What Business Lessons Can We Learn from Linda Ikeji’s Blog Being Deleted?

What Business Lessons Can We Learn From Linda Ikeji's Blog Being Deleted?

One of the biggest blogs in Nigeria is by a woman named Linda Ikeji, and her namesake site is in the top 10,000 in the world. It’s a gossip blog, brings in close to $1 million a year and gets millions of pageviews a month. It has a huge and dedicated following and it was on Blogspot.


Linda Ikeji blog removed

Today on October 8, the website was removed by Google because of claims of copyright infringement. A space worth $1 million is gone just like that. It turns out that Linda Ikeji wasn’t running a tight operation that the revenue she was generating deserved. It seems she played herself because she had taken no steps to protect what she created and the cards came tumbling down. The website African Music Law wrote about it.

The more information that I find out about how the blog was run, the more obvious it is that Linda wasn’t doing business the right way. And there are so many lessons to take away from all of this. We shouldn’t repeat the mistakes she did so below are some tips we all need to learn from this.

Build a website on a space you pay for

When you pay for a website, it is a form of ownership. What this comes with is more control and more rights. With everything, ownership is of utmost importance. This is why Intellectual Property law is so important. Our ideas are great but the person who can say they own something has the value.

Blogspot is owned by Google and it is their free blogging platform. It’s great because it’s really easy to use and it’s tied to your Gmail account so there are no extra logins. It’s not so great because it does not look so professional. But mostly, it’s because users are tied to Google’s Terms of Services (the long thing we all agree to that none of us read). So when you sign up for a blog on Blogspot, you’re agreeing to whatever Google wants you to. You are at their mercy and they do not owe you due process if they decide you’ve done something to violate their TOS. They can snatch it back at their will.

So when Google deleted Linda’s blog, she didn’t have much recourse or any leg to stand on. This is why I say Blogspot is good for BEGINNING bloggers. But don’t sit there for 7 years just because you don’t wanna pay hosting fees (which for Linda, would probably be a couple grand a month but she was making more than enough to cover that). As a paying customer, you get more rights. Your host can’t delete you without warning or for any reason. PAY. FOR. YOUR. WEBSITE. Your surreal estate is valuable.

“Using free blog spaces is like planting food on land you do not own. You could lose everything for any reason.” – @PoppaString

dumbledore_welp gif

Related post: Blogging 101: Picking a platform (Tumblr, Blogspot or Tumblr)

Buy your custom domains

I have already written an entire blogpost on why you need to buy your custom domain (URL) but it is worth repeating. Linda Ikeji’s blog address was lindaikeji.blogspot.com. Why did she not have LindaIkeji.com or LindaIkeji.org or LindaIkeji.ng (the domain for Nigeria) or .CO or even .Net? Because other people (yes multiple) had bought them before she had. In fact, the .NG version was just snapped up last month by someone. This is utter carelessness because it doesn’t get much more basic Website 101 than to have a URL that is branded to you.

Now if she tried to get any of these URLs, sellers will charge her thousands of dollars for it, instead of the $12.99 she would have paid if she got them from a regular domain registrar. Like everything else in the world, money talks and people have created careers and their own wealth from buying and selling valuable URLs.

BUY. YOUR. NAME. and your kids’ too while you’re at it. They’ll thank you.

Related post: Why You Should Own Your Name’s Custom URL and How To Buy It

Invest in your business

Beyond domains and hosting, any and all businesses need to have owners who are willing to put up money to make them run smoothly. Linda Ikeji was able to build wealth in her business (great for her) but she did it with very little overhead costs, it looks like. And that might actually be more expensive to her in the long run. Money saved today when you’re being too cheap can cause multiples of that money to need to be spent in the future.

Oprah welp

It’s like if you buy a car that you don’t get serviced and you skip oil changes. Well the engine might go out and that car might run down and quit way before it is supposed to because it wasn’t properly maintained. Same for your business. It’s like having health insurance so you won’t have to pay so much out of pocket if you ever need surgery.

