I had been merely gallivanting about Google (as usual) when I stumbled upon a post from TechMoran about OMG Digital on the brink of annihilation and I stopped dead.
Now if you’ve noticed the pattern here on RicheeTech, we don’t like to be the carrier of bad news. Ever. It’s all positive vibes from start to finish, so forgive me if this one seems off the mark but, OMG Digital is so dear to me I just had to write about this (also owing to the sad fact that it’s only TechMoran that has carried any news about the matter).
The post read that first and foremost, Prince Boakye Boampong, one of the 3 founders of OMG Digital, had exited the 3 Year old Ghanaian media tech startup since February.
That was a big bomb, I thought. What else could go wrong?
Then I learnt that an unconfirmed rumour was making the rounds that another co-founder, Dominic Mensah had left the company and relocated to the US since November 2017.
Let’s not also forget the fact that the company is in fact still owing employees from Nigeria all the way to Kenya. Some staff have been released while most just outright quit.
Their Kenya operation (which BTW brings in 90% of their revenue) has been reportedly closed down for more than two months.
Coming from a startup that had a team of 25 across 3 countries (Ghana, Kenya & Nigeria) just last year, it now has a measly staff strength of 2 writers in Kenya and none in Nigeria.
Abi did someone from their village swear for them ni? I mean, I don’t know if Ghanaians are well vast in the art of Juju but can somebody please tell me what is going on with my favorite viral news company in Africa?
Because despite brandishing mind-blowing stats of reportedly attracting a staggering social reach of 80 million, website traffic of 4.5 million on top of a $1.1 million dollars in Series A funding (just last year) and being backed by Venture Capital behemoths like Y Combinator, OMG Digital looks to be heading downhill, and fast.
And I don’t care what CEO Jesse Ghansah said about OMG Digital growing revenue stupendously from $32,000 to $210,000 between 2016 and 2017, the company is in a deep shithole right now.
Annual revenue growth for @OMGdigitalhq :
2018, Q1(projected): $120k
Insanely tough but we’ll get there…
— Jesse Nana Kojo (@Jessetheranter) March 6, 2018
Next was the rumour that OMG Digital had acquired Hypebuzz, an influencer marketing startup and I was like “That’s one steep diversification of assets we have here – from viral media content to Influencer marketing?”
All this got me thinking about the future of OMG Digital as a tech media company. Where are they headed? What are their investors saying? And to think I had grand plans of working there. 😢
If you read RicheeTech a few months back, you’d remember my post on Techcabal, one pretty much similar to this present scenario. Same media tech industry, same shitstorm. I haven’t yet written an update but I’m glad things have begun to look up for Big Cabal Media. Posting has resumed full swing on Zikoko and Techcabal.
Can’t say much for OMGVoice though.
I checked out their website and the posting frequency has tapered down considerably from about 10-12 a day to say 1-3 posts a day.
Their official company website nko? It’s blank, like nothing ever existed there!
So what, pray tell has gone wrong? The difference between last year and this year for OMG Digital is a bloody nosedive.
I have a theory (I usually have a theory 😊).
If you ask me, I think they tried too hard to copy BuzzFeed, the obvious King of viral content in the world. Truth is that every viral content farm from Diply to ViralNova to indigenous platforms like Zikoko have all drawn inspiration from BuzzFeed.
What am I saying…even RicheeTech (admittedly) drew inspiration from BuzzFeed. But there’s a difference between “drawing inspiration” and downright, verbatim copy and paste.
So BuzzFeed created a whole new product, Tastee, a food channel, solely living on Facebook (initially), it was a massive hit and so OMG Digital went and did the exact same thing by opening Servepot. Oh yeah, they further opened their tech channel, Bitnode also on Facebook.
Then there’s the West African expansion they did, having offices in 3 countries within the space of what? One year? I mean, I know they pride themselves in reporting hyper-local content but if the writers sit in one place morning till night, trust me, they will get these kind of content all on the internet.
By so doing, they’ll cut unnecessary costs in office space, salaries and other operational expenditure – across 2 countries!
All said and done, that’s just my own two cents on the matter. For what it’s worth, I really hope they can sort this out quickly. I wish them Godspeed.
What’s your take on the situation? What do you think happened? What’s your advice to OMG Digital? Let us know in the comments.