CONFIRMED: MIH Internet Africa Shutters Its Business Listing Service, Mocality


Just one year after Google attempted to crippled Mocality, its business listing competition in Africa, we can now confirm that the service will eventually be shut down by end of February.

In a post on its official blog today, the company said:

“Mocality has achieved some incredible things over the last four years, and has touched the lives of many people in Africa, but alas, all good things must come to an end. All of the Mocality Kenya and Mocality Nigeria operations will be closed on the 28th February 2013.”

The service, backed by Naspers/MIH Internet Africa, which launched in Kenya and Nigeria in June 2010 and September 2011 respectively, was arguably, Africa’s largest mobile business directory allowing business owners to list their business for free and provided information about the businesses around you.

While Google may not have killed the start-up, it is likely that it did some harm to stifle its growth over the past year or so after the search giant was caught accessing Mocality’s database and attempting to sell its competing product to the start-up’s business owners.

In January 2012, Mocality’s founder & ex-CEO, Stefan Magdalinski exposed the search giant’s unsavoury business practices that was carried out against the start-up in Kenya which got the world’s technology sites reporting about the saga.

Google later apologised to Mocality saying that they were “mortified” by the anti-competition allegations and pledged to investigate and take necessary action leading to the reported firing of its Country Lead for Kenya, Olga Arara-Kimani.

While Mocality has not said why the service is being shuttered, it is possible that the huge cost of running the service (it pays its agents about $1 to add a new business) coupled with the fact that it is yet to break-even and profitability not being reasonable near-term prospect, may have caused its demise.

Last December, local tech blog, TechMtaa cited an unnamed source that claimed that Naspers was worried that since launch, Mocality hasn’t made any money, doesn’t have a real business model, and its daily deals service was yet to start making money.

We couldn’t reach Naspers/MIH Internet Africa for more details about why it is shutting down the service, what would happen to its employees and the business data it has gathered.

Would Mocality sell the data to its two major competitors, Google or VConnect? Would Mocality employees be absorbed into other operations within MIH Internet Africa such as OLX and PriceCheck?

We would provide more information as we know more.

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