Linda Ikeji's blog was shut down by Google for three whole days in 2014. The incidents which led to the shut down and eventually restoration of the blog is examined below.
Linda Ikeji's blog was shut down by Google on 8 October 2014, but was later restored about 48 hours later on 10
October 2014 around midnight by Google without any explanations. A spokesman for Google, Kola Ogunlade, said: "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."
According to Linda, the culprit behind the disgraceful whistle-blowing affair was a person by name Aye Dee. It was him who reported her blog to Google with an allegation of plagiarism/copyright infringement of his works on her blog; and Google promptly shut down the blog without even hearing from her.
Let us allow Linda tell the rest of the story.
"In April 2014, these guys decided to close down the blog again. In the emails they exchanged back and forth, they said ‘plagiarism is a good excuse to finish her’. (they forget that if they succeed in closing down LIB because I’m on blogger… I could easily start a website). Now let me tell you who these guys are. They are IT people, security experts who know how the internet works. They are hackers and cyber-squatters… and only go after the biggest internet setups."
"Immediately after I shared photos of my new SUV, these guys re-connected again and decided it was finally time to end LIB because there were quite a few people who were mad that I bought the car and they wanted to play on their emotions. The head of this team is a guy who goes by the name @Mr Aye Dee on twitter. They decided to use the plagiarism card. He said it was the strongest claim to make and easiest way to get support from other people."
"And then the campaign started with him claiming that I took something from him without crediting him or asking for permission. 100% false. If he owns a website, I’ve never visited it. He started by writing all sorts to get people to notice… and then he acted. Like I said these guys are IT experts, they know what to do to get blogger/Google to come after you."
"So he and his team started filling several reports, sending links of my blog and making claims to Google. Outrageous false claims. And because Google acts first before they contact the blog owner, they took down some posts and asked me to file a counter claim if I felt I had a right to re-publish those articles. Now that my blog is under Google review, these guys have started to spam it again."
"They want Google to shut it down. That is their aim. Will they succeed? I sincerely don’t know. I’m not an IT expert… I know they are spamming and filing complaints, I don’t know what else they are doing behind the scenes but they are relentless."
"Now let me give you guys a bit who this Aye Dee guy is. He’s anonymous on Twitter. Nobody really knows who he is but according to those investigating him, his name is Emmanuel Efremov simply known as EE by his friends. He’s the owner of 15Past8.com media group. Based in Manhattan. Gets funding from some US organization. He’s apparently been stalking me for years now and have registered quite a number of my domain names… lindaikeji.net plus 8 others. He also owns 9jalife.com… yep, he owns a blog. He accuses me of copyright infringement but when you go to 9jalife and other websites he owns… 98% of the things he has on there are other people’s content. You see pot calling kettle black? Lol."
"Immediately he was found out yesterday, the IT expert immediately started to redirect lindaikeji.net to my blog. If you click lindaikeji.net now, it will redirect you to this blog. He panicked yesterday and quickly did it. A name he register as far back as 2011. Lol. Choi!"
"Not only that, he’s also a cyber squatter. Yep, he registers 100s of websites belonging to others around the world and tries to make money off them. Guess one of his aims is to run me out of blogger so I come to him and his team and pay thousands of dollars to get one of the several names he’s registered. Not going to happen, boo! Hehe"
Below is an article from lawyer and blogger Uduak Udouk Africa Music Law about this guy and his cybersquatting criminal activities
“According to a twitter handle owned by @MrAyeDee, celebrity blogger Linda Ikeji was accused of copyright infringement of his works. He reported these infringing activities to Google and what resulted was a take down of his articles/works on her site. He also claimed with the rate and way things looked, Linda Ikeji’s site could be shut down within a week."
"I get the fact that this guy was concerned about Ikeji’s activities and got Google to do something about it. What I don’t get is his very strong response and continued massive tweets talking about the same issue in an almost vendetta like style towards her. This got me curious to know who he was and what could be a motive behind all of these."
"I began by looking at his twitter page and narrowed in on his website www. 15Past8.com. The description of the services he offered through his media group raised my curiosity. He says his media group owns “hundreds of websites.” He also claimed some of the infringing content on Linda Ikeji came from his site. Well one of his hundreds of websites is 9jalife.com because it has the 15Past8.com media group stamped on it. I did a basic search on 9jalife.com to see who owns it. The name ‘Emmanuel Efremov’ came up as the registered owner of 9jalife.com. 9jalife.com is clear it is owned by 15Past8.com media group, @MrAyeDee’s company."
"For my article on Linda Ikeji, many have been saying they are surprised she does not own her own domain. Purely out of curiosity, I looked up Lindaikeji.com and noted it is owned by someone else, a case of cybersquatting. I also look up LindaIkeji.net and see the same ‘Emmanuel Efremov’ come up. Now I am very curious. How is it that Emmanuel Efremov owner of 9jalife.com, a subsidiary of 15Past8.com, also owns LindaIkeji.net? Am I missing something?"
