Wednesday, October 19, 2011

KBO.CO.KE not a threat to Kenyan web designers

 There have been lots of queries of late on the effect of Google's KBO.CO.KE that's getting Kenyan businesses online. Many web designers have written to me wondering why Google has launched an "attack" on Kenyan web designers by offering free websites to their client base, the startups and small and micro-enterprises, their niche.

Many web design upstarts claim that the best web design deals in the Kenyan market have already been gobbled up by the big boys :3Mice, DotSavvy and the rest. And now Google has grabbed  the last bowl from which the entrepreneur with just a laptop and a bed was eating from by launching kbo.co.ke . "How do they expect us to survive?" Some ask.

I don't think there is any need for worry. KBO.CO.KE is aimed in my opinion at microenterprises, the mama mbogas, the small time laptop shop in Kimathi Street, the mobile phone stall in Moi Avenue, the GNLD vendor attending daily meetings along Kenyatta Avenue. I don't think this was your target market in the first place! These were people who had been left out of the digital marketing equation completely. Perhaps the best they had was a Facebook Group or page inviting friends etc to their shop or nothing at all.

The service that KBO.CO.KE is offering does not compete with any professional web design / development individual/agency's offering in Kenya and any web designer worth their salt clearly understands that. It does not replace the robustness of Joomla or Drupal with all the flexibility and extensions and modules. Besides, which serious Kenyan Company or NGO, your normal client base, would like to host their website on kbo.co.ke? Of course they would like to acquire their own domain name like greenbuilding.co.ke or greenbuildingkenya.org !

The KBO.CO.KE sitebuilder service is designed to be quick, simple and easy to use.  It will generate a basic functional website that is hopefully aesthetically pleasing. From what I see, most of them aren't that pleasing. But it's not aimed at replacing the kind of work that a skilled designer would do for a business. in Kenya. So my friends, you are still in business.

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