If you’re pulling in millions a year, hire a webmaster who can maintain your site. Hire someone to manage your ads. Get a lawyer on retainer to ensure that you’re legally covered. Make sure you have an accountant so your money is straight. FIRE YOURSELF and hire professionals to do their job so you can concentrate on making sure your business/blog is putting out great content.

Related post: When You Run Your Own Business, Sometimes You Have to Fire Yourself

Plagiarism is not prospering

Linda has apparently been plagued with allegations of plagiarism for years. YEARS. I don’t read her blog so I don’t know how much content she lifted from other sites but according to Uduak’s law blog, she’s been sued numerous times. And finally, it is this particular allegation, coming from a @MrAyeDee that got her blog pulled.

Oop Cat gif

Linda’s response was in a post where she actually admitted to stealing content but her defense is that Bossip, Daily Mail and other websites plagiarize too. Ma’am, that’s not how you handle this. WHERE IS OLIVIA POPE?? You can’t go to court and tell the judge that the crime you committed wasn’t as bad because everyone else was doing it. See? If she had a lawyer or even a PR person, she would have been advised to make a better statement.

Also, just because she is not the only blog that plagiarizes does not mean that it is okay.

What is important to learn is that stealing from others’ work is a huge legal liability to you. Taking someone else’s work and intellectual property is a problem that can cost you what you’ve built (as you see here) and actual money (not to mention that it’s ethically wrong). If sued and she loses, Linda might have to cough up hundred of thousands of dollars. Also, it turns out that she hadn’t incorporated as a business entity, which means her personal assets (her own money) could also be lost in one judgment. That brings me to the next point.

Furthermore, plagiarizing reeks of your own inability to be original. And that brings very little respect.

Related post: A Guide to Intellectual Property, Copyrights and Trademarks for Businesses, Blogs and Brands

Backup your blog and website

Before Google erased Linda’s blog, she should have done a backup so she had all her posts in an XML format, which she can upload elsewhere. Without a backup, you lose years and countless hours of work. Did she do it? Not sure but we can only hope. I’ve been blogging for 11 years. If I lost all my posts because of a hacker or a takedown, I’d probably quit and become a farmer. That is too much stuff to have to recreate.

Nope 2

Illustration by Gemma Correll

Related post: How to Backup Your Blogger or WordPress Site

Success means more detractors

Linda is not the only person plagiarizing and this does not make what she did remotely ok. However, the post she did of her new $150,000 car definitely brought more heat her way. Why? Because mo’ money, mo’ problems, and more success, more detractors. It seems that seeing her boast about her car added fuel to the fire that some of her archnemeses were stoking already. She has all the right to brag if she wants but when your house is made of tin foil, you might want to be more careful.

However, Google did not shut Linda Ikeji down because she bought a car. Those are not grounds for deletion. So although she has detractors, she has also mishandled her business.

I take no pleasure in seeing her work being erased because, honestly there are too few Black women who can say they’re pulling in that much money from their web properties. However, it seems she might have built her site and following through copying and pasting other peoples’ and if that’s the case it’s a shame.

Dishonor gif

One of her biggest mistakes is that she didn’t have ownership of her web property. She didn’t have ownership of her website, nor of her name. I do hope she rebuilds and I hope she learns certain lessons from this. The main lesson is that she needs to do better and handle her business smarter (and stealing is WRONG). There was too much hustling backwards at play here.

Linda Ikeji and her fans have accused people of just hating on her success. I’m sure some people are but it’s clear that her negligence as a businesswoman has led to a lot of what’s happening here. She should take accountability, humble herself and do better with whatever her next move is. According to her Twitter account, she’s creating a new website.

Although she has this huge name and she can get a new website, it’s like trying to rebuild after your house burns to the ground. It will take some serious work and there’s no way you can recoup all your losses. But good luck to her on that.

My boy Folabi (@Folabi24) had this gem to drop and it’s so apt.

“Goes back to what I call our orientation in that part of the world. I call it ‘African Store Mentality.’ Check out many of these so-called African Stores; they are rarely well maintained, even when they make decent profits. Meanwhile, the owners of this establishment drives around in exotic cars which they publicize and go to church to do thanksgiving for how well Jesus is blessing their hustle, even as the business environment look terribly in need of better maintenance.

