My people have this phrase. They use it when you just have to say something. It doesn’t matter whether you mean what you are saying or not. You just say because you have to. It is much like the automatic response after a greeting. The “how are you?” you offer without even waiting to hear the response. The default action. The phrase is “ka anyi mepu onu Africa”. When a person suffers some kind of loss, our “mepelonuafricanism” takes center stage as we offer consolation.
So it was that when a few days ago, Linda Ikeji’s Bog was pulled down, most people – including the Mr Ayedee who took steps that led to her blog being pulled down in the first place – came out to felicitate with her. One thing everyone kept saying is that knowing Ms Ikeji’s resilence, she will bounce back and become something bigger and better.
Most people hinge their belief on the fact that LIB has great followership. One source says she gets as much as 50,000 page hits a day. Those are definitely the type of statistics a blogger’s dreams are made of. She acquired her followership, which is cult like, by taking advantage of a vacuum. She had and still has a native sense of the type of stories that appeal to Nigerians. In street speak: Gossip. And she served it in street speak. Reading her blog, one would imagine her seated on a bench at the market place clapping as she tells tales to her hypnotized audience. She has a nose for finding the right gossip.
And that’s where it ends.
I was having a conversation with a friend the other day and he said something which I am going to repeat here. Linda should not be the CEO of her own company. She can be chairman but not the CEO. I agree with him. If she is going to return bigger and better, her ‘bouncebackability’ will be highly dependent on her employing someone else to make business decisions for her- certainly not her family members.
All through this saga, she has demonstrated that her mind does not work like that of a CEO: From waiting to the last minute to try to acquire a domain name when she had the threat of a take down from Google hanging around her neck, to the not well thought out my-side-of-the-story blogpost(s) she has been putting up. All I can see clearly from all this is either that she has lacked necessary legal and personal counsel or she is rude to the point of silliness and lacks redemption. I am inclined to vote for the former.
How will hiring a CEO help her?
For starters it will give her some structure. If she finds the right CEO, they will hire the right hands who will within the shortest possible time turn out the same stories she er…takes…rewritten following their ‘house style’ which she and her team will fashion out (that’s her forte anyway) and still present to her readers.
Secondly, her CEO (I would vote she hires someone with legal experience) will ensure best practices. It is quite obvious that her ego may never let her build a relationship with the sources (websites, agents, individuals) of her stories. She needs a new ‘face’ that will reach out to these people and form a relationship with them.
Thirdly, hiring a CEO will help with her rebranding. It is very important that she cleans up her blog and presents a new front that says: this is what we used to be and now this is who we are. As it is, she has come to stand for, I’m sorry but there is no good way to say this, the face of a content thief. She needs to make herself scarce for a while so we can see a new face and perhaps forget her for a bit.
In all this let us not forget that the crowd following her is not enough to make her rich. She needs brands to support her. Of course brands go where the people go but nobody is too big to be dropped by a brand when they become enmeshed in too much controversy. Remember Tiger woods?
As it is now, brands associated with her must be having a rethink. She has to demonstrate that going forward something like this will not happen again. This is yet another reason why she needs to keep herself out of the news for a bit. The more we talk about this issue, the more her name comes up under searches for copyright infringement, plagiarism and content theft. She needs to step back.
Do I think she will bounce back and become bigger? I do not know. It all depends on what she chooses to do from this point. Remember, My Ayedee may have started this but it does not end with him. Plus moving forward, people will be on the look out to ensure that she does not keep taking content with the impunity that says asking permission before taking someone’s intellectual property is “laughable”.
She really must stop playing the victims card and sort out her house. In the words of the legendary Bob Marley, “You can fool some of the people some of the time but you can’t fool all the people all the time”. She may have succeeded in fooling some people into believing that by casting aspersions on the person of Mr Ayedee she will divert attention from the real issues, but she can’t fool everyone into accepting this is all about the obsession of someone who wants to bring her down so she can notice him. No, this is about plagiarism, content theft and copyright infringement. Like a friend said “eyes on the ball people”.