Food For Thought: The Ethics of


Kaymu, the new e-commerce site, is pretty hard to ignore.

Ever since Rocket Internet (one of the world’s largest e-commerce venture capital firms and startup incubators) decided to take a shot at the Sri Lankan market, Lankan consumers have been positively flooded with waves of online marketing from and Carmudi.

Within a very short time they’ve racked up over 1.7 million likes on Facebook – a feat only possible with extravagant spending on Facebook promotions, and one that gives them phenomenal reach online. 

Edit: as of the time of writing, 42,013 are Sri Lankan, as pointed out by our readers. See

Not a day passes when I don’t see something from Kaymu on my Facebook newsfeed. It’s an unprecedented achievement – even, which was famous for its massive Facebook advertising sprees, barely reaches a fifth of what these guys can access.

Kaymu’s strategy seems to be slightly different from the norm. Instead of providing a bridge between retailers and customers (like takas) or being a purely hands-off classifieds like(like ikman), Kaymu brings on board sellers, promotes them on the Kaymu Facebook page and handles the delivery of the item to the customer.

However, Kaymu recently came under fire when they posted and promoted one particular deal – a Samsung Galaxy S5 “Vietnam” version, meaning a clone device – for an extremely low price. The post prompted a wave of backlash from Kaymu’s Facebook fans. Reactions ranged from simple warranty questions to outright anger that Kaymu was marketing what is commonly seen as a fake product.


Editor’s note: the Facebook post in question was retracted shortly.

In fairness to Kaymu, the item they were peddling was not their own. It was being sold by an independent vendor, like any other on Kaymu – after all, it is an Ebay-esque system.

However, the fact of the matter is that they were peddling the clone phone.

Now, I’ve used these phones before – in fact, I’ve owned two. By and large, they’re excellent examples of what technology can do when it doesn’t give a damn about compliance to standards, product quality or huge margins.These things have no warranty and generally start failing drastically after a few months of use. It’s not necessarily a deception to the discerning smartphone user, but it is a device unregistered under the TRCSL, and also in violation of Samsung’s local and international trademarks.

This is where things get sticky. Is it ethical to promote something that is a fake?

It’s one thing for an un-named hole-in-the-wall in Pettah to push shady deals. There’s no accountability there; possibly not even a business registration. It’s another thing entirely for an international chain that aspires to such lofty ambitions. 1.7 million connections on Facebook and you use that to sell fakes that any established phone shop would shy away from?

A brief look over Kaymu’s Facebook page shows a whole plethora of such promotions. Monsieur Dre in particular seems very popular.

mmore dre

One inevitably wonders what Dr Dre or the Samsung marketing team would have to say about an international e-commerce franchise promoting rip-offs. Food for thought!


  1. I placed an order with this web site and told I have to wait for 7 days before the item is delivered. I decide I can live with that and wait for 10 days. Call them on the 11th day and I am told I have to wait for another 4 days. I cancelled the order.

  2. that 1..7 million fans are actually not only Srilankan you can see below all below kaymu sites have same page with brand redirection facility

  3. Hi, I think that Kaymu is a nice site, that has a good variety and of-course there products are what suppliers are supplying in Sri Lanka that’s there. Its of course your choice of what you buy the fake or the real thing as long as your a smart consumer. It’s sort of a plaza bought online. Which is convenience.:-D

  4. Every site be it’s an ecom or any has a thing called responsibility, Kayamu on the other hand promotes the crap chineesh sellers products on their platforms, which means they encourage the fake non durabel products. Takas or IKman the other players in the field act very responsibility. Ikman doen’t advertise sellers personal products but just says there type of stuff are there. kayamu might be thinking to make a groundbreaking innovation which is a fail. The people know what to use and now, sad for the uneducated ones.

  5. I don’t understand what Pumitha is saying. Ikman doesn’t advertise people’s personal products? Isn’t that Ikman’s whole business model??!

    Regardless, I don’t understand why a website has any responsibility over this. They’re bringing local shops online and these are the products at local shops. If they were to leave these out, you’d only have stores like BT Options and Softlogic on there. What percentage of the common man do you think shops there?

    You can go hoity toity and snob off these products but the reality is there is consumer demand for it and in a market where people can’t afford beats or an S5, this is their alternative. Let a man dream a little for god sake! They don’t have thousands of dollars in their bank account. Besides, this creates brand loyalty within a segment that lies outside the target customer segment due to affordability. Microsoft let people install fake windows for ages until that’s all people knew to use, now they’re tightening the screws and dropping down hard on fake users.

    Went on a bit of a tangent but I think you can see my point here. This is where market demand lies and we need to face it. You can’t scapegoat a website over having these products when the predominant market has these products.

  6. Hey miyuru,

    Just checked the stats.. As Nuwan said this is only a combination of the total pages. I think you should correct that on the article cause it is misleading. And someone in Sri Lanka is getting that much of likes in short amount of time im sure our analysis people will notice it. 😉

    Total local fans are 41563 😀

  7. If ksyamu is prkkotimg sometimg they should take up the responsibility. Just CZ a person cannot afford that doaent mean you should crappy products! Give them sometimg else alternative solid. Kayamunb is a cheap crappy site. Ikman and rest are maintaining their standards.

  8. “One inevitably wonders what Dr Dre or the Samsung marketing team would have to say about an international e-commerce franchise promoting rip-offs. Food for thought!”

    Do you know a site called E-bay??? If you a fair writer you would have compare major e-commerce sites before write. This represent the personal view point.

    Do you know sell Malaysian Lenses ?? 50% cheaper than the original prices.

  9. Their customer service is a joke, one of the worsts sites I’ve ever come through. You have to go begging after them to get details about your order. I ordered from them once and that was my last aswell.

  10. Kaymu platform is a paradise for dodgy shops that enjoy the fact that kaymu taking no action and no responsibilty when you get a fake product .as my cell phone.fake model hidden by sticker and not working.from my ecperience that means this company wont last too long.facebook promotions wont help as long as the suppliers will keep the frauds under name.


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