And then when the city or whatever government comes and slams their business with fines, they’d cry foul, that “this white people are evil,” or that their jealous enemies have used juju to undermine their business. As it with with government, so it citizens. An oil-rich Nigeria with poorly maintained oil refineries so bad it has to import her own refined gasoline.

Linda is out there throwing out missives about jealous opportunists who reported her and who bought-up all available variations of her name online, from .COM, to .ORG, etc. The carelessness is hers. She should own it and stop making kindergarten excuses.”

That’s a perfect way to close this. Sound off and let me know your thoughts (respectfully).

Update: the blog is now back up as of the evening of October 9. However, I still stand by everything I say here. 

What Business Lessons Can We Learn From Linda Ikeji's Blog Being Deleted?

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  • Wow. I’ve never heard of her either but WOW! I’m definitely in awe of her ability to make her business fly at that level. Thanks for this post though. You brought up a couple of things that I need to take care of sooner rather than later. My blog is small but that’s not the long-term plan so I need to tighten up my business ASAP. Good lessons.

  • Okay I must confess I love your blog, stumbled across it on Twitter reading the whole lindaikeji mess. I know her blog and it always baffled me why she never invested in it or stop using free blogger. I hope she learns her lessons, I just became a fan of your blog. I blog too as a hobby, and I’m into Tech Bloging http://www.techmymoney.com I consume a lot of Tech News so I decided to start a blog. I started with free blogger and in a month I taught my self the basics to get hosted site and unlimited hosting server. She better hire writers and learn the trade of blogging.

  • Question I have a blog masked by a paid domain name but run on Blogger… Should I leave for wordpress? It’s that blogger single sign-on ease. My concern is this blogger blog also has the largest traffic and highest Google performance of all my endeavors with almost no effort… Should I stay or should I go?

    • leave as fast as you can and redirect your old blog to your new site. I did that when I was on blogger. I had to move because you had to be good to be taken serious as a Tech Blogger. WordPress is easy to learn and get a hang of

    • luvvie

      Yes, leave for WordPress. Even though you have your domain (good), you’re still on Blogger.

  • bankelele

    While I have not plagiarized content, I’ve also made a few mistakes as Linda did and which you nicely pointed out here including staying on blogger for many years even as the blog came to have some significant digital & networking value, not buying my domains in time (at least I’m now on bankelele.co.ke) and not investing in hosting till recently. Thanks for sharing these lessons!

  • well said. you ve said it all

  • Berry Dakara

    I wrote a post about this too but not nearly as detailed. Wow, 11 years of blogging!!! Definitely taking notes from you!


    • luvvie

      Even after 11 years of being at this, I am still learning lessons every single day.

  • This is sad news for Linda. It reminds me about a guy I read about years ago who embraced all things Google and lost everything when they shut down his accounts, no Adsense, no Gmail, no access to his calendar. He had literally put all his eggs in one basket.

    I may not blog often or have a large readership but I have always believed in buying my own space. Even if reports a post to an web host you have time to backup your ish before things get messy. Google just get a complaint and hit the delete button. Shame.

  • I had a Blogger site and it was great but I’m so much more comfortable with my self-hosted WordPress site. Sure I pay for it but it’s mine and I can do anything I want with it. Oh and back up everything. Every. Thing.

  • Pamela Jenkins

    Great Advice Luvvie!

  • Great source of information! Bookmarked under “Boss’d Up” folder.

  • Pingback: Is Linda Ikeji Finished? | The Gist Magazine()

  • Val B

    Truth all the way around Luvvie. Thanks for sharing this real life case study.

  • enyibinakata

    So she had $150k to spend on a new car but not a few 1000s to spend on a web host etc. She clearly got high on her own supply. In a sharp contrast, Mark Zuckerberg is worth over 20 billion but drives a VW golf. Its all about priorities, Linda was extremely naive and utterly careless. I dont believe she will recover from this, her brand is tarnished for good.

    Thanks for sharing this, we entrepreneurial African’s have to wise up.

