Kalahari.co.ke is dead in Kenya..R.I.P- Will dealfish be the next one?

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Kalahari.co.ke is dead in Kenya… RIP. When they came in they made a lot of noise, advertised almost everywhere but at the end,the site is being shut down in Kenya. Reason being, poor business in Kenya. It is funny Nigeria has the same problem and the same action being taken.  Kenyans go online to look for products but not many buy things online  unless the given product can’t be found completely physically somewhere.  Earlier on the reason given was the low rate of credit card penetration in Kenya but many firms including Kalahari changed tacked and incorporated Mpesa as the mode of payment . But the closure of Kalahari means this too not working at the moment.

By the way Kalahari had 14 million users and over 3million products and services listed on the site. In hhis part of the world that is huge and it is disappointing that  despite that and the investment in terms of the advertisement on the media and online, the site still has to be shut down.

So what is the real problem?

My gut feeling is that the problem is lies with the trust. Many Kenyans don’t trust  the local companies selling products and services online. The online transaction needs trusted payment system and trusted dealers. When one go online and pay for something, they should have a complete trust that the given service or product will be delivered.  I think that is lacking at the moment.

Sometime back i wrote an article wondering why it is so hard to make money online in Kenya and quoted dealfish as some of the most popular website in Kenya but still can’t make money. At the moment deafish is the second most popular website in Kenya just behind nation.co.ke according to alexa.com. But again dealfish is free and at the moment not making money online. On that article the East regional manager Mr. Moses Kemibaro commented that they have a plan. Here:

Moses Kemibaro here. In responding to your comment “popular companies like Dealfish still can’t make money online” I think you should get a clearer picture on who we are and what we plan to do. Dealfish is part of MIH which owns many successful and profitable online classifieds businesses globally. Therefore, we know how to make money. We are still in the “launch” phase in building Dealfish as a Pan-African business. This is not unlike how Amazon did not make a profit for years as they invested in “building” their business to become the success they are today. We will make money but its not like we are clueless as to how this will be done. This may be unusual in a market like Kenya but trust me we are in it to make money – just not yet. I hope this clarifies matters?

By the way Kalahari.co.ke is part of MIH which is the same company that operates Mocality, the online business directory and Dealfish. Talking about mocality they had to recently start providing the daily deals meaning that depending  purely on ecommerce or mcommerce is not the route at the moment.

And the big question i am asking this morning is, is the dealfish the next to go down?

What is your opinion on the topic?
Kennedy Kachwanya
Lead Blogger at Kachwanya.com
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Kennedy Kachwanya is a technology blogger interested in mobile phones both smart and dumb, mobile apps, mobile money, social media, startups ecosystem and digital Savannah. New media must not forget the strength of old tech.
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