Linda Ikeji’s N600,000,000 House: The Law of Compensation, The Streisand Effect etc.

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Last year, I blogged about Linda’s purchase of a 24 million Naira car and how she was such an inspiration to young people. In the blog, I told a story of how Nigeria’s former president Olusegun Obasanjo suggested that blogging wasn’t a job when political blogger Omojuwa told him he blogged for a living. Linda’s latest acquisition of a N600,000, 000 (You read that right, six hundred million Naira) mansion in Banana Island is proof that just like Ota farm, blogging can make one a billionaire. How did Linda go from a thirty-year-old broke hustler to a thirty-five-year old billionaire (I guess it’s safe to assume she’s worth that much)?

The Law of Compensation
In this 2012 interview with Toolz, Linda told a story of how she started blogging as a hobby with no intention of making money from it. According to her, after blogging for several years and as her readership grew, she started getting inquiries from businesses about her advert rates. After she overcame her shock that people were willing to pay her for doing what she loved, she asked around and was surprised at how much people made from blogging. She felt guilty asking for the going rate and instead told the businesses to pay her much less than the industry rates. Given her recent acquisition however, I am sure Linda has let go of her guilt.

As Linda’s story shows, most successful people set out to serve and provide value to others and are often amazed when riches follow as result. Chimamanda Adichie once said that she hasn’t lost her sense of wonder that she is making money from writing. She said that even if she never got published, she would have been somewhere writing in addition to whatever her 9-5 job happened to be. A corollary to the proposition that success follows service is the Law of Compensation.

The Law of Compensation states:’Your income is determined by how many people you serve and how well you serve them.’ Since, reading about this law, I have a better perspective of why celebrities make more money than common folks. So, while an actress like Kaley Cuoco makes one million dollars for each episode of Big Bang Theory (The show has huge ratings), a Certified Nurse Assistant who does an obviously more noble and valuable job earns 12 dollars an hour. The Law of Compensation is the reason inventors like Mack Zuckerberg and Bill Gates are among the richest people in the world–Facebook has over one billion users.

Now that you understand the Law of Compensation, you see how invalid the argument that Linda couldn’t have made all that money from blogging is? That even though it may seem unfair that Linda made so much money from gossiping and literally copying and pasting posts from celebrities’ social media accounts, she earned it. Each day, hundreds of thousands of people visit Linda Ikeji’s blog. Arguably she has a wider readership than many of the mainstream media outlets in Nigeria. Her blog is probably even more influential. Because millions of people visit Linda’s blog every month, advertisers seek her out to sell their products. While writing this post, I visited her website and saw adverts from big name brands like MTN, GTB,LG,Dettol,Sky Bank, UBA etc. Linda is successful because her blog is serving millions of people. So if you want to become rich, find a way to make your business serve more people. For example, you can advertise more to acquire new customers.

On Linda’s Decision to Make Her Success Known
Some people opine that Linda’s announcement of her latest acquisition is ill-advised. While I understand the concern for her safety and the fact that modesty is a great virtue to have, there are other consideration that may have informed Linda’s decision to announce. First, Laura, her younger sister had hinted to the new house via social media. Apparently, she couldn’t contain her excitement that she was would soon become Mike Adenuga’s neigbour. That said, Linda had her own reasons too. Anybody in the blogging business knows how traffic to one’s website determines the success or otherwise of one’s blog. That alone is an incentive for even the most modest to do a blog that will yield more customers. As proof, the post in Linda’s blog announcing the Banana Island house has about ten times more comments than an average post on her blog. People who didn’t know about her will do now and will become customers and that means more money for Linda.

Moreover, Linda told her story to inspire young women. In this very inspirational post where she showed her house to her fans, she wrote about how only five years ago, on her thirtieth birthday, she turned to God broke, sad and depressed. It’s hard to imagine that she’s had such financial success in only five years and that is why she chose to encourage young people struggling to find financial stability. Linda has never wavered in her determination to encourage women to make it on their own without looking to men to provide their financial needs. Her ‘I’d rather be self made’ project is only one of her several projects aimed at empowering young people and rewarding her readers. While there may be valid reasons to keep her success secret, I applaud Linda’s courage in making it known.

