As I stare out of my window on a gloomy Tuesday pre-dawn, I wonder about a nation in distress and the path that we have taken to reach these depths. The days get gloomier like there’s a dark smudge on glass, that prevents the light from getting in. Every day, that smudge grows larger, yet no one shows any willingness to do anything about it, so the future grows even gloomier.
The hope that used to exist that one day it would get better is starting to wane, because the people on whom that hope rests, the young people, are only interested in becoming yahoo boys rather than making legit money with their intellectual property. And right now, I think I can feel the future grow even darker, can you feel it too?
The subject of my philosophical rambling is nothing else but Nigeria and her Yahoo boys. Contrary to what you might be thinking, I’m not here to preach about the moral or lawful “rightness” or “wrongness” of yahoo yahoo, find out yourself, rather I seek to examine the effect that this so-called syndrome has on legitimate businessmen especially internet marketers who are usually “cursed” with having to sit in front of a computer all day, like a yahoo boy, as the community would see it.
You might want to see my previous post on Why People Engage In Yahoo Yahoo Internet Fraud.
At this point, I could put my hands over my eyes and just let the tears flow, but as a strong man, that’s not expected, so I’ll let this piece of write-up cry for me.
I write out of frustration and recurrent sighs, as it’s high time I voiced out what’s bugging my mind concerning this whole theatre of art being acted out by the entire community, at the expense of said internet marketers, who just sit, cluelessly, watching the whole drama with hands on cheeks.
Quite right, our financial institutions are in chaos, our politics are mired in scandal and incompetence, the education system got a thousand worries (don’t even get me started, or we won’t leave here today), these and more are finding a way out of the fact that they justify why Nigerians now spend valuable time on illegal exhibitions online.
Like I mentioned earlier, I am not here to make a big deal about any need, perceived or otherwise, for whoever is doing whatever to desist from such act, in which case I would be wasting my time. No, what makes my heart weep is the victimization and harassment that legitimate internet marketers have to endure because they share the same instruments with these so-called yahoo boys.
Okay, I agree, internet marketers have some features that make them look very synonymous to yahoo boys, like having to sit in front of a PC screen all day pressing keys and making enough money to fend for themselves without no physical dedication or properly stated work at hand.
You can hardly walk around the streets with your laptop in your bag without SARS detaining you and asking you random questions because you’re a “yahoo boy”. Try wearing chains on your neck (or any expensive accessories) and flaunting them anyhow on social media, the next morning, if it’s not NPF breaking down your doors, I can assure you, it would be SARS.
Just some days ago, the police apprehended a colleague of mine who uses an iPhone 6, milked out some cash out of his pocket without no proper justification but the fact that he is too young to be able to afford such device, else, he’s into yahoo.
Another case study was that of another colleague of mine that got his house stormed by SARS, probably based on some whistle blowing escapades after being gauged by neighbours based on his lifestyle, that is, stay indoors all day fixedly gazing at some PC, and pull out later in the evening on some designer jeans. What else would you call that in a country like ours? A yahoo boy?
As an internet marketer, you’d definitely relate if I said you cannot count the number of times you’d have been countered with questions like “Do you do Gee?”
Take it slow with y’all judgements! Calm down! Okay, I blame it on ignorance, ready to listen now?
The problem is that we have successfully developed what J Cole described as the “Ville mentality”. Congratulations. By the way, “Ville” is French for “city” or “town”, but in this context it means, the “hood”. The Ville mentality is the way that people in a certain area or a particular set of people think about a subject (in this case making money through the internet).
In the black ghettos of America, you either rap, sell dope (this one being the major plug) or become a sportsman if you have any hope of being successful. So if you’re a successful black man, who is not a superstar, then you must be a drug dealer. That is the “Ville mentality” over there. Everybody thinks like that, young people growing up, adults, parents, everyone.
In Nigeria, yahoo yahoo is our “Ville mentality”, that’s why young kids growing up believe the only way to make money through the internet is through that route. And if you sit in front of a computer all day, and start buying cars soon, I can assure you that your own mother will accuse you of doing yahoo. That’s the power of the “ Ville mentality “. Everyone believes it, musicians sing about it, movies focus on it, in short, we all react to it unconsciously because we were raised in it.
