The internet has seen some big acquistions. YouTube. Instagram. Tumblr is hot shit right now because Yahoo! just dropped 1.1 Billion cool ones for it.

What do all these platforms have in common. They are crazy UGC (user generated content) machines — websites that people habitually submit content to. In Yahoo!’s official release, Tumblr was said to have see 900 posts per second, and 24 billion minutes spent onsite each month. By the time you’re done reading this post, there’ll be more than 162,000 new posts on Tumblr. Evidently, if you can crack UGC, you’re likely to get a payday eventually.

While nowhere close to those amazing numbers, the only UGC platform that seems to be doing anything similar in Nigeria…Africa even…is Seun Osewa’s Nairaland. Last we heard, the site was doing 12 million pageviews a month, and if Alexa is your thing, we know that Nairaland is the most visited African website.

So why hasn’t anyone tried to acquire Nairaland yet? From what I’ve heard, it isn’t for lack of trying. And not with meagre sums either. A million dollars from MIH to get their mits on Nairalist data. Google overtures, spurned. There’s lots of speculation, lore and legend around failed Nairaland/Nairalist sale talks, and the reason why Seun doesn’t sell.

If you know any stories, pray tell.

It’s not like selling is the only logical destination for Nairaland, so that’s not the issue. It’s just that there doesn’t seem to be a long term agenda for the platform. None that is obvious at least.

The other day someone was lamenting to me about how Seun is basically being a weist where Nairaland is concerned, and not even scratching the surface of its potential — which to him means selling the platform, or the data at least. He was so angry, I thought I was Seun for a minute. The irony wasn’t lost on me. Users elsewhere will thank you for giving them a free service, not mining their data and most importantly, not selling out. But here was someone who was actually angry that his data was being “locked up” on Nairaland, and not being exploited like it rightfully should. Wonders.

Everyone knows that Nairaland could be more than it is right now. People just can’t say how. They just say stuff like “it could look better”, “there could be an API”, “he could spin a hundred different services off it”…

Yada, yada. Seun doesn’t care. Not about selling, and certainly not about extending the site in any way. Did you say API? That’s taboo where Nairaland is concerned. Pystar tried to make an unofficial one and got banned for his trouble.

So what does Seun plan to do with Nairaland eventually…asides from herding disgruntled webmasters and pawning advertising pixels, that is?

Maybe someday, he’ll share. Maybe today, if he reads this.

Update: In response to a message I sent to him via Twitter, Seun sent this terse response –

Tumblr had to be sold because they were about to run out of money. They had high costs and no revenue. Our situation is quite different.

Cryptic. While it roughly translates to not having to sell, it doesn’t say anything about not wanting to.

Bankole Oluwafemi Author

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