  • Tonwapiri Anthony

    Hello Luvvie (can’t help but feel a bit too familiar when I say that, lol) Thanks for this great article. I enjoyed every word and I’ve learnt a lot more than what I posted on my blog on this same topic. Well done. Subscribing…

    • luvvie

      It’s cool. Everyone calls me Luvvie.

  • Donna Foreverserenity

    Wow. I have never heard of her blog either. But wow!! Thank you for sharing it Luvvie, and thanks for the reminders. That is why I’m working on building and branding my own. It ain’t easy in these blogosphere but making it your own, great advice!

  • Msajai

    awesome come up but the shadiness of the plagerism was always going to be the karma map to her downfall #damndamndamn

  • Adebola

    Valuable insight! The importance of Intellectual Property(IP) Strategy for start-ups (essentially technology based firms) cannot be over emphasized, and it is not expensive to execute as often imagined by start-up founders.This is lesson for all.

  • MN Stephens

    Love, love this article. As someone who runs a business myself, and has purchased domain, and is fluent in copyright, trademarks language, I still felt like I learned a lot from here. Very sound advice.

    Also, Luvvie/Techie have you seen this? http://lindaikejionline.com/?p=97 She really needs to stop, and just take accountability.

  • Mia

    Great write-up. I’ve been reading LIB for months and the amount of blatant plagiarism going on there is just absolutely astounding. I’m conflicted about the situation, because while I admire her success, Linda Ikeji is lazily making money off the backs of other people’s work. Her blog ruthlessly corners the lowest common denominator by exploiting the worst bigotry and schadenfreude Nigeria has to offer. Her blog is so choked with ads that it barely loads. One can only hope that she’ll mend her ways after the latest debacle, but somehow I doubt it.

  • Kathe

    Taking it point by point as my blood pressure rises. 1. It’s not so great because it does not look so professional. That is totally up to the blogger. I personally know for a fact that one CAN make a Blogger blog look very professional. 2. So when you sign up for a blog on Blogspot, you’re agreeing to whatever Google wants you to. You are at their mercy and they do not owe you due process if they decide you’ve done something to violate their TOS. Just about every online presence has their own TOS. Yes, it is up to us to read them and follow their rules. If we don’t, well it’s on us for failing to comply and we have to live with the consequences. Google doesn’t just “randomly” shut down blogs. C’mon, they don’t have time for that! 3. Your host can’t delete you without warning or for any reason. I’m pretty sure they CAN and WILL. 4. Buy your custom domains. I agree with this point but I’m sure it is NOT why she lost her blog. 5. Beyond domains and hosting, any and all businesses need to have owners who are willing to put up money to make them run smoothly. Again I agree. I will invest to have my blog design done by a professional. But again, this has nothing to do with being on Blogger. 6. I don’t read her blog so I don’t know how much content she lifted from other sites. How in the freakin’ world can you even be writing this article if you admit to having never even read her blog?? 7. One of her biggest mistakes is that she didn’t have ownership of her web property. She didn’t have ownership of her website, nor of her name. WRONG! Her BIGGEST mistake was stealing content, making it her own and benefiting financially from others hard work!

  • Hi – just wondering if you actually had permission to use some of these images/gifs in this post, like the uncredited, unlinked yet still copyrighted “Nope” image by Gemma Correll? Seems like ANY blog, not just a blog hosted by Blogger, can commit some of the same mistakes…

    • luvvie

      GIFs have become public domain in the lack of ruling about how to credit them (because they’re floating everywhere in cyberspace. Hard to find origin). And that NOPE pic, well I’m so glad you just told me who created it. I will now credit it.

    • luvvie

      Also, this is why WILLFUL infringement comes with higher fees if a court finds one guilty of it. Knowingly NOT giving credit or removing someone else’s watermark is what willful infringement is.

      The fact isn’t that Linda doesn’t know she’s plagiarizing. She KNOWS and has admitted to it but she doesn’t fix it.

  • LinoSuggsc

    The reaching success cost of implementing wartrol on ladies and men troubled with HPV was on the whole, an excellent a person. That is executed to be sure that everyone can afford to purchase this product.

  • right now i’m still using blogger hosting, yes i’m a beginner and my posts is not much, but later i will use my own hosting… for good… 🙂