Google’s Woza Online to shut down in SADate posted: 14.01.2015 | Author: Harry Bovensmann
Google’s Woza Online, with thousands of websites belonging to small to medium businesses, will be shut down in SA. The search giant’s free website builder is shutting down on 28 February 2015 after it was launched in January 2012 in partnership with the Department of Trade & Industry (DTI), mobile network Vodacom and the Human Resources Development Council (HRDC).
Google described Woza Online as an ‘easy-to-build’ website system that offered free ‘wozaonline.co.za’ sub-domain names and a hosting service. Last year, Google said Woza Online was used by 40000 websites in South Africa. Nevertheless, Woza Online is being closed after Google also shut down similar website builder services in Nigeria and Kenya at the end of December. Woza Online users can log in to their accounts to retrieve photos and text until May 1 2015, Google said.
“Closing offerings always involve tough choices, but we do think very hard about each decision and its implications for our users, and we want to ensure that businesses in South Africa get the best of the web, which is why we’re introducing new options,” said Google in an emailed statement. Users can transfer their sites or use the search company’s ‘My Business’ offering, which helps customers find businesses via searches and illustrates where the businesses are located.
Alternatively, Google is going to launch the “My Business” service in South Africa, though, this is just a listing-type service and does not offer website building and hosting packages.
Scam artists abuse Woza Online
Complaints about fraudsters turning to Woza Online to create fake websites have dragged down the Google service. In 2013, MyBroadband reported that fraudsters are abusing the free platform to impersonate legitimate retailers, scam unsuspecting consumers, and harvest credit card details. E-commerce website Bidorbuy issued a warning to customers about Woza Online in 2013.