Gmail launches in South Africa, but not by Google

2009 February 11
by Ismail Dhorat

Gmail.co.za has launched in South Africa, but not by Google. After the post yesterday on Domain squatting and brand jacking, this is interesting. The service has apparently been launched by the horrible webmail service from South Africa and Gardale solutions, the owners of the gmail.co.za domain. Having used webmail when it initially launched 10 years ago for all of about 10 minutes, and was highly disappointed i did not expect much from the newly launched service.

And boy, did they get it all wrong(Again). See the screenshot below:

gmail.co.za

gmail.co.za


Gmail.co.za

Compare this to Gmail’s interface, this interface is horribly designed. The registration process is cumbersome, and one of the questions which is mandatory when signing up asks for your race. I am sure making a question like this mandatory is against some kind of law here in South Africa. The blue bar at the bottom features ads, using up precious screen real estate. Supposedly the service offers 10GB space, however if you take a look at the usage info:

Gmail.co.za usage

Gmail.co.za usage

0.2% of 20M(B?) and 0.2% of 1000 messages, this with just a single welcome email. Once agian, i signed up for the service will most likely use it for 5 minutes(for this posT), never to return again.

Is this a case of brand jacking / domain squatting ?

Well, Google launched GMail in April 2004, at that time it was purely invite only. Gmail.co.za however was registered in July 2003, long before gmail was ever announced.

picture-51

So technically, this is not a case of brand jacking, I dont think we will see any law suits from Google. However it is an (extremely) poor attempt on capitalizing on a valuable domain.

Would you use gmail.co.za?

*Hat Tip: Vincent

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