It is not possible to please the two groups at the same time.

One, therefore, needs to weigh the risks against the benefits of the ‘DM for prices’ business model before adopting one.

But at least, if you want me to send you a message to enquire about the goods that you have posted, I hope that the price is negotiable, otherwise it does not make sense for me as the buyer.


The Challenge of Turning an Idea into an Income

Posted on 5 min read

Tech product engineers consider themselves to be the geniuses of the 21st century. They have disrupted the world with both hardware and cutting-edge software, and are still working on some cool stuff that you probably have not heard about. Programmers claim that they rule the world and that the solution to every problem facing the world is just a few lines of code away. This fuels the drive to create the next tech startup with the goal of becoming a unicorn.

However, often these dreams never come to be, in some cases, leaving a very demoralized potential founder.

It always starts with a person with an idea; the next big thing. But an idea on paper does not translate into a successful venture, or as they say in Kenya, vitu kwa ground ni different (on the ground things are different). Many software developers who started a venture with a product slowly abandon their pet projects and become resellers of existing products, or go into employment. It does not take long for someone to realize that it is easier to resell a product than to build your own from scratch. Building a product is hard and painful. The worst part is that even a good engineer needs expertise in the specific niche they want to disrupt. If you are building a solution for lenders, you need to fully understand how their business runs.

What are the challenges that keep people from commercializing and making money from their products?

Your Product is not Good Enough

Not everyone can create a product, even if they are good engineers. It is as simple as reading and writing. While many people can become very knowledgeable in a language, and master all the words possible, not everyone can write a thriller story or novel. And once you have written one, marketing is the other challenge that you face. Many great books have failed to fly off the shelf because marketing was not properly done. In a different scenario, poorly written books that have little or nothing to tell can end up becoming bestsellers. Many people have invested in creating products that simply don’t work. To be fair, many products fail even great ones. However, it takes determination, skill, great talent, and sometimes chance to get a good product.

If you have a product that you want to launch, you may consider getting experienced people who can tell you whether what you are doing is nonsense or the next big idea. Mentorship is important, and people with expertise are able to identify what can work, what may work, and what will definitely never work.

Geographical Barriers

In 2012, when I was required to do a final year project, I was looking for the simplest solution that could give me an easy time and a good grade. I came up with a noise meter that could report via SMS, as well as issue alerts on excess noise depending on the set levels. After school, I tried to find a practical application for it but there was simply no market, and thus no motivation to commercialize the project. Three years later, a company was founded in the US to offer the same product. Airbnb hosts love the idea.

The problem was that the geographical location I was in did not have a market for the product. Somewhere in a different country, it would have made sense. When Google launched a Personal Safety app that detects car crashes and calls 911, I saw some people in West Africa who already had done that years earlier, but they never made news, and possibly sales.

Marketing Skills

When a friend actively sold software, he used to marvel at the great opportunity that existed in the market. He had taken time to study the market and the competition, going into detail to understand what it would take to sell. There were many competitors with inferior products to theirs, and he knew that it would be easy. It did not take long for him to realize that some of their competitors were outdoing them in sales, despite the fact that he had a superior product. Today, he still keeps up with the industry and he knows better; in some cases, the sale comes first, and the product comes second.

Marketing is key, and even if you had the cure for cancer but you cannot convince the world to use it, you are as good as without a product. Unfortunately, many people who come up with products have poor marketing skills. A partner with such skills can help.

Lack of Funds

It requires money to make money. You need to have a business idea that can bootstrap, or else you have to turn to angel investors and venture capitalists. Bootstrapping requires a product that will sell easily with minimal input so as to generate the resources that will fund further development. This is hard, and most people would require an external investment in order to push their products out there. Unfortunately, VCs and angel investors are not that easy to come by, and this is where one needs networks that can help build credibility. Most innovators find themselves limited when they start looking for funds. 

It is not just the business funds that may hinder the growth of a product. One other factor to do with money is the background of the would-be entrepreneur. People who have a social safety net such as wealthy parents are able to venture into entrepreneurship more easily because there is always a fallback plan. This helps them to build a form of risk-averseness that encourages entrepreneurship, knowing that they do not risk starving to death.


The world is full of so many people who have great products but cannot make money out of them. It could be due to a lack of entrepreneurial skills, a lack of money to monetize their innovation or simply environmental factors such as geographical location. The best we can do for them is to provide an environment where they can try out their ideas, such as incubation hubs, and also help them to get the right partners who can help jumpstart their ventures.


Safety in the Ceiling

The higher you go, the safer you are.

