Thoughts on the Google’s Techmela: A Tech-nical Oversight

Living on the internet, as the most of us do, we are used to brands coining new terms in hopes that they become trends on Twitter. The latest effort in the Pakistani Twitterverse is the phrase #techmela by the folks at Google.

The Google-powered “Techmela”  ( technology bazaar ) is being advertised as the biggest online technology shopping festival with exclusive partnership with as the site hosting the sale.

On the surface, it seems like the Public Relations team was sleeping on the job with the slow spread of the announcement of the “biggest” shopping event.  Aside from the few tech-celebs cut-and-pasting a press release, there was little to go by on what differentiates this online sale from the thousands of products being sold to Pakistanis everyday.

As for the assumption that this particular Google-backed and Telenor-backed event is some sort of technological Messiah for the fledgling E-Commerce domain in Pakistan – I seriously doubt it. 

Granted, when you throw in money by the way Telenor and Google, things will happen. I have to ask though –  How is exclusively supporting one vendor when there are thousands of individual small business people in Pakistan selling their products and services online have any positive outcome on the adoption of e-commerce?  This is nothing but a purely commercial event being touted as a social development.

If you are Google Pakistan, Telenor and any other stakeholder seriously invested in E-Commerce, listen up! The success of the E-commerce domain in Pakistan requires the following scenarios to be considered.

  • If online users are not purchasing products, it is not because there aren’t the right products or even the right discounts being offered. The number one barrier to purchasing online is the inaccessibility to e-banking or mobile banking solutions – especially for unemployed women. 
  • Another reason that online users are not purchasing online is that even if they do select a product, the e-commerce vendor ( here I am referring to a small business person, not a Kaymu or Daraz) has little to no access to payment solutions such as door-to-door credit/debit card payment solutions. One example would be Monet’s Swipe2Pay mobile point-of-sale service, which can be a viable solution but they are bit vague on how to go about offering their services to small businesses at this moment in time. Such a solution would erase the anxiety that small business face when trying to sell wares to a distant location when Cash on Delivery is simply not an option.

Until the small business persons/merchants are empowered to sell their wares and receive payment from across the nation, the E-commerce domain will continue to be monopolised by the few and the connected.

As for the Google Techmela? IMHO, it is an amateurish attempt at capitalising on the earnest efforts of the tech and banking industry to bridge the gaps in the e-commerce domain. is Alive! + <3 + Fix Online Payment Methods

This story contains a roller coaster of emotions – the thrill of creation (when the Catalyst Woman was conceived), the excitement of the chase ( choosing a blogging platform, had to be, the nervousness setting in ( as I opted for a payment method to map my pre-purchased domain to the blog) and much more.

Here’s a little background: I was pleased to find out that today marks my 9th Anniversary with

Superb news! I have opted for every time I needed to create content, be it for work or for play; despite brief flirtations towards others (Tumblr, Blogger, lookin’ at ya).

However, this celebration was tad bittersweet. Reason being that since I live in Pakistan, I had opted to sync up my pre-purchased domain  [] with my pre-existing blog here on It was all pretty simple until the payments method for the Domain Mapping/Hosting options came up.

Since Paypal has YET to support Pakistani potential consumers, the only other option available was to try out a credit card or debit card. That I did. However, my Pakistan-based debit/credit cards (Visa-Shisa, Mastercard -Shastercard)  were a no-go.

This was over 6 months ago!  The normal route would be to pull a favor from a friend based in the North America and wire them the equivalent amount.  Alternatively, it would be to transfer over my blog to another service that is more accessible for a Pakistani-based content producer.

I was in a tough spot.


I LOATHE unnecessary favors.  You never know when you’ll need to cash one in, a.k.a. Alien attack scenario.

Work took over, Life took over and the decision was hanging there –  untaken. 

Fast-forward to the present:  I share my delight on marking 9 years with ( 10 years blogging officially) on Twitter.  A friend gently reminds that it may be time to graduate to the big leagues (Thanks Faisal). I share that indeed I have a domain waiting in the vault, but without all the gory detail shared with you here. <3

Couple of hours later, I get an e-mail from Rachel, a Happiness Engineer at, who noticed the tweet and gifted me a generous amount of credits on account of the anniversary!   So Awesome!  

Viktor Frankenstein Moment
My Apologies, Mary Shelley

I instantly plugged in the credits and now is  ALIVE!  *cue Dr. Viktor Frankenstein* I mean the site is LIVE. 

Kudos,, kudos!

While this is a great development and I am immensely grateful, I do have a request.

Can you ( Team) look into alternative payment methods/options for your loyal Pakistani consumers? 

We use MasterCard/Visa  debit and credit cards that work internationally and many of us who work/freelance/ telecommute online  are paid via Skrill or Payoneer.  These are all quick, easy and pain-free payment methods that will make keeping us global workers engaged with and all the much easier.  It would make sense to continue your exemplary customer experience by sorting out this payments issue in an Emerging Market like Pakistan.

Waiting to hear back from my friends at

Meanwhile, I have a site to work on.