Friday, 30 March 2018

Education Colleges Added to GHfind Database

I've recently entered contact information on all 41 colleges of education located in Ghana as listed by Wikipedia.  The breakdown for the number of these institutions per region is as follows:

Accra - 2

Ashanti - 8

Brong Ahafo - 5

Central - 3

Eastern - 5
Northern - 4

Volta - 7

Upper East - 2

Upper West - 2

Western - 3

I commend those who have functioning websites complete with accurate contact information, and as for those who didn't I had to resort to third-party sites like T-Tel (and of course Facebook), and in some cases even that wasn't sufficient.

Currently I'm entering the information of all accredited higher-educational institutions in Ghana offering degree programs via the National Accreditation Board website.  These institutions seem more committed to having active websites, so hopefully compiling data for them should prove to be a more expeditious venture than for the colleges of education.

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

GHfind Now Taking Donations

Female merchants @ Makola Market, the central market in Accra.  Farmers and market women like these are the basis of the Ghanaian economy.
I've gone ahead and changed the status of GHfind to a non-profit organization primarily because I'm not making any money from it yet still feel compelled to continue with the project in confidence that in the long run it will financially benefit not only myself but the entirety of Ghana.  In other words GHfind is currently my primary means of giving back to the Motherland, and I still believe when it blows up it'll be one of the most heavily-utilized business tools in the Republic.

The main goal of GHfind is to compile an online, searchable database that contains contact information on EVERY BUSINESS IN GHANA.  Gathering and compartmentalizing this data takes a lot of effort, especially considering that most Ghanaian businesses do not have an online presence, which is why business owners and other concerns citizens are encouraged to submit their own information by way of the online form on our website, via email (phonebook@ghfind.com) or even through Whatsapp (050-537-0677) - whichever means proves most convenient for you.  For one man or even an organized group of people to collect info on every business in Ghana is unrealistic unless the general populace gets involved and submit their own information, like we do for say Facebook, and of course having your business information entered into the GHfind database is absolutely free.

In terms of income generation I introduced two components - website design and premium advertising - to GHfind.  I have yet to get a website contract directly through GHfind and as such am about to eliminate that component from the project altogether, but as for premium advertising, i.e. via Facebook, a blog post (article) or being highlighted on our website, that's a feature that I'll keep around under the belief that once the site becomes popular it will be a heavily-patronized service.  But as for now premium-advertising clients are few and far between, and as such this project can't rely on them as a source of consistent revenue to perpetuate operations.

Thus, like any good non-profit, GHfind is now taking donations.  Keep in mind that this initiative is designed to benefit all Ghanaian businesses (as well as foreign entities catering to Ghanaian markets) via global, national and even local networking, and as such all affected parties are encouraged to donate to the extent they feel compelled to do so, as no donation is too small or for that matter too large.  For now we're only taking donations via MTN Mobile Money, with the phone number being 054-769-4322, and the name on the account being my own, MALCOLM AARON WHETSTONE.  Parties from outside Ghana, if in possession of a valid credit or debit card, can also donate money into this mobile account using WorldRemit.

CONCLUSION

If GHfind fails to be self-sustainable, either through premium advertising revenues or more specifically donations, then the project will have to be terminated as not only is lack of resources negatively affecting the expeditious compilation of the database, but also it's ultimately illogical to keep pumping time, energy and resources - even if in the name of the people - into a project that's not bringing any return.

Saturday, 17 March 2018

The Demise of GHfind Billboard

GHfind Billboard was a short-lived initiative whereas I sought a more prominent, individualized way to promote businesses in Ghana that is more multimedia-based than GHfind Phonebook since the latter is search-first and by and large doesn't incorporate any multimedia but is mainly composed of text.  Of course the first option was to use Facebook - GHfind as a billboard, but up until recently I've been having issues as in most of the URLs I posted seemed unable to extract images from their respective websites, which was imperative in making the posts more attractive.   Now I figured out how to rectify that problem, by simply adding a forward slash to the end of the URL, and since website addresses look better without the last slash once Facebook picks the images then I go back and remove it, but the images will still remain.

GHfind Billboard was implemented partially based on an ideology of handcrafting ads, a very-uncommon practice in the age of robots, and in that regard I may work on it again in the future as a premium-advertising option.

THE FUTURE OF GHfind

As of now I'm not generating income from this venture, even though a lot of work, time and energy goes into it.  In other words I'm basically advertising everyone for free.  As such in the near future I'm leaning toward converting GHfind into a business-advocacy, nonprofit, non-governmental organization.  The overall goal of this project is to get every single Ghanaian business - both large and small - into an online searchable database, as I'm confident having such a service will help us all in terms of networking and income generation, and as such I have to put this organization in the position to receive donations rather than only relying on clients looking for website design or premium-advertising services.

Friday, 16 March 2018

Vodafone Done Jacked My Credit

Vodafone has been linked by some independent researchers to the KKK.
Vodafone Ghana has a system whereby customers can request a credit advance (by dialling *505#) at a fee of 15% interest.  The amount they credit you is based on how much you usually spend topping-up and how fast you paid off previous debts.  To my knowledge the minimum they allot is GH₵1.00 (which now seems to have been raised to GH₵1.50), and the maximum is GH₵15.00.  

If you take a long time paying off a previous loan, no matter how big it may have been, when you reapply Voda is only going to credit you the minimum advance, which again I think now has been raised to ₵1.50 because I borrowed for the first time today after taking like two weeks to payoff a previous advance, and that's what they gave me.  My goal was to just bundle some small data to conduct some light browsing throughout the day.  I didn't even want ₵1.50 because traditionally Vodafone has a daily bundle where you get like 50MB for ₵1.00, but lo and behold, that bundle no longer exists, and the only option ₵1.50 can actually afford is 20MB for ₵0.50.  Now this presents a number of issues.  For instance 20MB can be consumed in a heartbeat, even on an android, so chances browsing with ₵1.50 you're going to have to purchase more than one bundle, which can be irritating asfuk.  Second is that, as I mentioned in my previous article about internet service providers in Ghana, if you bundle and leave any excess credit on your chip (that isn't bonus) chances are the service providers are going to consume the credit before you get a chance to use it - or as we called it in the old days steal that sh*t.

For instance as aforementioned this morning I borrowed ₵1.50, bundled ₵0.50 of it, didn't make any calls or exhaust my data but yet currently have a balance of only ₵0.30, meaning ₵0.70 has been jacked from my account in the span of about an hour since I made the transaction, and I'm confident within a matter of time even those remaining 30 pesewas will disappear.  Before I realized what was going on I went out and purchased a ₵5.00 Vodafone card with the intent of using it to pay off the debt (₵1.65) and then activating a more-powerful bundle (550MB/₵3.00), but now that I know they're going to jack the remaining ₵0.35 it's like damn, might as well have stuck to MTN.

CONCLUSION

Although both Vodafone and MTN, the two largest telecommunication companies in Ghana, abuse their customers like this, in the grand scheme of things I now believe it's better off to just stick to MTN for general browsing (not necessarily downloading) because you can use Mobile Money to buy credit for your phone, and you can send the exact amount you need to purchase the bundle to your chip without leaving anything leftover to be unfairly deducted.

CONCLUSION UPDATE (16 March 2018)

I now realize that the leftover credit is being deducted for browsing.  In other words even though I've bundled and still have plenty of data left, Voda is arbitrarily consuming my remaining credit at a pay-as-you-go rate, which of course makes it disappear in seconds.