On the Theory that Nigerians are Obsessed with Wealth
In one of the blogs celebrating Linda’s success, a non-Nigerian observed that Nigerians are obsessed with wealth. They ((I don’t know the gender) questioned the validity of the argument that Linda’s success is an inspiration and a good example to youths. They wondered why we don’t place more emphasis on non-tangible values. While I agree that Nigerians place too much emphasis on material wealth, I also realize that having enough money in the bank is very important. Even if one doesn’t aspire to richness because of the comfort and relative peace of mind it provides, one may aspire to it for altruistic purpose of helping others. I once read that with all his good intentions, the rich Samaritan in the bible couldn’t have helped the wounded man if he had no money to take the man to the hospital. So no one should feel ashamed of their desire to be rich and successful. It is a valid dream to have.

Why Linda Must Now Protect Her Assets
Shortly after Linda bought her car last year, Google shut down her blog following allegations and complaints of copyright infringements. I expect that following her recent disclosure, Linda may face a couple of setbacks and probably lawsuits. Nigerians are becoming more aware of their rights and thus more litigious. Recently, Abike Dabiri filed a N500,000,000 lawsuit for defamation against Diamond Bank and Punch Newspaper for publishing her name as a debtor. Chaz B’s widow hired lawyers over allegations that St. Nichola’s hospital were negligent in treating her husband which led to his death.

Given the possibility the Linda will get sued, Linda should first, hire a good lawyer; second, make her blog a separate entity so her personal funds won’t be reached if a huge verdict is given against her blog ; and lastly, get a good insurance policy to cover her liability in case she gets sued.

On the Ethicality of Her Blog
Some have said Linda cannot attribute her success to God when her blog is premised on gossips and false rumors that hurt other people. But if you watch her interviews, Linda seem to be a humble and nice person. However, several months ago, I made a personal decision to stop visiting Linda Ikeji’s blog for the same reason I stopped watching TMZ and Wendy William’s show – at that time in life, I felt they weren’t helping me get where I wanted to be professionally and personally. In place of Linda’s blog, I started reading Bellanaija because it aligns more with my preferences and interests.

That said, Linda is an inspiration to me and she has explained that her conscience guides her in what she publishes and what she censors–she doesn’t publish comments she finds in her judgement to be harmful to others. If that is the case, it would be unfair to judge her. Moreover, even when one have reservations about the content of her blog, one cannot discount its entertainment value.

On Why Celebrities Don’t Sue for Defamation
Many celebrities including RMD have chosen to reproach Linda via Twitter rather than bring a lawsuit for defamation. Here could be the reason they choose not to see. First: The Streisand Effect which is the phenomenon whereby an attempt to hide, remove, or censor a piece of information has the unintended consequence of publicizing the information more widely, usually facilitated by the Internet. In other words, suing Linda for a defamatory remark will make more people aware of the defamatory remark. For example, I didn’t know that Abike Dabiri’s name was on the debtors’ list until she filed a lawsuit to clear her name–her lawsuit made more headlines than the debtor’s list.

Second reason a celebrity may choose not to sue for defamation is that truth is a defense to defamation. So however disparaging a story is, if it is true, the aggrieved party cannot win in court. Moreover in some jurisdictions, a public person have a higher burden of proving that the defamatory remark was not just negligently published but with malice or reckless disregard for its truth. So it is easier for a private person to win a lawsuit than for a celebrity who makes a living by living in the public eye.

Third, the money and time spent in litigation may not be worth it especially because attorney fees in Nigeria are not contingent on the attorney winning a client’s case. (I hope to do a blog on why that law should be relaxed). On the other hand, a well contested litigation may hurt a public figure as the trial may necessitate the party airing even more of their dirty laundry.

Finally, opinion is not defamatory. So if Linda posts: ‘A smokes weed’, it may be defamatory if A doesn’t smoke weed. But if instead Linda says ‘Could A be Smoking Weed?’ and goes on to post a picture of A with something like weed wrapped between her fingers, leaving it to readers to draw their own conclusion, it is not defamatory even if turns out A was merely holding a rolled harmless sheet of paper. Same Story. Different legal consequences.

Once more, Congratulations to Linda on her blog. She is such an inspiration. And you, please keep the law of compensation in mind in whatever your business might be. I hope you too will get to the top! Ciao!

