The next thing we built in the same year 2011, while still tinkering with Asktheweber, was FlyMyAds.
Read my last fb post about Asktheweber.
I remember we were tinkering with the idea of helping small businesses. We thought: what if we could build a network where website owners will advertise on each others’ websites.
Me being the eternal optimist, I jumped on it. It sounded fun, but the idea soon improved. A bunch of no traffic websites advertising on each other’s websites helped none of them.
2011, most businesses had no idea what online advertising was. Most people could not pay online for FB or Google ads. So our idea morphed into a self-service platform that business owners could come and use in flying their ads. Hence the name FlyMyAds.
I remember vividly lying on my bed one early morning wondering what we would call this thing. And the name just dropped in my head.
We launched it on the 1st of July 2011. Hosted it on Siteground.
We looked for high traffic websites and literally begged them to host our ad spaces on their websites. Then we looked for advertisers and helped them push their ads through our network.
At some point, our ads were showing on the daily times website. They were our biggest publisher. We were delivering millions of impressions per day. Until siteground kicked us off.
They said wetin be this? This high intensity application is what you are hosting on shared hosting. Go and buy VPS jor. I remember we were going for an event at Bogobiri house when we got the mail that site no dey open o.
Omo, crazy crazy days. We sha found money and paid for VPS. Then we had to get on a CDN as well, to optimize the delivery of the ads.
On top of all this, we were not getting enough customers, most people just didn’t understand what we were talking about.
Then there were the fraudsters who were loading our adspaces and clicking the ads themselves. We sha suspended them all.
Mayowa, extreme right, was our Dev. Frankly, he did most of the work. McNeil did a lot of our logistics, paying the publishers and stuff. I did design and marketing.
As crappy as our product looked, it worked, we had some dedicated repeat customers, but not enough. It got us in the door to eventually do some work with Samsung Electronics West Africa, even though the campaign we ran for them was mostly done on social media platforms.
But that’s what products do, they open doors.
One day, we sha ran out of money to pay publishers. It was time to shut it down.
In hindsight, I admire the work we did. We essentially built a similar product to Google’s AdSense. And didn’t flinch in trying to make it work.
My verdict remains that it was too early. But the lessons learned on that journey have been the most helpful to me.
If you are trying to build something, find mentors that can help you shorten the journey. Even at that, it may not succeed, but you will have learned very vital lessons that you will need on your next adventure.