Now, open your brains, let me educate you, the internet is so big, at times, it’s free seating. There are too many ways to make money online, or rather create an income source for yourself using the internet without going illegal, it all depends on what you choose to do. Some of these works, if well played, would probably pay you more than this so-called yahoo that we are all making noise about.
First off, Internet marketing is the job of creating a convincing message that attracts customers to an online product or service. Internet marketers come from a variety of backgrounds, including internet business, graphic design, writing, IT fields and freelancing generally. The term “Internet marketer” is a rather broad category that plays several roles in jump-starting a business’s foray into the digital world.
In basic words, according to how I decide to make this look, internet marketers are those who use skills or knowledge they have acquired one way or the other, to make money online.
And why are you always in doubt when it comes to how much money can be made on the internet without doing any illegal dealings? Have you forgotten that Akin Alabi, owner of Nairabet, was an internet marketer before starting off his million dollars bet company?
An average level 2 freelancer on Fiverr can make roughly $2000 a month, that right there, is some people’s income for 6 months. I know of a colleague that made 800k in a month with FLP business, he never left his home. Someone made millions in 2 weeks by just trading Swiss coins, people rake in thousands daily by just buying and selling crypto currencies. People buy mansions with Adsense money, and we’ve heard of a UNILAG student that bought an expensive wagon with Clickbank affiliates dollars.
So, what’s your mentality leaned towards? Are you yet to be enlightened? Do you need more orientation? Read along…
In recent times, freelancing has been a major gold rush, young people who are digitally skilled now have a means of making legit money online without going into shades. This, always gets them glued to a computer screen either looking for tasks to get done or completing a task online for clients.
Isn’t that sort of intellectual property meant to be appreciated? Please give them some credits!
But based on the fact that they share some similar qualities with our dear yahoo brothers, coupled with the fact that they make aggressive income with this, they are unconsciously tagged “Yahoo Boys”.
Now, apart from the fact that my ink is running out, I’m a man of little words. At least, my heart is starting to beat more calmly as I have poured out these frustrations but this piece would not be complete until I proffer solutions to these problems of mistaken identity badgering all internet entrepreneurs in our society.
The first, and I believe the most important piece is to remember that you’re not a yahoo boy so don’t treat yourself like one. When people ask what you do, take your time to explain to them if you care about their opinion, and if you don’t care about their opinion, still explain to them, it will reduce the number of people calling SARS on you.
Most internet entrepreneurs have been asked one time or the other by their neighbors, friends, or family what they’re doing to make money but they’ll refuse to talk, which leads those people to the natural conclusion, yahoo yahoo. In your mind, stop thinking of yourself or what you do as shady. Don’t be shy to explain to people, and if you don’t have time, simply tell them you’re an internet marketer (although this will probably lead to more questions, ergo, time wasted).
Take Home Point; Educate people close to you about what you do and if the day comes that you’re accused by anybody of being a yahoo boy, you’ll have people on your side to corroborate your story.
A wise man once told me that “truth” does not exist, there is only my opinion, your opinion and what the world remembers. If you want to make sure people remember your opinion as for the truth then you have to speak up and make your position known. We invented this lifestyle (internet entrepreneurs, programmers, freelancers etc), not yahoo boys, so let nobody treat you like a yahoo boy when you’re not one. We often forget that we’re in Nigeria where nothing will happen until we speak up, shout, march or protest, so we can’t keep sitting on our butts while fellow internet marketers are getting harassed by the Police force for running legitimate businesses online. I know you’ll say it’s not your problem, but remember what they said about what goes around, yes, it comes around. So let’s create a collective voice, a coalition, where we can make our voice heard as one to resist the forces of harassment and victimization.
I would advocate for the creation of a national body of internet entrepreneurs where legitimate businesses can register and be approved to prove they’re not fraudsters. This body can then see to the defence and protection of its members from the people who were supposed to be protecting them in the first place (ironic, isn’t it??). Before you start saying that a body would do this or a body would do that, let me remind you that shoemakers have associations to protect their interests, and frankly, I don’t know why internet marketers don’t have one. And if they do, why it’s not being publicized so everyone can join.
It is at this point that I would take a break to refill my pen and replenish my energy, but before you leave, I want you to take a moment to think about these words I’ve said. And remember, posterity will judge us for our actions and inactions.