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13 thoughts on “Linda Ikeji’s N600,000,000 House: The Law of Compensation, The Streisand Effect etc.

  1. Nice write-up. Although I do not totally agree on some points based on different legal opinion. But I won’t put up an argument that will derail readers from the message of your post. kudos

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    • By all means, Chika. Please share your opinion even if it differs from mine.You are an attorney too and your opinion is very valuable. The reason I blog is to share ideas, and your contributions have always been helpful to me and other readers. So share, and thank you as always.

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    • Chiks, after I replied your comment, I researched some more and it does appear I didn’t misstate the law as applicable in the jurisdiction I practice. You know, for example, how free speech is well protected here, so however suggestive a statement may be, it is not defamatory if it doesn’t unequivocally state untrue facts . I realize we practice in different jurisdictions and that may account for slight differences in the law. Like I said in the previous reply, you are very welcome to share your opinions. For other readers, please don’t rely on any information here to make a legal decision, consult an attorney in your jurisdiction for legal advice.
      By the way, Chiks is the first person ever to comment on my blog. She’s continued to support this blog since then and for that I am highly indebted to her. And She is a brilliant attorney. My Ideato Sis, thank you.

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      • Na wa all this wash lol I hope you remember this debt when your law of compensation comes knocking ~winks*.. Your position on defamation is infallible dear I think the principles behind the law of defamation like that of legal marriage is universal. But your advice on protecting her asset; while I think insurance should be a good option the principle of lifting the vail will sweep her corporate identity under the carpet should a matter hold up against her. So I think trading with caution is a better and more responsible advice.

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        • Sure, Chiks, you are right that lifting the veil of incorporation may still expose her assets despite her incorporating her blog, and that it’s best she treads cautiously to avoid being sued in the first place. In <a href="https://annemmeje.wordpress.com/2014/10/09/google- I wrote last year, I provided details of how she can avoid infringing copyright etc. That said, generally if she commits defamation through her blog after incorporating it, she can escape liability on the grounds of vicarious liability, except of course she mingles her fund with the corporation's fund or does any of the things that can make the veil to be lifted. As you know, the law has gray areas, and it is difficult to discuss all the possibilities that may arise and that is why she should have a good lawyer standby to handle any possibility that may arise. Hmm, we have given a lot of legal advice for one day. What's your hourly rate? lol.

          And that law of compensation and indebtedness thing, I have thought several times of sending you a book in appreciation but I get discouraged knowing that the cost of mailing it may well be more than the cost of the book itself. It's well. God will bless all your good efforts. Sincerely, I appreciate you and all my readers for your support.

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  2. Escape liability on grounds of vicarious liability… ” maybe it’s a jurisdictional thing; within my locus juris I don’t see how vicarious liability helps? going by my own understanding, Vicarious liability where applicable will indict the principal for the negligence of Agent, staff, ward etc. Except where the later acts outside the duties or permission of the former remenber Halibulton’s case.. Perhaps there are other exceptions to the rule that I am unaware of. Like you said it’s all about sharing and learning. Sorry for my typos sometimes my phone auto completes my words and I dnt always have the patients to vet.

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  3. So if she incorporates and her blog take the fall via vacarious liability. In that circumstances the blog becomes liable to damages incurred. Whether the blog account is attached to restitute or her personal account. What counts as lost for one (blog)is also a lost to the other(linda). Maybe damage may be mitigated for one but going by the principle of Ubi jus uni remeduim, justice must be seen to be done. So getting a lawyer to look at piece before publishing still is the best business/economic practice giving that there is no saying or predicting neither is there limit to how much an aggrieved party can sue for. I hope Linda doesn’t visit your blog if she does help me collect my fees lol.

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    • Yea, getting a lawyer to vet every post before publication is the safest thing to do. TMZ has an in-house counsel that does just that for them and that is why they don’t get sued often despite all the negative news they carry/break. Hmmm, If Linda is reading, she will most likely be given you a call, lol. Thank you, Chiks for your contributions!

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  4. Pingback: Don’t Count On Your Kids To Do It; Here’s the Surest Way to Immortalize Yourself | Anne Mmeje's Blog

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