One survival hack that pilots know is that altitude is your friend. When you are flying a plane, the higher you are, the safer you are. Why?

One may assume that flying very near the ground is the safer option. In case of an engine failure, you will not come tumbling down from 11 km up in the sky. If you are flying 100m from the ground, you may have an opportunity to get to the ground with a smaller thud, and possibly survive. The reasoning makes sense, but it is wrong.

Pilots know that the higher you fly, the more you have time to react to unexpected situations. This is because, with speed and height, the plane can glide for long distances, giving you an opportunity to find a solution. For example, a 737 flying at 40,000 feet can glide for more than 150 km after losing both engines. While this is just slightly over 10 minutes of ‘airtime,’ there is a lot you can do during that time.

If your engine goes off, you have some 10 minutes to try to restart them before you crash. You have some time to think about where to land. There might be an airstrip, a good highway, or a lake, within your lifeline of 150 km. This is the reason why the higher you are, the safer it is for you as a pilot, and of course, as a passenger in the plane.

It is for the same reason that planes at take-off climb so steeply – pilots buying altitude.

High altitude also means lower resistance, hence lower fuel consumption. A plane at a cruising altitude consumes less fuel.

Fly High

What life lessons can we learn from this?

It is good to have options and a margin to cushion us in case of the unexpected. It is good to have savings that can take us a long time. It is good to have room for the unexpected. It is good to be ahead of the schedule, rather than barely running to beat deadlines. It is good to have a good plan  

It is also good to have a steep take off which gives you room for safety quickly. This could be working extra harder when starting a business, saving more when you are young… etc. Work to get to the cruising altitude so that you can relax a little bit.

Avoid living on the edge. Be safe.

Take Risks

But it is not every time that high altitude is desirable. In combat, fighter jets may operate at low altitudes in order to avoid detection by surveillance systems and anti-aircraft establishments. This is a special application that is used as a survival tactic. You do not want to be shot down by an enemy.

This also happens in life. At times, we must make the risky decision of flying low. It could be because we are facing an enemy such as a lack of opportunities, time constraints, lack of a fallback plan, a do-or-die situation, or even adventure. While this is acceptable, it should not be the norm. I do not think that we are supposed to be in combat all the time. Only if it is unavoidable.


The Challenge of Recruiting from a Market with a High Unemployment Rate

Posted on 3 min read

Ever wondered what recruitment looks like from the side of the employer, especially for small businesses?

Most people apply for jobs while assuming that the recruiting person will read through their applications in detail, and with the best intention in mind. They will fill in the blank spaces and will give the benefit of doubt where details are not clear.

Unfortunately, this is not usually the case.

Screening Challenge

I once did some recruitment and that is when I realized how hard it is to carry out recruitment in Kenya. With so many jobless or underemployed people in Kenya, a simple advert for an internship that is not very widely shared will result in hundreds of applications. There are reported cases of a hotel advertising for 15 positions and thousands turning up for the interview. This is where it becomes a nightmare.

How do you go through 100 CVs and application letters to get 3 candidates to interview and eventually hire one? If you are short on resources, as most SMEs are, the first step you do is to start eliminating the candidates. Remember that most small businesses do not have a dedicated recruitment person.

You ignore the CVs that you do not understand. You ignore those that lack essential information. You look for evidence that someone has relevant knowledge through what they mention in the CV.

For a developer, you want someone who says that they have created something, not the ones who say they know XYZ languages.

You are still not sure if the person you are hiring is a serial killer who has not yet been arrested. You cannot contact referees for entry-level jobs until the person has passed the interviews. In any case, referees are likely to tell you good things about the person, even when they know that the person has never woken up before 9 am.

This is why instead of advertising for jobs, small companies will just look for referrals. This is a common practice that means that those who do not have the networks may not get the jobs, even when they have all the skills. Those without networks and connections end up losing the game.

Job Scams

There are also many employment scams that seek to con people. People are asked to pay for job applications in nonexistent positions or to pay somebody who will help them secure a job position. Unknown to them, the job position does not even exist – just scammers whose end goal is to extract money from jobless people.

Others advertise jobs with the end goal of harvesting personal data. Want to get the phone and email contact of thousands of accountants? Just advertise for an entry-level/ junior accountant position with a very high salary. Data will fill your inbox in a short time. Nobody will ever be shortlisted for the position because the position did not exist in the first place.

Such factors make some people lose confidence in job recruitment systems and may not even apply.

Recruitment Agencies

One of the people that are filling the recruitment gap is the recruitment agencies. These agencies seek to connect job seekers with employers, and charge fees for the same.

