Are Kenyan Businesses Using .KE Domain Names?

Posted on 3 min read

According to the Communications Authority of Kenya, Kenya has some of the highest internet and mobile phones penetration rates in Africa. This has been touted as one of the factors that have led to growth of the digital economy in Kenya, and widespread growth of tech startups all over the country. The statistics are something to celebrate about as this places Kenya on a favourable spot as vibrant economy. However, there is one key indicator that tells a different story. This is the adoption of Kenya’s country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD) .ke, which is the official domain name used in Kenya.

Domain Names

Domain names refer to names such as .com, .org, .net, .uk, and .de. These are domain names that denote an internet address, or even used in email addresses. The two letter domain names such as .uk, .rw and .ss are reserved for countries, with the mentioned one being for the United Kingdom, Rwanda and South Sudan respectively. These domains are useful since they help identify businesses in the countries where they operate. Using one also helps websites to rank highly in search engine (Google) results, increasing the chances of one finding clients or getting businesses online.

.KE is the domain name for Kenya, which is the online identity that shows some affiliation to Kenya. .KE domain names are offered by KeNIC through various domain registrars, and there are various variations of the same as shown below:

Nigeria and South Africa

In a recent stakeholders forum held in August 2019, KeNIC CEO Mr Joel Karubiu said that their target is to have one million .ke domain names by the year 2030. This number looks astounding, but it is a very small number when you consider that with almost a similar population to Kenya, South Africa already has 1.2 million registered .za domains (the Country code for South Africa). Nigeria follows with about 142,000 .ng domains that were registered by July 2019. As of today, Kenya has about 92,000 registered .ke domain names.

Why are there less than 100,000 .ke domain names yet we see more and more people doing business online? There are several factors that can explain that, but it is evident that Kenya is punching below its weight when it comes to the number of .ke domain names registered. One of the reason for this is that a number of people still prefer to use other domain names such as .com and .org, since it is claimed that they have an international appeal. Kenyan domain names therefore find themselves unfavorably competing with international domain names, resulting in lower adoption.


On the other hand, the cost of .ke domain names has been said to be prohibitive, especially when it comes to small businesses. At KES 1200 per year (on average), the cost of maintaining a .ke name ends up being higher than a .com domain (average 1000 per year), thus lacking a competitive advantage when it comes to price. This makes the .ke brand lose to other top domain names, and this is a trend that can be reversed by addressing the price.

The other thing that affects the uptake of .ke domain names is the fact that many people and businesses still do not have websites. For many small and micro enterprises, there lacks a value proposition for having websites or branded emails. This could be due to a feeling that a website may not benefit their business, lack of knowledge on how to effectively use a website, or the prohibitive costs associated with initial set up of a website. The fact that many also acquire domain names but do not renew them possible implies that they never find value in the websites they create. This shows that there is a need for creating awareness on how the digital economy works, and offering affordable services that will attract even the smallest of businesses to get online.


For Kenya to thrive as a regional ICT hub, we need to see more and more stakeholders come together to ensure that the barriers to uptake of .ke domains are dealt with. This will involve KeNIC pricing the domain names favorably and creating awareness on the need for the same. Other stakeholder should also ensure that the costs associated with having websites are broken, by offering websites at affordable prices.


The Wireless Mouse

Posted on 1 min read

Just a few years ago, owning a wireless mouse was the equivalent of using Twitter for iPhone. It was a must have – for those who could afford.

My friend was thrilled to have his first wireless mouse for his computer. A wireless mouse felt like the end of a prison sentence, where one can walk and work freely without restrictions. He could now mouse freely without feeling tethered to the laptop.

However, the cost of replacing the mouse batteries started to have an impact on his pocket. He turned to engineering for help.

After a careful study of the mouse, he discovered that the mouse which was powered by two AA size batteries could accept a power input of 3-6 Volts.

AA size battery

He devised a clever plot where he could get 5V power from one of the extra USB ports of his computer. Being an electronics guru, he did the wiring and soldiering and within a short time, his problem of always replacing batteries on his wireless mouse was solved. This is the product he ended up with.

He is planning to patent the invention


Content on Borrowed Platforms

Posted on 3 min read

The Apocalypse

One day you wake up to find that Facebook has closed shop, and so did Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Linkedin, Snapchat, TikTok, Spotify, and all of their kind. Suddenly, the online community you built is no more. Your careers as an influencer is gone. Your years of work on YouTube is no more. The photos you meticulously preserved on Instagram are gone. The companies attribute their collapse to a Cyber-Physical attack that destroyed all their data, fried all their servers and decimated all their possible backups.