"Needless to say, I google the name ‘Emmanuel Efremov’ and lo and behold, there is a case by Volkswagen against an Emmanuel Efremov for cybersquatting. Looking at the description of 15Past8.com, the registered domain owner of 9jalife.com and Lindaikeji.net and the case by Volkswagen against Emmanuel Efremov, I am left feeling that the credibility of @MrAyeDee is shot and very weak at best. It also makes me wonder about any prior existing relationship between him and Linda Ikeji as to the issue of domain ownership i.e. cybersquatting. It is not uncommon for cybersquatters to ask you the legitimate owner of a trademark to pay them to own your own website."
"If you accuse someone of copyright infringement, it is a good idea to make sure your hands are very clean and there is no connection whatsoever with a possible bad faith attempt to hijack their domain name. I am curious to see where all of these leads.” Uduak Udouk
Linda Ikeji continues: "Talking about copyright infringement, Mr Aye Dee feels that crediting source is not enough, that I have to write a written permission to the website owner. That’s laughable at best. So if there’s a breaking news on TMZ, I will first write to the editors and wait for the 2/3 days it will take them to reply me… that’s if they even bother to."
"I admit that I take content from other sites. Plenty of it sef, but the question is, which website in the world doesn’t? If you go on Bossip.com, 50% of what is there is from other sources. Daily Mail UK takes from other sites, re-writes and give credit. UK Mirror takes from other sites. MediaTakeOut quotes other sources. E! Online, Us Weekly, People and even CNN take news from other sources and give credit, so why is mine an offense to the extent that my blog deserves to be shut down? Even in Nigeria, which site doesn’t take news from other sites? Which? That is how media runs."
"Perez Hilton makes $10million a year from blogging and 50% of content on his site is not originally his. As long as you give credit….which I do! Except in cases where you don’t know the original source of the story or photo. So many blogs take content from my site, how many of them have I gone after? In fact, I’m happy that they do so, I have nothing against it. If I take content from another site and they approach me to take it down despite giving credit, I will take it down. But that doesn’t happen."
"I try as much as possible to get as many exclusives as I can, but because I work from home my team is so small. I’ve been planning to employ more hands which I will do eventually and then get a proper office. I’m kinda glad this happened. It’s now pushing me to act and take my business more seriously."
Linda Ikeji ends the Google Blog Shut Down story with this advice: "If you want to be successful in life, please prepare yourselves for something like this. People don’t go after failures. You have to be really crazy to gather to plot the downfall of an orange seller or a gate-man (with all due respect). These people go after successes. Once you succeed in any field, they will come after you… it’s inevitable. Ask everyone who has succeeded. It’s not whether they will try, because they will… it’s how you respond to it that matters."
"Don’t you ever, listen to me, ever let anyone defeat you. You didn’t work so hard to get to the top for somebody who didn’t know how you struggled to bring you down. You will be disappointing God. You don’t even know how disappointed He will be. How dare you let them win? They will come for you… that’s a guarantee just make sure you defeat them. May all your dreams come true! May everything you put your hands into succeed. May your enemies show their faces so you know who they are…but may they never win."
A vivid lesson that all aspiring bloggers need to learn from the Linda Ikeji experience is never to start your
blog with a free domain. It is very dangerous to do so. One obvious reason is that you do not have complete control
over your own domain. Another reason is that your blog can easily be brought down as we have seen with the Linda
Ikeji case. The mistake of using a free domain cost her blog dearly. It was shut down for more than 48 hours.
But, that was not even the half of it. What about her trademark Linda Ikeji. It was hijacked by internet thieves! Just imagine the scenario. All the possible domain names were registered by someone else - .com, .net, .org, .biz, etc - they were all taken by the thieves. Some of those domain names were registered as far back as 2007 when Linda was just starting to get her feet wet in the troubled waters of blogging in Nigeria.
Just imagine the joy the hijackers felt when they did a search for those domain names and discovered that they were unregistered. They promptly registered them and, just like Linda observed, expected her to pay them to take possession of her own domain name. Imagine that! But, that is business and that is how some people make their money on the internet. But, registering a name because it is connected to a celebrity for the purpose of selling it to the person is just wrong and criminal.
Now, for your information, it does not cost you much to register your own domain name and pay to host your blog. With less than N10,000, you can easily register and host your domain with TheNigeriaHost.net. Aside from that, you will also get a good design template with your hosting plan too. And if you are scared of hackers like Linda Ikeji was, you can secure your blog by buying a security certificate for less than a thousand naira. In all, with N11,000 or even less you will have registered your own custom domain for one whole year - an amount which is less than N1,000 every month. I am sure you spend far more than that for recharge cards in a month!
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