Case | HBS Case Collection | June 2012 (Revised March 2014)

I Paid a Bribe (Dot) Com

by Karthik Ramanna and Rachna Tahilyani

Abstract

Anti-corruption web platform "ipaidabribe.com" leverages the transparency and anonymity of the Internet to encourage private citizens in India who have been the victims of corruption to self-report details of bribes paid, including the bribe amount, the name of the corrupt official, and services rendered. The ipaidabribe.com portal then aggregates these data to create maps and charts of corrupt activities across Indian cities. The theory is that such data will build awareness and shame, raising the cost of corruption. But after initial successes—buoyed by visibility generated from mass street protests against corruption in 2011—traffic to the website has slowed. The question before spouses, ex-bankers, and ipaidabribe.com co-founders Ramesh and Swati Ramanathan is how to generate and sustain interest in the web platform so that they have real impact on retail corruption in India. Possible solutions discussed include teaming up with local governments and police, focusing attention on one or two Indian cities, and franchising ipaidabribe.com internationally to create more visibility.

Keywords: Crime and Corruption; Web Sites; Ethics; Service Industry; India;

Citation:

Ramanna, Karthik, and Rachna Tahilyani. "I Paid a Bribe (Dot) Com ." Harvard Business School Case 112-078, June 2012. (Revised March 2014.)