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Maybe For You, Nothing Is Sacred Anymore
Edward Suhadi comment 6 Comments

There’s a little rowdy conversation on the Twitterverse this morning.

As it happens, Zalora Indonesia, a huge online retailer (with a giant financial backing) in Indonesia is buying Google advertising based on keyword search of “” – Zalora even put up a domain “”. Have a look at this screenshot here:

Now, is a brand of a local, small but sexy online retailer owned by my good friend Riana Bismarak. The brand and the business and Riana have been getting multiple awards for being one of the most successful branding and startups on Indonesia’s online shopping landscape. She has been featured in many articles and magazines because of this entrepeneurship achievement, building something so catchy, so successful, in just such a short time. The brand ‘belowcepek’ is synonymous with great value, great style, local made, friendly, lean and fast, your next-door inspiring woman entrepeneur venture.

So basically, Zalora strategy is misdirecting some of the traffic googling ‘belowcepek’ to their website. Aptly named:

Which, I must say, is such a low, gross, despicable, way of doing business. I think I was gagging the first time I found out about this.

And as it so happens, this is not the first time for Zalora to do this. Read this article about how Zalora do the same thing to other brand names.

The cherry on top is how they respond to an email complaining about the keyword ads according to the article:

We are not in breach of Google’s policy here as it does not cover display URL. I understand your frustration but these campaigns actually work very well for us.



“We’re not doing anything wrong according to the rules. I know you’re pissed, but hey, we don’t care that we’re misleading your customers! I mean have you seen the numbers? KA-CHING!”

Is it wrong what they did? No. Would I do that for my own company strategy? Not in a million years.

I once said that “We may not be the biggest or the most expensive company around, but I promise you this: Here we will always be honorable for who we are and we will always be respected for the work that we do.”

Remember leaders, bosses, entrepeneurs, and even fathers:

If you teach your team to lie, cheat, stab and steal from your customers or clients, what does that say about how you will treat them later when the time is tough?

If I was working for someone like that, I’ll resign as fast as I could. God knows what this boss will do to me next. Can you read this Zalora employees?

Yes, the competition is tough. In today’s climate, in any field, there’s always tough competition and big rivals. But there is a huge difference in achieving success from being smart and inspiring, and success from being low and unethical.

A memorable quote from John Maxwell: “There’s is no such thing as ‘business ethics’. There is just ‘ethics’.”

Meaning: How you treat others in business is how you treat others in life. Which I found out to be ultimately true.

For a lot of people, nothing is sacred anymore, as long as it rakes the money in.

For some, it’s a little bit more complicated than that.

Meanwhile, after an array of bad publicity from all the tweets condemning the pathetic move, Zalora pull the ad down and said in its account: “Sorry for the inconvenience. Kami memahami situasi yg terjadi saat ini&sdng berkordinasi u/ mereview Dynamic Keyword Insertion yg digunakan.”

‘Dynamic’ my ass.

I won’t even buy a step-on mat from you Zalora.

And to you Riana: Keep on going girl. Hold the spirit high 🙂

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  1. Make no mistake. It’s been Zalora’s strategy all along. Never ever buy into their apology. Let alone bull “dynamic keyword insertion”. They are full aware of what they’re doing and it’s their intention to ride on other brands popularity for their own benefits. Or so they thought.