The app that broke Twitter. The Nigerian portion of it, at least, dominating conversation for the better part of last week. Hundreds of thousands of shares on Facebook. Screenshots of brideprices littered Instagram like so much wedding confetti. And who was behind it?
His name is Editi. Editi Effiong.
Well, that’s not entirely accurate. Brideprice.com.ng was a side project the whole team at the digital marketing company he founded 2011 worked on. But fame needs a face. And for the hitherto reclusive Anakle, that would be Editi’s. The unprecedented viral sensation on Nigerian social media that the company’s app created has piqued the curiousity of international press. Editi spent the latter part of last week being interviewed by the BBC, CNBC and most recently, CNN.
What’s all the fuss about? If you don’t know, then it’s because you are not Nigerian. Or don’t have Nigerian friends. In which case you are welcome. To bring you up to speed, Brideprice.com.ng is a web site/app that invites visitors to calculate a person’s Brideprice. For themselves, their friends, or even their enemies, the site impishly suggests.
As of Friday last week, “the elders” — three illustrated chiefs who represent the Igbo, Hausa and Yoruba tribes and show up at the end of the quiz to declare the final brideprice have presided over more than 100 billion in Brideprice valuations. Not bad for an app that was supposed to launch on Friday but was leaked four days days early by one of the more eager testers from Editi’s private circle.
“We are going viral!”, Ofure Ukpebor, Anakle’s ace programmer declared, after the server registered over a thousand hits in the first ten minutes of exposure. A skeptical Editi had to agree a couple of hours later. By the end of Monday, the app that had taken them barely two weeks from conception to leak-plementation had scored almost 2 million hits from over 180 countries.
“There were a number of things we were planning to add, but at that point, there was no point”, Editi told me. “Too many people had taken the quiz, and we simply concentrated on tying up as many loose ends on the version that was out there”.
By the end of day one, more than 180,000 people had taken the brideprice quiz.
I have watched with fascination from the sidelines, as the brideprice conversation roiled on across social media. What made this app explode? The masterful combination of a hot button and vastly relatable topic? A simple interface that was optimized to the nines? A crazy sticky viral adoption loop via Twitter/Facebook? The irreverent and inherently Nigerian humour throughout the quiz itself? All of the above?
Anakle is looking at replicating the app for other African countries, starting from Kenya. It is hardly likely that the enthusiasm of the responses in these geographies will match levels. But it is in response to popular demand, the Anakle team says.
Over the weekend, Editi and I had a chat about Brideprice.com.ng and Anakle, the digital marketing company that he’s been loath to talk about publicly. With tons of inbound consulting requests and inquiries coming in, that is set to change.