If you were online, especially on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, in the last few weeks, you would have likely witnessed the whole Linda Ikeji blog shutdown brouhaha.
Being such a famous blog, when a site like Linda’s goes down, people go into panic mode, gossip mode, accusation mode, and all manner of thoughts and words will fill the blogosphere just to make sense of it all.
Over a very short 24 – 72 hour period, even those who had never heard of Linda Ikeji or her blog’s success were forced to pay attention to the drama of Google’s shutdown of a popular blog.
Add to that, scandalous claims, and back and forth write ups attacking and defending the subject of this sudden take down, and you have what we in the business of Internet marketing and web publicity often refer to as “The Perfect Storm”.
You see, the end result of a brouhaha like that is usually only one major thing: instant fame locally and across the world via social media and the general web, constant site visits to the affected domain into the tens of thousands (and very possibly millions), and the eventual short and long term branding of a name some may have either forgotten, never heard of before, or were not fully focused on for months or years.
With a scandal like this, which was suddenly “cleared up” within mere hours by an unexpected confession from the very person who claims to have started the attacks that led to this media circus, you gain FOR FREE, the kind of advertising some companies have to spend tens of thousands of DOLLARS on throughout a full year to get even close to the kind of instant fame that was generated here within mere hours.
And for me, that threw up some red flags instantly, and prompted an immediate investigation into whether or not this could have been the publicity stunt of 2014 played out so far, rather successfully before our very eyes.
Now before I continue, let me make it clear that I respect anyone, especially in this case a person like Linda Ikeji, who puts their name out there in front of millions of people around the world as legitimate internet entrepreneurs.
Why? Well being one of Nigeria’s first ever globally recognized Internet entrepreneurs myself, having gotten involved in successfully creating and selling my own ebooks about online marketing since as far back as 1999, I know what it means to have your claims doubted and your story scrutinized by millions of people who don’t know you personally.
So, I must make it crystal clear that this is in no way a personal attack targeted at Linda Ikeji or her friends.
I was in truth one of those hundreds or thousands who publicly sent tweets to Linda showing support during a tough time. Which is why I was alarmed, concerned, deeply interested, and eventually quite frankly disappointed by the saga that the Ikeji-Aye Dee incident created.
In all honesty, I felt betrayed after reading all of the “confessions” that were posted by Linda and Aye Dee. To have my trust and interest toyed with like that IS NOT something Linda should ever take lightly. In fact, I believe strongly that an open letter of apology still needs to be written to all fans and well-wishers who were tricked into investing in this scandal at all.
I feel as though we were all played and all this noise was created to force millions of people to pay attention to the Linda Ikeji blog.
So, What Really Happened Here? Were Nigerians scammed into believing a fabricated falling out just to get Linda’s ratings & site visits up? I realize that is a bold accusation and I do NOT make it lightly.
I therefore humbly invite Linda and Aye Dee to respond if they so desire because I have some rather startling, though speculative, information to share that requires their input for things to be clarified.
Inconclusive Evidence #1:
After some research, I found that the Linda Ikeji blog had been losing site visits loosely estimated into the hundreds of thousands monthly over the past 13 months to the tune of close to 1 million monthly site visits lost within that time. The screen shot on the link below is from a little known Internet-based investigative site which estimates (from the outside) the number of non-unique visits to popular web sites like Linda’s blog. See the screenshot here.
As you can see from the image shown above, Linda’s blog visits appear to have been on a steady decline for over a year.
If that estimate is accurate to any degree, then it stands to reason that if her blog’s popularity was on a steady decline, it would only be wise to do something urgently to ensure those precious site visits are immediately restored or even dramatically increased, to block off any loss or possible loss of income as a result of less and less traffic visiting Linda’s blog.
Now as I stated, this is a speculative deduction as I am not an inside source and have not performed inside forensic analysis on her blog traffic or income from her site. But any expert internet marketing analyst will tell you there is reason here to suspect some form of “foul play” as if indeed her site traffic was on a steady decline so would her income (eventually), which would likely prompt an attempt to regain any loss in popularity.