While the United nations Security Council will be having an emergency meeting to discuss this possible trigger of the third World War, billions of people will be mourning the desolation of the planet. We have people who have lived all their lives with internet, and those who have gotten used to social media so much that they forgot that photos could actually be printed. Content creators will have lost years of work. It will be the beginning of the end.


Today, our lives have become so much dependent on the Cloud to the extent that we are not conscious of it. We have gotten used to using systems and platforms that we do not care about because they always work, and are always available. Our emails simply work. We upload music and videos somewhere and they can be accessed anytime and from anywhere. We create websites on the Cloud and make our content available to everyone, without caring where that content is served from. We have redefined technology to mean something that simply works!

But how comes we have become so dependent on free platforms? Why are we so dependent on these platforms yet if you summarize their terms and conditions, it comes down to ‘we are not responsible for anything.’

Free Platforms

You know well that there is no free lunch, yet, Gmail, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Google search, WhatsApp and many other platforms are offered for free. Who then pays the bill?

The answer is that the content that we feed into these platforms is the actual products that the creators of the platform are looking for. While we share cute cat videos, the platforms are learning more about our habits, likes, dislikes and interests, then using that information to make money. Their biggest product is the content that we provide.

Which brings us to the question, is this the best way to keep our valuable content? We used to have great family albums that were religiously preserved for future reference. Today we just post photos on social media and that is enough. What assurance do we have that the social media platforms we use will exist in the next 10-20 years? Where will our content go?

New Normal

There is no easy answer to this. Maybe this is the new normal, and any attempt to imagine they can fail sounds like a doomsday prophecy. Maybe we just have to live with the risks just as like we faced a Chicken Pox Armageddon a few years ago. However, having a way to store and archive your content can give you some little peace of mind.


How Online Ads Work

Posted on 3 min read

A story is told of a lady who reported to the police a pair of shoe that was stalking her. The shoe kept following her to every website that she accessed. It would appear on the news website, in social media, blogs and every YouTube video that she watched. The shoe would show up in bright colors and blinking to draw her attention. To make it worse, the shoe was just her size and taste. It was after her by all means, and would still appear even if she switched browsers or computers. Her mind was haunted.

Welcome to the world of online advertisement. Unlike a few moons ago when advertisement was done on TV and targeted mass audience, today’s adverts have changed. They are highly targeted to reach a specific audience or person, and they appear to know the potential buyer. How does this work?

How they do it

As they say, in God we trust; everyone else bring data. Data is the main currency that is being used to deliver the online ads. Websites and companies work hard to know who you are and what you need. That is why we have services such as Google and Facebook offered for free, in exchange for the information about you that you give. This is the information that is later used against you, or for you.

Google knows who you are. You use their products such as Google Chrome browser, Google search, Gmail, YouTube and even the mother of all, Android. This means they can see online wherever you are. They know where you work, where you live, they see the places you visit and can tell the entertainment joint you spend every Saturday afternoon. This information is very useful to advertisers.

If an advertiser wants to reach to men aged 25-40 who live in Nairobi and love football, Google will deliver the ads just to those people. If the advertiser is interested in people who recently got married, Google knows them. If it is dog owners, Google knows them. If it is the people who love holidaying and traveling, Google knows who was in Maasai Mara last week and Amboseli last month.

The same thing works with Facebook. Facebook knows your likes and interests, and can tell who is likely to attend a music concert or buy a certain book. This is based on the information that you have given them, such as the post you like and pages you follow. If an advertiser wants to sell tickets for a play that will be aired in Mombasa and targets women who love poetry, Facebook and Google can deliver the advert to these people.

But there is another form of targeting that is very specific. If you visit a website, Google knows you are there, and from there it can keep showing you the ads from that website wherever you are. Remember the ads will keep following you in any place that shows ads, be it websites, apps and even YouTube channels. In Facebook, an advertiser can track you using your name, phone number or even email, and show their ads to you. If you go to Jumia and search for a certain shoe, you might start seeing the shoe advert on Facebook, because Jumia has asked Facebook to show you the shoe ad.

Do you see an ad you can relate to on this page?


