In the shadow of a week (and weekend) filled with Facebook-related news, a Ugandan technology solutions firm, DEI Technologies has quietly launched its own social network that has been in development for almost a year. This social network, called deiplaces.com, is said to help local and foreign tourists connect with one another – a concept that early adopters of Facebook know well (and often miss)
However, it’s clear deiplaces.com is not designed to compete with Facebook. Mathias Magoola the Chairman DEI Group International says deiplaces.com (pronounced “De yi Places”) “is an experimental free advertising, booking and social platform project, developed by a team of American, Chinese and Ugandan developers that is focused on exploring the possibilities of social search for the purpose of a money-making and fun platform.” The primary focus of deiplaces.com is helping “people create a place, advertise it free of charge and watch their sales shoot up” by combining social networking and search.
Ms. Atuhaire Tracy, PR and Communications lead at DEI Uganda is sneaky in the way they present the focus of deiplaces.com, which seems to be designed specifically for tourists as like a wikipedia of places. However, it’s clear that DEI is attempting to take a swing at Instagram a mobile, desktop, and Internet-based photo-sharing application and service that allows users to share pictures and videos either publicly, or privately to pre-approved followers. To differentiate the two, DEI Uganda (seemingly) focuses on a niche of users (tourists), and also encourages users to share data a little differently by sharing “information about different places in their own way.”
Ms. Atuhaire also adds that at no cost at all, users can market their places; Bars, Beaches, Hotels, using deiplaces.com which was also designed to offer exposure to Africa’s unknown places and heritage.
The platform focuses on individuals, organizations among other entities sharing information in pictures, videos and words about places.
“Although Dei Places will perform all the functions other social media platforms play, its major focus will be on helping people share information about different places in their own way,” Moses Matovu the project lead at DEI Tech Uganda.
By June this year, Uganda had over 17.1 million internet users according to UCC. “This is a great increase compared to the same period last year, where internet usage stood at 16.8 million. We are therefore confident that many Ugandans will be able to share their places,” the firm said.
Even if DEI Technologies is feigning its focus on tourism for the sake of user acquisition, the outlook for deiplasces.com doesn’t look good either way.
For the sake of those blossoming travel bloggers, wildlife photographers and tech students who have been gasping for a Ugandanised platform where to share their work – let’s hope the deiplaces.com mobile application for Android and iOS is ready by February 2018 as promised by the owners at Monday’s Hotel Africana Kampala media launch.