So, did Linda and/or her friend Aye Dee see this constant declining trend and then plan a fictitious reason to regain the lost attention to Linda’s blog and even catapult it to greater fame than it had in the past? You have to agree this is a possibility especially in light of the “confession” by Aye Dee and a clarification of whether or not the trust of loyal readers has in any way been tampered with in an attempt to rescue a slowly dying blog.
Inconclusive Evidence #2:
The domain name change from the free URL lindaikeji.blogspot.com as we all agree (Linda included) is something that should have taken place much sooner than it eventually did. However according to Linda’s own statements, she never bothered to make the change since most of her most obvious choices had already been taken up by cybersquatters. Well, it turns out that one of those cybersquatters was her mentor and friend Aye Dee. So then I am forced to ask the following rather obvious question…
Why on earth would a mentor and friend purchase a relevant domain name years before their alleged rift and not pass that to his friend and mentee for her required needs?
It simply doesn’t add up that Aye Dee purchased such a valuable domain name (lindaikeji.net) since 2011 and yet did not release it to his friend immediately upon his purchase when it made sense to do so. Now, three years or so later, that same domain name is what he offers as part of a peace offering to “help Linda get her blog back on top”.
All of this barely 24 hours into the ruckus of her blog being shut down. Something is definitely out of whack here.
My theory: Either Linda or Aye Dee or both decided it would be best to effect the domain change only after a scandal like what we just experienced would force the world to pay attention to Linda’s blog at the time of the change.
Why wait for the latter?
Well, recall that Linda’s blog was already haemorrhaging huge amounts of traffic and/or visits monthly. It would therefore be foolhardy and downright dangerous to effect a domain name change that could easily and very likely result in even greater loss of traffic.
Most online users have such poor attention spans that if a domain name change is made suddenly and quietly thousands of visitors would lose interest within minutes or days if they are unable to access the blog via an old name they are used to and then are forced to find out where the new site has been moved to. Many people simply won’t bother.
So, rather than risk further heavy losses in traffic, it would make sense to for example to create a situation in which all eyes would be on the old blog’s domain being shut down, and then Linda would of course be forced to find a new name and relocate in order to carry along all her old and new readers.
The incidents of the past few days and weeks look too much like a set up to invoke interest in a dying blog and make a long needed change to its brand without risking any loss in traffic and thus income.
Now while rejuvenating a dying site or creating interest in a changing brand are not wrong in any way, the way in which this is done is what must be carefully considered, analysed and reflected upon to ensure the people’s trust and loyalty that has helped make Linda famous has not in any way, shape or form been betrayed by the need to retain her income.
I therefore invite Linda and friends to clear up any misconceptions their actions over these past days may have created.
Was this scandal real or faked?
If it was faked then that is a breach of trust and should never happen again as if that kind of betrayal is allowed to go on unchecked many more will soon follow possibly by the subject of this article and thousands more bloggers and site owners who would readily do anything illegal or unethical just to get attention and make a quick buck or two.
If none of the actions taken were as a result of a conspiracy to defraud the public into believing a false rocus, then please take the time to prove what happened was not pre-planned.
How? Show screen shots of a thriving blog’s traffic, show proof of messages that Aye Dee claims to have sent a year or so ago proving this was not a recent development that was planned to garner undeserved attention. Share any other proof that can be showcased for the public’s own scrutiny.
All this is necessary to guarantee others’ actions at getting justice from sites like Google, attracting deserved attention and gaining popularity through ethical means are not lumped into a negative box alongside faked plagiarism claims and possibly faked scandals as may be the case here.
For the guarantee of the belief in the integrity of Internet entrepreneurs within Nigeria especially, this issue must NOT be swept under the carpet.
Kunle Olomofe is an Internet entrepreneur, author and marketing and publicity coach. He can be reached at [email protected] Twitter: @kunleolomofe.