To solve the problem of costs, some of these agencies have models where the applicant pays only if they get a job placement (from their initial salary), or the employer pays for the service. This model is becoming popular and leads to a more equal society, as opposed to one where the most connected people get all the opportunities.

In all these challenges and solutions, the one elephant in the room that must be addressed is the lack of employment opportunities in Kenya.


The Power of access to Information

Posted on 2 min read

One of the most astounding findings I recently came across is the study of the effects of mobile phones on the Kerala fishing market in India. The research by Robert Jensen is best summarized by the figure below which shows how mobile phones led to the stabilization of fish prices in different markets.

From the figure, it is seen that the fish prices are very volatile in the three regions, but stabilize almost as if by magic when mobile phones are introduced in the region. It seems that access to information leads to the damping of the price curve and the consistency that follows is just incredible.

Responding to Demand and Supply

Jensen offers various explanations for the impact of communication on the market. It is argued that fishermen had access to price information and thus were in a better position to know where to sell. This helps them to respond to the demand and thus normalize supply in different markets.

The same could be said about buyers who had information on where the prices are low and would flock there, leading to increased demand, hence prices. Overall, the availability of information leads to a natural form of price control as market forces are able to respond more accurately.

This is one study that shows how access to information continues to impact the world in ways that many people would not have imagined. Buyers are able to get the best value for their money, while fishermen can expect more consistent prices. The social impact of this may not be easy to quantify but I can imagine the benefit of being able to plan effectively and budget.

Information age

While the information age may have peaked, there are still opportunities that are yet to be unlocked especially in marginalized societies and communities. There are still places where people have not enjoyed the full benefits of access to information, due to skill levels or lack of resources.

It is hard to imagine what will be the real impact when this happens. Imagine a scenario where all children have equal access to education, where all people have equal access to skills necessary to thrive and produce optimally, and where farmers have access to the best available agronomic information. We could solve a number of problems that we are facing in Africa today.

Let’s make it happen.


Big Tech Still Wanting on Transparency

Posted on 3 min read

One of the biggest online communities we have ever built consists of 1100 subscribers who regularly read one of our websites. That is quite a big community of people from a small geographical location who are willing to keep visiting your websites and reading our content.

How does it work? Easy. It is through WhatsApp.

We created a WhatsApp broadcast list that for people who want to subscribe, and this works well because it is easy to message the 1100 people who have saved your contact. You do that through a few broadcast messages.

WhatsApp Ban

After using the service for about 6 months, I woke up one day to find that WhatsApp had blocked the number and I could no longer send messages. This was a big blow. I wrote to WhatsApp asking why the number had been banned. The response was that we violated the WhatsApp terms and Conditions.

Attempts to get them to explain the terms that we had violated were not successful. They will not give the specific details and the case is closed.

PayPal Account Suspended

I had a similar experience with PayPal seven years ago. One fine morning they asked me to provide more details about a transaction that I made on date X, else they would suspend my account. I asked them to clarify the date because on the specific date, I did not have any transactions. I shortly received an email saying that my account had been suspended and the decision was final.

When I asked them for more information, the automated response was that they would no longer respond to my emails on that matter. The account was closed.

Faceless Tech Giants

This seems to be a common trend with most of these big tech platforms where they are faceless when they deal with individuals, but really love their users when talking about them as a whole. They do not have time or resources for individuals, but they want you as the group because data is more useful in bulk.

This has also happened to many people on Twitter who have been banned and not given sufficient reasons as to why their accounts were suspended. I bet the reason why these tech giants would not want to give specific details is that they would want to avoid close scrutiny and possible legal processes that may follow.

But is it okay to just kick people out of a platform without giving a good reason for the same? Is it right especially when you consider that some of these people are doing their best to stick to the Terms and Conditions that the same firms make them as long as possible and as complicated as they can ever be?

Some people argue that tech firms can do what they want because in many cases they are giving a free platform. This is misguided because the platform is not free; I am giving them my data in exchange for the service.

Following Terms and Conditions not Good Enough

For the WhatsApp account that was banned, we had gone to great lengths to ensure that we were in good books with WhatsApp. This included not sending automated messages, ensuring subscribers request for inclusion in the list of subscribers by having them message us first via WhatsApp, and making it easy for them to unsubscribe. All these never worked.

What did we do wrong? We do not know. We may never know because Facebook (WhatsApp) will not go into details.

Transparency is not something they may be willing to fully embrace, and the (little) progress they have made in the past few years in being more transparent has come not because they wanted to, but because they have been pressured to be more transparent.

We have a long way to go.