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Google killing thousands of SA websites

Google killing thousands of SA websites

Google’s free website builder for small business in South Africa, Woza Online, is pulling the plug on thousands of sites in March 2015.

Google Business Sitebuilder websites for users who signed up through the South Africa Woza Business Online program will no longer be visible from 28 February 2015, Google said.

Site owners will have to recreate their sites on another Google service or migrate to a different host.

Admins will still be able to log in to their accounts to retrieve photos and text until May 1 2015.

Woza online launched in South Africa in 2012, and quickly grew to host over 40,000 SME websites on the platform.

However, the platform became a hot-bed for online fraudsters and scammers, notably with reported cases of credit card detail harvesting arising from fake sites.

Online marketplace previously warned its users against scams arising from the Woza Online platform, and fraudulent sites database, Artists Against 419 noted a number of scams coming from the service.

Where to now?

Woza Online will be ‘replaced’ by Google My Business, another free business service which creates a public profile for businesses, offering easier visibility on Google Search, Google Maps and Google+.

Google says that Woza users can either recreate their basic business information on Google My Business, or sign on with its “trusted partner”, Hostgator (a paid-for service), to continue their website, with My Business integration.

Google said the Woza online switch-off would not affect any existing Google accounts or emails, but any purchased domain names would need to be transferred onto a new hosting platform.

More on Woza Online

Woza Online reaches 40,000 SMEs

Google signs up 25,000 SMEs for Woza Online

Google launches Woza Online in South Africa

BusinessTech's Staff Writer is directly plugged into the South African Internet backbone, and spits out press releases and other news as they receive it. They are believed to be cl...
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  • It’s about time – Google decided to ignore warnings about fraud and shifted blame – this has been going on for years. Good to hear that it’s gone –

  • Hans Viljoen

    InnateHosting provides you with tailor-made
    hosting packages to suit your companies growing needs. We offer a full
    array of services, including: Domain Name Registration Email Setup
    Database Management Website Design Digital Marketing Social Media

  • Space Chief

    Is there something particular about this platform and not other platforms, such as blogger and blogspot that make this platform more conducive to running fake and malware infested sites?

  • Heirich Austerlitz

    It’s not half as bad as you make it out to be. The majority of woza websites were used to run scams, and I mean everything from Nigerian 419 advance fee scams, phishing scams, and even a scam involving some moron in Kimberley “selling” cameras online at below cost prices. It was also used extensively to run various email spam scams, or for just plain useless spam. Only about 1% of woza businesses were legal, so let’s not cry too hard. Besides, with most hosts now hosting from R9pm, and domains registered for as little as R50 per year, the choice is quite clear.

    • Space Chief

      To go with free sub domains and free hosting?

      • Heirich Austerlitz

        Webafrica has R9pm hosting packages, and a domain will cost about R150. Now that is incredibly cheap, and if you cannot afford that, then how on earth do you go onto the internet. Host4africa also has some very good hosting packages starting at R9 if I’m not mistaken. There are free domains available in SA, but reservation and registration of those free domains remain technically challenging.

        • Phillip Gimmi

          Worth a mention: Rapid Web 24 will build you a website in a day. Free hosting and Free Domain.

    • chris

      Witch sites are the best to host a domain. There’s 2 much to choose from?

      • ITMAN

        There are a lot for a lot less, we talking WebAfrica, Hertzner, etc.

  • Mark Diamond

    In Africa: Give a man a fish and he can eat for a day. Teach a man how to phish and he’ll rob his countrymen blind.

    • Advocator

      Hahaha, good one…. makes sense to us nerds…

  • seafury

    Time to steer clear of Google’s free business services.

    • Google has killed off some 20-odd free products in the last 2 or 3 years (including a number I relied on heavily). I guess that’s the real price of “free”…

      • seafury

        Free = new expensive….

  • deathgrind

    Woza was a dumb name in anyway, obviously just focusing on black south africans.

    • RagingTiger

      It’s not like they are a majority market or anything.

  • Man, I got scammed on that side. Still no wife delivered and the number doesn’t work anymore…

  • DABS

    Digital Africa Business Solutions has launched Woza Business Online for
    the small businesses. The Problem with Woza Online was the fact that it
    was free, nothing free ever lasts. We at DABS know that most of these
    businesses cannot afford websites created by professionals. That is why
    we have opened, to help them, this is not a free
    service, but at least it wont close down. I hope that the small
    businesses are not stranded without there websites.

    • A bit opportunistic to offer your paid services here. Especially since you registered the “” domain literally a day ago –

      Your offering might be sincere, but I honestly don’t think it is ethical to spin up a website not even 24 hours old and then offer your services. Especially using the “Woza” name. To me it is almost an attempt to mislead users.

    • Don Su

      Talk about opportunistic …

  • If you need a good month – to – month services from only R299 per month with hosting, domain and profesional, high quality, responsive web design for your business please email us at [email protected] and qoute wozaonline… we will give you a good deal. We have been building quality, Google friendly websites for 8 years now. No contract. You can cancel at anytime – of course with a 30 day notice.

  • lastLogicalhuman

    I think this discussion on Tikshare summarizes the entire Google threat and government should interfere to stop Google from killing many business even before they take off.

  • Alan

    The Woza Online project has closed down. Have a look at NEW Woza Online. A South African alternative where you can create a website:

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