VENTURES AFRICA – Leading Nigerian online retailer Konga, says it will resort to legal action against Rocket Internet, Berlin-based parent company of its local competitor Jumia, for “buying and sitting on” Konga related domain names in 11 African countries to stifle possible competition in those markets.
The domain names which include konga.co.ke, konga.co.za, and konga.cd, were registered, according to domain ownership site whois.com, last year June in Berlin by Arnt Jeschke, a representative of Rocket Internet GmbH.
The URLs were registered after Sim Shagaya who was to launch Konga.com in July of the same year, had turned down a Rocket Internet proposal to merge his company with the German company’s Nigerian subsidiary.
Though Konga currently operates in Nigeria alone, Jumia has expanded and established presence, with strong financial backing from Swedish investor Kinnevik, in Nigeria, Morocco, Egypt, Cote D’Ivoire and Kenya – countries in which Rocket all acquired Konga related domains except Egypt.
Konga said it has since “gone ahead to request for these domain names without getting them returned” and would now proceed with “with legal actions in the different jurisdictions where these domain names were registered.”
According to Tech Cabal, an unperturbed Konga CEO Sim Shagaya retorted: “We [technology] are moving into a world of realtime app-enabled native services where URLs will become increasingly irrelevant. But we’d like to have them back, nonetheless.”
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