Earlier this week, Nairaland founder, Seun Osewa officially disabled Google Adsense from running on Nairaland, the most popular website in Nigeria for the first time and introduced a new paid advertising offer for direct advertisers.
Since it was founded in 2005, the website has been relying on Google’s ad platform, Adsense to monetise its content and audience and started experimenting on paid advertising from direct advertisers last year.
The new advertising offer allows advertisers to promote their products and services on the site for as low as N17,000 per week for 145,000 daily views to as much as N60,000 per week for 580,000 daily views.
But the site has been criticised for being late into the real online advertising game, being slow to adopt latest trends and being over reliant on Google Adsense over the past 7 years of its existence, but now has suddenly become “desperate to get the attention of the bakers”, as one user puts it.
In his response, Osewa said that his decision to monetize Nairaland directly is not due to desperation, but that he really enjoys helping advertisers with their ad campaigns.
“Nairaland can survive for an extremely long time without making any money”, he said, “I just wasn’t ready to subject Nairaland members to the stricter censorship that would have been required to get the ad serving re-enabled, so I decided to try this instead.”
On Nairaland’s new ad strategy, Osewa added that, “we don’t believe in splashing ads all over the place. We display 2 ad rows on every page – one before the content, and one after. We don’t believe in killing the user experience just to make money.”
While Nairaland has grown from a mere forum to become a leading source of information and entertainment, featuring news, sports, technology, culture, politics, religion, career, business and education, it has not really evolved.
The site only optimised its content for mobile devices by middle of this year, refreshed its homepage and has seen significant growth in its usage as it eventually reclaimed its number one spot as the most visited site in Nigeria as at September 2012, after Vanguard displaced it in July 2011.
Nairaland now ranks on the top 10 most visited sites in Nigeria after falling off Alexa’s ranking last November.