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Kenya Web Review: Still More International than Local

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Curious about the health of Kenya’s ICT sector, I took a very unscienctific survey yesterday. Which websites were most Kenyan web users visiting, and which Kenyan websites were top of the heap?

My first port of call was the web rankings site Alexa, which gave me a list of the top 100 sites for Kenyan web users. As was expected, the majority of the top sites visited were international. However, I was able to put together a list of the top 10 local websites that were on their list. They are listed, with their place on the list overall, below:

  1. Google.co.ke (2)
  2. Nation.co.ke (16)
  3. East African Standard (19)
  4. Rich.co.ke (31)
  5. Business Daily Africa (47)
  6. Safaricom (53)
  7. Softlink Options (54)
  8. Kenya Airways (55)
  9. Exams Council (63)
  10. Into Kenya (69)

While the list didn’t provide any big surprises, what was interesting was that Rich.co.ke was the only website that also appeared in the top 10 when I did a Google search for Kenyan domains. Now, this could be explained by the fact that not all of the Kenyan websites listed by Alexa will have .co.ke domains, and also because Google’s ranking does not depend on traffic alone. Nevertheless, the difference between the two lists was striking.

The overall impression I took away from my little experiment was that the Kenyan ICT field still has a long way to go. It’s perfectly understandable that the biggest websites will attract the most traffic, and that will be reflected in the Alexa results for Kenya. However, it did seem to be a shame that there were not more local websites attracting enough traffic to warrant a place in the top 100.

I’m not sure whether it is the regulations governing the allocation of .co.ke domains or whether the majority of Kenyan webmasters prefer a more “international” suffix, but at present there are only around 312,000 Kenyan domains, according to Google. Alternatively, it could simply be that the ICT sector is still too young to have spawned a larger number of active domains. It would be interesting to see how many are listed in five years time, or even in a decade. Until then, it appears that Kenya web traffic is still going overseas.

[Image by Pygo]

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