Pandemics for fun & profit

Note: Originally posted on Wed, 13 May 2009.

A few weeks ago the internet was waking up to the news that there was a possible pandemic sweeping the world. Twitter was abuzz with people going a bit loony about what was then known as Swine Flu. In a rather uncharacteristic fit of ambition I whipped up a quick site to take the piss out of the doom and gloom sayers. Thus doihavepigflu.com was born. The site took me 10 minutes to make and a $15.95 domain registration fee investment. I thought I’d try to make the registration fee back by linking to my Amazon associate account. What happened next was just pure awesomesauce. I posted the link on Twitter to my approx. 1100 followers and that was the extent of my self-promotion. You can see the traffic history from the graph below.

pandemics_dashboard

So after the first day I checked my Amazon account and I made $25. Jackpot! I was up $10 so as far as I was concerned the site was a total success. But that was just the beginning… As the hysteria grew about the swine flu so did my traffic. On April 30th the site peaked with 163,471 unique visitors. The drop off after that was pretty dramatic as people moved onto the next big thing. But the net result of this little 10 minute project was stunning even to me. You can see the final result below.

amazoncom-associates-central-earnings-report

The site is dead now and someone bought the domain after I let it drop but I’m still learning my lessons from the experience. I have these little ideas all the time but almost never act on them. It always seems that it’s not worth the time or effort but this has opened my eyes. Act on everything. You never know which ones will work but the ones that never get made are guaranteed to fail.

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