Kenya ranks among the most corrupt countries in the world, with various government agencies often competing for the most corrupt spot every year. Usually, Kenyans blame the government for corruption while the government tries to act as if there is no corruption.

However, the corruption problem is now a cultural problem that affects every sector and even the digital technologies and tools that are available have been used as platforms to perpetuate corruption in Kenya. We look at a few tools that have been abused and forced the designers to go back to the drawing board to come up with a better way to prevent the abuse.

Click Farms

When the pay-per-click advertising model debuted, advertisers were assured of value for money as they would only pay when their ads were seen by relevant people. Website owners found a way to make money from the traffic they get on their sites while third parties offered the service of linking advertisers with property owners.

Then came along the age of click farms.

Website owners realized that they could make money by getting some cheap labor that could spend time clicking on ads on their sites. So big was the problem that there were companies in Kenya hiring people to just click on ads on random websites. Advertisers lost money and the ones managing the ads platforms had to find innovative ways of keeping off the spam clicks.

Watch Farms

This same trend follows YouTube today, where there are watch firms exist where YouTube videos are played endlessly without an audience. The goal is to attain a certain number of watch hours that YouTube requires, and also play ads since no clicking is required. This sees advertisers lose money as their ads are played many times but without an audience.

The challenge with YouTube advertising is that an advertiser is charged when one watches the whole ad and does not click on the β€˜Skip ad’ button. That is also the time when the channel owner makes money.

Using a Watch Farm where videos are played on unmonitored screens continuously means that the channel owner makes money, and the advertiser does not get any value.

Netflix account sharing

Netflix offers a package that allows one to stream content on 4 devices for KES 1200 per month or one device at KES 700 per month. While this cost is affordable for those can afford the required connectivity, a certain class of people who have access to free WiFi find the cost prohibitive; students. Solutions.

Students have found a way of sharing passwords and selling access to excess user capacity or idle accounts for only KES 50 per day. Thus, one buys a multi-user account for KES 1200 and sublets to other people at KES 50 bob per day, effectively covering the cost of the initial investment and making some profit.

Moral of the observations?

Any technology that is used by many people will be used to aid the values that society holds.

As a designer or entrepreneur, one has to think of how culture will affect the products they offer and find ways to mitigate the negative effects and shield themselves from abuse.

The direct effect of that is that the cost production or doing business goes up because more resources that have nothing to do with the core systems are used, resulting in higher prices for the final consumer. Corruption is costly.

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