Launched by ex-Carmudi Nigeria employees, Linda.com.ng, was a dating site which expected to make it easy for singles in Nigeria to find and date other singles easily conveniently and lead to long-term relationships and celebrated marriages.
During the launch Jimi Akinleye, the founder of Linda.com.ng said, “Every single person in the country wants to connect with a member of the opposite sex. They do this because they believe such a connection would lead to a long lasting relationship. Often times, it leads to marriages. We want to be the bridge for such level of interaction. We want to be the go-to place for meeting new people, starting new relationships that would be long lasting and could also lead to marriages.”
Akinleye added that the platform aimed at spurring interaction and engagement. The site also promised to roll-out a couple of packages to increase matches and engagement among users before unveiling premium packages for members. According to a 2016 report by Marketdata Enterprises Inc, the global dating services industry is worth $2.5 billion in the United States alone with online services accounting for 70 percent of the market’s value with sites such as Match.com, Plenty of Fish, eHarmony among others. Linda.com.ng aims to capture some of that market. Unfortunately the site didn’t last.
According to Akinleye, the site was shut down because of some reasons.
High customer acquisition costs
“We were unable to acquire as many customers that we needed to keep us afloat. Customer acquisition costs for dating sites can be quite high, and the only way to recoup your cost is via native ads or user subscriptions,” Akinleye told TechMoran. “While the native ads was a long shot due to the engagement levels on the site, the subscription model was quite possible but it never really took off.”
Too low numbers
Linda.com.ng’s numbers were too low and for every $2 paid by the customer, the firm had to split it 20:80 with the mobile network providers. The telecoms got the larger share and this meant that Linda.com.ng had to fork out thousands of dollars to acquire and engage the users only to receive cents each time.
There were lessons various lessons the team learned too.
Bad timing and poor choice of market
“Choose your market carefully,” said Akinleye. “We launched this business in Nigeria because we are Nigerians. A better country would have been one with a moderate population and mobile money access. Sites like Badoo, Twoo, and even Tinder are operational in Nigeria, but I’m sure they make more money from countries like Kenya or North American countries like Brazil and Argentina. As at then, when we launched, it was a bit difficult getting a favorable deal from the telcos when it comes to mobile payment, but I think its better now.”
If it were online today, Akinleye says Linda.com.ng would focus more on offline and build organically because acquiring thousands of users who visit the site once a week or whenever they get a newsletter is not as cool as building a tribe of users who understand what it is you do and why they joined.
Simplify your product
By simplifying one’s product growth would be slowed, but it also means your users would become more addicted said Akinleye. The firm regrets not launching channels where people could share their relationship problems and get comments from others. This could be in the form of a blog which would be publicized on high traffic blogs because everyone likes to comment on issues.
Akinleye says entrepreneurs should embrace failure if they have to grow.
“Working on Linda taught me a lot, and that experience has helped other startups that I have been involved in either as advisors or as a consultant. The experience you get will give you first-hand knowledge of what to do better next time,” said Akinleye who’s now deeply into e-commerce and owns a few niche commerce businesses in Nigeria and Ghana. He also heads a content marketing agency based in San Diego which helps online businesses in creating excellent content for blogs and social network.
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