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MIH Internet Now Reportedly Sell Dealfish to Argentina’s OLX Classifieds

Things are happening at Naspers owned verticals. It seems that the millions spent on Dealfish and Mocality have not bought the two verticals love.

First there was this rumour in March on Nigeria’s blogosphere that MIH had sold Deafish to Argentina based OLX Classifieds. Then MIH did some fire fighting and fought all rumours. Despite the denials, Dealfish South Africa (dealfish.co.za) which was branded as KalahariAds, was secretly pushed to OLX (84% owned by Naspers) and heavily marketed in the country.

Despite the denials, increased activities by OLX have been witnessed in the Kenyan internet scene. Few months ago, www.olx.co.ke and www.olx.com.ng were quietly registered. Looks like OLX Kenya domain was registered in August 2010. But there has been increased activity in social media with both OLX Kenya Facebook and Twitter presence being set up on 9th May 2012.

Breakdown of Ownership of MIH and OLX by Naspers

  • Napser owns 100% of MIH
  • Napser owns 84% of OLX
  • Napser owns 100% of Dealfish via MIH
  • OLX buys 100% of MIH’s stake in DealFish
  • Napser looses grip on Dealfish as it doesn’t control  16% of OLX

The accounts are currently not so active but are followed by few staff at MIH. Funny enough, OLX Nigeria’s  Twitter account was also set up on the same day while the Facebook account was setup on 18th May.

The last week, someone working at Dealfish Kenya’s Saatchi Plaza intimated to me that senior staff at Dealfish Kenya had informed them that the an Argentinian company had acquired Dealfish Kenya.

What looked strange at Dealfish Kenya again is that, though the budgeting year starts on April 1st of every year, the company decided to cancel all TV adverts they were running in the Kenyan media just two weeks after initiating the campaigns. Digital advertising of the Dealfish has also been stopped. Even the brand campaigns have been ceased.

You remember that since September 2011, Dealfish has had two general managers. They have been managing three technology platforms, 4 interfaces and two Africa-wide regional managers. The company has spent a great deal on advertising with no clear strategy and no revenue to-date. To earn few returns, the company started putting Adsense on its platforms.

Now that Dealfish has been bought by OLX Classifieds, what will they deliver for classifieds clients in Kenya and Nigeria? It is not clear when the the OLX brand will launch in Kenya and Nigeria. OLX is a Craigslist-style business available in 42 languages and present in 94 countries. In all the 94 countries, OLX is a market leader in noen of the countries and according to reports, earns no revenue nor profits in all of them.

The site has also run into problems just like Craigslist with recent accusations just late last year that it allowed adult classifieds onto some of its country sites where it is illegal to advertise such services.

Of the two General Managers at MIH, Stefan Magdalinski was on 10th May posted to Indonesia to head Multiply.Com while Neil Schwartzmann was promoted to Stefan’s job running MIH Internet in Africa.

Though OLX Classifieds is still part of Naspers Group, the MIH empire seems to be shrinking with now Mocality even remaining operational with no revenue strategy.

Since things are not looking good, sources at Mocality indicate that they will be launching a Google’s KBO competition in the next one week. Mocality will offer to build mobile and full websites to businesses already in their directory for a small fee. Might be a great move considering that they recently launched Whoiswho Kenya which seems to have interested no one.

Written by Robert

Respected Kenyan blogger, tech evangelist, and social justice activist. Robert is known for his hard-hitting articles and opinions disseminated through his Twitter handle @RobertAlai or Facebook page (www.fb.com/RobertAlai).

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