As usual, when faced with Bills that force them to be more accountable to the constituents whose interests they claim to represent, Kenyan parliamentarians either reject or amend them as they did two Thursdays ago when they amended and passed a diluted Leadership and Integrity Bill (aka Chapter 6) that excluded provisions that will have required any aspirant to a public office first seek clearance from agencies such as the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB).
Unfortunately, online marketers don’t have such a luxury after Google recently made copyright and Panda updates that now require you, more than ever, to employ organic ranking tactics that are obese with ‘integrity.’ Your website will lose rankings in the organic stakes if you post copyrighted content or use techniques such as keyword stuffing and unethical link building tactics.
It’s not only Kenyan MPs who diet on integrity. Take piracy, for instance. The Communications Commission of Kenya estimates that currently, there are approximately 3 million fake phones in Kenya. The CCK has threatened to switch them off at the end of September 2012, but trust Kenyans to oppose such a beneficial action: “Many Kenyans are poor and can’t afford genuine phones. Does that mean they shouldn’t communicate with their loved ones?” Microsoft hasn’t said how much software piracy costs the firm in Kenya, but it estimates that 79% of computers contained fake software in 2010. The multinational is now taking drastic intellectual property protection measures such as raiding premises countrywide. I won’t even mention the hundreds of thousands of fake movie DVDs that go for as little as Kshs50 in stalls all over Kenya.
As many Kenyan brands progressively realise and appreciate the benefits of advertising on the internet, I fear our addiction to piracy and reluctance to pay for quality web design and content services will tempt most online business owners to resort to short cuts such as copyright infringement (for example, by using registered trademarks of famous brands, yet they are not authorised resellers) and reworking copyrighted content and then posting it as original in order to rank highly on organic search rankings.
How to avoid Google’s poisonous fangs
The non-negotiable virtue that you, as Web brand owner, should now demand from your web designers and writers, after Google’s latest decrees, whether they are your employees or contracted from an IT marketing agency or agency of advertising, is integrity. Actually, you should dare them to show you a recent certificate of good conduct. Second, you should contact their referees and enquire whether these creatives can be trusted not to engage in ‘copy and paste’ tactics. Third, you should put a clause in their contracts that states that they will only be paid after you are satisfied that the work they have done is original, and should you find they have violated/plagiarised copyrighted content, they will forego their pay (and the sack for in-house offenders).
Marketing in Africa, particularly advertising on the internet, costs more time and more money: from building and hosting your website, to paying designers and writers to design your pages and write content respectively. Why should you risk Google relegating your website to division three, yet you desire to play in the online marketing premiership league because of copyright violations and fake content?
Please contact Pamoja Media for your web design and content needs. We will be glad to solve your challenges.