It was almost one year ago (345 days to be exact) that GrownUpGeek.com became famous. Actually, we had already been on a nationally syndicated radio show before that, so technically we were already famous – I guess we became more famous.
I remember it well: Early one Friday evening in August of 2006 I submitted a story/page to Digg about a minor little security-glitch in Myspace that allowed anybody to view all the information on a supposedly secure “private” Myspace account. Just like with my previous (failed) Digg submissions, I spent a few minutes trying to make the submission eye-catching, memorable, and as sensationalized as I could without it looking outright spammy. I spent the rest of the evening obsessively hitting the refresh button and counting Diggs. By the time I went to bed several hours later though, the story still had less than 50 Diggs. This story did already have more Diggs than all of my previous submissions, but I assumed that overnight it would vanish into obscurity just as all the others had.
Saturday morning was like any other. I woke up, got my coffee, and went straight to my computer to check on the website. I always do a quick-check of my traffic-stats by looking at the visitor-counter. The visitor counter tells me how many members and how many non-registered visitors have been at the site during the last 15 minutes. Back then, on a Saturday morning I would expect this number to be around 30 – this would average out to around 3,000 visitors for the entire day. Imagine my surprise when instead of seeing 30 visitors in the last 15 minutes, I saw over 3,000 – OMFG, I’ve been DUGG!
Ok, so much for my trip down memory-lane.
One year later, and that story that hit the front page is still bringing us about 300 – 400 direct hits from Digg every day, and about another 500 or so via the countless backlinks that it generated.
How did I do it?
I’ve submitted several pages to Digg and only two have made it to the front page. These are some of the reasons I think this particular one hit the bigtime:
- It was not SPAM: Sure, it was self-promotion (we call it “marketing“) but it was a real page with real, interesting content. Diggers are a tough crowd – they will smell your spam a mile away.
- It was unique: GrownUpGeek.com was the only site that had this information
- It was timely: This huge security “breach” happened right in the middle of the whole “Myspace is a child-predator magnet” media craze.
- It was interesting to many people: Myspace is kinda popular, but for every 10 people that love it, 11 people hate it – and they just love to point-out how lame it is.
- The submission was well worded: Catchy, simple, to the point
In a nutshell, it was the right thing at the right time. Good for GrownUpGeek.com, bad for Myspace.
If I remember correctly this entire episode earned me less than $50 in direct PPC. I got panicky and removed Adsense from the page (I have a bad case of GoogleBanAphobia), and replaced it with YPN about a day later. But the value of the backlinks, on-going traffic and fame were …. priceless.