When Linda Ikeji started blogging in 2006, she never envisioned the amount of success it would become, neither had she the slightest hint that she will become a role model entrepreneur to a teaming amount of unemployed Nigerian youths. “I started blogging out of passion. Something I never thought I could make money from.” Linda has over the years, managed to carve a niche for herself as a blogger extraordinaire, and also enlightened Nigerians to the business of blogging. What started as a hobby for her is today valued to be worth N1.1Billion.
Having been a model for eight years, Linda attempted a career in journalism, but this did little for her livelihood. Linda developed an interest for, and started blogging after reading a story of herself on BellaNaija, one of Nigeria’s most popular blogs. Like most start-up entrepreneurs, Linda faced common challenges in the birth of a business; her blog, www.lindaikeji.blogspot.com, didn’t garner attention or profit until August 2010, when someone sent her a mail requesting for her advert rate.
“I started blogging 2006, and I didn’t start getting that many readers until 2007. I ran the blog for like four years without making money, but August 2010, someone sent me a mail and said can I have your advert rates? And I was like what does that mean? I had to call another friend of mine who was a blogger and I asked him, what’s an advert rate?” she said during an interview on The Juice.
Having acquired knowledge of what an advert rate is, Linda started off charging paltry sums for adverts broadcast on her blog until a company offered her a huge proposal for an advert. Then it dawned on her what great business opportunity lay in her hobby – blogging. Now she charges up to $8000 a month, for specific ad spaces on her blog, handling PR services to the most premium brands in Nigeria and even for government agencies. This is in recognition of the amount of followership her blog commands, both within Nigeria and the Diaspora.
Linda’s blog has become a one-stop for many Nigerians to get first-hand information, as well as a content provider for other blogs. Through her Blog, she has become a voice for social change, making impact to the lives of several Nigerians and Africans in General. In 2012, she published a story of a 19-year-old girl, Blessing Effiong, who was unlawfully detained for four years. Linda also went ahead to get Miss Effiong out of prison, with the help of a few influential friends.
As an activist, Linda has consistently called for justice on the case of the gruesome ‘ALUU4’ murder, a tragic case of the brutal killing of four undergraduate students of the University of Port-Harcourt. The young men were killed on the 5th of October 2012, by a mob of villagers and local vigilante over an alleged theft case. On the 5th day of every month, Linda puts up a reminder on her blog that Justice is yet to be served for the death of those young men. Her latest post on the 5th of February reads, “RIP to the sons, brothers and friends we lost on October 5, 2012, in the Aluu community of Rivers state. Still no justice! Still we wait!”
Linda is also involved in several philanthropic activities. Last year, she donated the sum of N1Million at the Future Awards, to fight the Ebola disease which ravaged some West-African countries for most of the second half of last year. In her words, “I want to give back to the society. I feel like I am 10 per cent done, I haven’t done 90 per cent. That’s the way I feel. Hopefully in another 2 years, I will accomplish another 40 to 60 per cent. Before I turn 40, ultimately I would have accomplished 100 per cent,” she said in a recent interview. Kind and generous, her spontaneous Linda Ikeji Blog (LIB) Giveaway, where she doles out cash and other gift items to her teaming fans, is something her visitors look forward to.
Linda is dubbed the ‘Queen of controversy’, since her business thrives on the broadcast of controversial stories. She has had run-ins with celebrities, and the law. Not too long ago, her blog was shut down by Google on a report of Intellectual Property Theft and Plagiarism. When contacted on the deletion of the blog, Google’s Communication and Public Affairs Manager for Anglo-West Africa, Kola Ogunlade, released a statement at the time, saying “Google is dedicated to offering users the best possible experience across our products. We take violations of policies very seriously as such activities diminish the experience for our users. When we are notified of the existence of content that may violate our Terms of Service, we act quickly to review it and determine whether it actually violates our policies. If we determine that it does, we remove it immediately.”
Though her blog has since been restored, the infamous shutdown served as an indicator of how much influence Linda wields and how much her blog meant to the average Nigerian and African. While it felt like good news to her rivals who saw the incident as an opportunity to dethrone the queen of Nigeria’s information cyberspace, she also had a large number of supporters who stood solidly behind her through that trying time.
Linda got back on cyberspace, bigger and better. Learning from the unfortunate incident, she has employed professional hands, owing to the visible changes on how posts are updated on the blog. And the attention paid to the authenticity of stories, as well as giving due credits to outsourced information. Today her blog is number one news content blog in Nigeria; it is ranked at the 13th position on Alexa.com.
Through a combination of hard-work, consistency, innovative thinking, and creativity, Linda has over the years been able to prove that there are viable business opportunities around us. She is a member of the prestigious Future Awards Alumni. In 2012, she won the award for Young Personality of the Year, and in 2014, she copped a double as Outstanding Blogger of The Year and Best Gossip & Gist Blog at the Media Broad Awards.