Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Kbo.co.ke : Google Getting Kenyan Businesses Online

One of the reasons Kenyan businesses have not been visible online is the cost of domain names, cost of webhosting, cost of web design and finally the technical hands to constantly update content on the website. The .KE domains are quite costly at Ksh.2900($35) per domain name and there have been loud calls in the past for prices of the domains to be reduced.

 A Kenyan business wishing to establish an online presence must have an initial investment of at least Ksh.50,000($590) to pay for web design and hosting, that's after paying the Ksh.2900 for a single .CO.KE domain name. Kenyan SMEs simply do not have these kinds of resources to invest in getting an online presence, they are considered avoidable frills to the small businesspeople in Kenya. But not anymore, especially with a price tag of $FREE.

Google to the Rescue
Google has been deeply committed to developing the African internet scene in the last few years;. It's more than a commitment but  a passion to get Africa online. We reported earlier on this blog that Google unsuccessfully tried to acquire the domain Africa.com less than two years ago in order to build a social network for Africa.

On July 05,2011 Google registered the domain kbo.co.ke with which it plans to get Kenyan Businesses Online, a domain name to give Kenyan Micro Enterprises an online boost and to get their businesses online for free. Partnering with KENIC, Equity Bank and Safaricom, this is Google's Gift to Kenya. This domain will soon be one of the most trafficked in the Kenyan namespace and has very simple Website Sitebuilder Tools.

Businesses will be able to register domain names in the fourth level for their businesses. For example, you can register http://chips.kbo.co.ke for your chips business; http://furniture.kbo.co.ke http://travel.kbo.co.ke http://insurance.kbo.co.ke etc for free, build your website and add the content and host it for free!! I think this is one of the best deals to have been launched on African ccTLD namespace! I can't just find any comparison to this when it comes to getting people online in Africa. You have a chance to register generic keyword sub-domains that will rank well because kbo.co.ke will rank very well as far as searching for Kenyan content is concerned.

The kbo.co.ke Business Sitebuilder is very simple to use and no web design and technical skills are required. I created a website in just 20 minutes without reverting to my web design skills. You can have a look at my kbo.co.ke website here, I used this just as a demonstration but the domain is available to anyone who might be interested in a building some online real estate in the .kbo.co.ke namespace for selling vegetables to Nairobians.

This is not the first time Google is launching an initiative like this and neither is the initiative limited to Kenya or Africa. A very similar initiative was launched early this year in Canada dubbed "Canada Get Your Business Online"(very similar to kbo.co.ke) to help small businesses thrive online. Google has been busy purchasing "Get Online" Domain names in the past few months such as GetOnlineColorado.com TexasGetOnline.com etc. Google acquired over 100 "Get Online"domains so this must be an ambitious plan by Google to get small businesses across the globe online. Other similar initiatives include the one launched in Ireland "Getting Irish Business Online"

Below are the screenshots of steps required in setting up a Website on kbo.co.ke $FREE: It's quite simple, all you need is a Google Account and you are good to go. Remember that you can only register one sub-domain name on kbo.co.ke, registering more than one sub-domain is a violation of KBO Terms of Service.

Create or Log in to a Google Account
Choose a Sub Domain Name

Describe Your Business

Voila!! Add Content and Publish Your Website!!

 Here is a nice video Promoting Google's "Getting Kenyan Businesses Online" Campaign:

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