Chinese Engineers in Kenya

Posted on 3 min read

Chinese contractors have found a golden goose in Kenya, almost taking all the megaprojects in the construction industry. Most of the major state and private infrastructure that has been built in the last ten years have some form of Chinese signature in them. From roads, buildings, railways, to water and sewerage projects, Chinese companies have proved to be efficient and reliable. They show up armed with equipment, labor, and most important, capital which allows them to complete the project in record time.

The Standard Gauge Railway

Take the example of the Chinese-made Mombasa – Naivasha railway. The line was funded through a loan from China, built by a Chinese company, and now is operated by the Chinese. It is the Chinese railway in Kenya. Despite protests on the feasibility of the project and accusations of kickbacks and disregard for the environment during the construction, the railway line was eventually built.

But it is the manner in which the new railway is run that has proved to be a rip-off to Kenyans, more so to Kenyan engineers. To date, control panels and boards are written and programmed in Chinese. The primary language used in the operations by the Chinese people is the Chinese language. The engine drivers of the trains are Chinese, while Kenyan engineers are forced to do lowly jobs. Some forty Kenyans have been trained on to how to operate the trains, but they remain spectators as they are not allowed to do the real work.

At the same time, the Chinese have brought people from China to do menial jobs while Kenyans continue to grapple with joblessness. In some other projects, the Chinese have even been accused of ferrying everything from China, including the brooms to be used on-site.

Lack of Knowledge Transfer

From the onset of the project, there was no plan to ensure the deliberate transfer of skills to Kenyans so that they can take over the running of the project. Yet, the project costs Kenyan dearly, amidst a growing national debt. Why didn’t the government care about equipping its engineers to not only operate the Railway but also make them competent enough to build other sections that will need to be built in the future?

The problem persists not just in the Madaraka Express railway, but in other sectors as well. Highly qualified Electrical, Mechanical and Civil Engineers continue to grapple with joblessness, while mega projects are being handled by the Chinese. While it is understandable that they bring in certain expertise and skills, projects must be designed in such a way that they ensure maximum skill transfer to the locals. The overreliance on Chinese contractors also means that local construction companies have faced severe competition.

What Next?

The Kenyan government needs to prioritize the needs of its young people, and not focus on giving them a fish. That people from China are employed as engineers in a Kenyan railway, while many competent Kenyan engineers are jobless, is shortsighted and stupid. The worst part is that even very low-level jobs such as cleaners and security guards are being done by Chinese nationals, in a country that has very high levels of unemployment. Building the human resources should be a top priority for any country that wants to develop.


Fake Adverts that are Conning Kenyans

Posted on 2 min read

The advent of digital advertising has opened opportunities for content creators to make money from their content. This includes websites owners or YouTube Channel owners who can earn money by having ads placed in their websites. If you visit most news website, they are full of blinking, shouting and screaming ads. Some ads are designed in a way that you will click them even accidentally. If you click on the ad, the owner of the website gets some money.

It is also a good time for advertisers who can now effortlessly get their ads placed in convenient places. This has enabled many people to have their ads following their potential clients wherever they go. You search for a microwave online and the next day every website you visit has an advert for the cheapest and most efficient microwave. That is simply how the online adverts work.

But there has been a proliferation of fake adverts that are meant to dupe people and con them money. One of those is job adverts, like the ad shown below in the Daily Nation website

Once you click on the advert, it takes to a Google Sheet document where you will fill in your details, and they ask you to pay money to be considered for the job. The money is paid through an M-PESA number.

Since the ad is fake (Tuskys confirmed so), desperate young people are likely to pay the money and get scammed. The ad has some form of credibility because it appears on legit news sites, and most people do not understand the dynamics and mechanisms behind the placement of the ads.

How to Stay Safe
  1. If a job requires you to pay some money to be considered, stay away. It does not matter if there is a promise for refund.
  2. Always check use the official company website for job application, unless if the recruitment is being done by an agency. In this case, it should be the official website for the agency. An ad for Tuskys should be at tuskys.com and not a random google doc.
  3. Always report suspected malicious ads to Google. You can do this by clicking on the top right corner of the ad, although Google does not give any feedback.
  4. If possible, report the crime to the DCI or even notify Safaricom because their M-PESA channel is being used.

Google also needs to do something to catch these people, possibly by blocking their Google Ads Accounts.