Last week social media went agog at the shocking news of the kidnap of three sons by their recently hired nanny. This of course isn’t the first time that minors would be kidnapped by their caretakers. In fact, the recent frequency may suggest oil and gas expatriate-kidnapping rings have pivoted to nannying as new channel
Last week social media went agog at the shocking news of the kidnap of three sons by their recently hired nanny. This of course isn’t the first time that minors would be kidnapped by their caretakers. In fact, the recent frequency may suggest oil and gas expatriate-kidnapping rings have pivoted to nannying as new channel for revenue generation. The Orekoya boys kidnap however had an interesting angle to it – the said nanny had been sourced online via classified site OLX.com.ng. Thus, OLX was again dragged into a mud it had spent millions on (in radio campaigns last year) to wash off.
Truth is, the series of fraud accusations and debacle that have trailed OLX isn’t peculiar to it. Online classifieds and marketplace companies world over face vehement criticisms and law suits for crimes committed by their users. Last December, cab sharing app Uber faced international criticism following reports that one of its Delhi cab drivers had raped a female passenger. AirBnB was also not spared when an apartment owner user discovered his property had been venue for a weekend sex party.
With the rise of internet marketplaces and classifieds in Nigeria and the equivalent tendencies of few unscrupulous elements to be fraudulently innovative, the local conversation for ecommerce security is overripe, and it extends way beyond OLX but for simplicity, we’d just stick to them as a business case.
First off, more often than not, these tech companies have security lapses that do not check fraudulent usage of their platforms. For example, investigations into the Delhi Uber cab driver rape that made international headlines last year reveals Uber had flouted several taxi driver regulations among which was not having GPS systems in their cabs. Consequently the service was banned in its biggest market and a domino of bans followed in European countries. Coming home, this raises question on the reliability of the user verification process on olx.com.ng. I understand that OLX is interested in beefing the ease of use of its platform but maybe it’s time registration on the site requires more than a 2-page process. If taxi drivers are required to produce their licenses, and Konga does warehouse checks on marketplace suppliers, probably it’s high time OLX requires users to scan their national IDs/driver’s license/international passports/PVCs/any other form of acceptable identification? Doesn’t directly prevent crimes but eases tracking down culprits, which indirectly deters committing crime. OLX should also only post news products that the owner has also provided images of manufacture bar code so interested buyers can investigate beforehand the authenticity of the product.
The Terms and Condition box should not appear pre-programmed, ticked. Make users read it and make it fun, easy and as concise as possible.
I’m yet to hear or read an OLX Nigeria campaign that educates and emphasizes the importance of user ratings – not even on its site. Amazon championed book reviews on its site almost two decades ago to boost engagement, help users identify the best offering and ultimately improve user experience. Wasting money to buy a boring book on a site would cause user resentment and decreasing sales for the site though it’s not the site’s fault that the buyer bought an uninteresting title. Several other ecommerce businesses have deployed the user generated tool to validate and authenticate merchants. I wouldn’t hire a babysitter online without endorsements from other users. OLX should encourage and educate users on taking and giving ratings.
Lastly, OLX no try. Crisis management was poor. It took several days for the company to respond to the kidnap debacle that smeared its brand. And when their press release finally came, it focused more on trying to maintain its integrity than showing sympathy for its heartbroken user. This is where the lack of understanding of the power of PR within Nigerian businesses shows. This is where it is important to show a brand as empathic and caring for its users.
The right response would have been to sympathize and focus on the pain of Mrs Orekoya, anger of the public and state explicitly steps the company has taken to collaborate with authorities to find the missing kids while succinctly maintaining its integrity in the matter. In fact, OLX just blew a wonderful marketing opportunity. The team could have shot a little documentary (titled, maybe, OLX Cares) of its collaboration with the police (if it did care that much) which ends in the kidnapper being apprehended. Broadcast this documentary which would have broken the news of the crazy confession of the nanny. The OLX brand would have gotten millions in audience, engagement and Lola Masha could have seized the opportunity to lead the conversation of nanny kidnapping and security, if she cared. For a brand that says: “everything sells,” it should at least know how to sell itself.
What are your thoughts (or resentment)? Do you think OLX’s registration scrutiny is sufficient? Or you got security measures you think they should adopt? Share.