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From Zero To 50 Million Page Views (In One Hour)

Earlier this month I wrote about a stuck Suez Canal container ship, and a silly fun website Tom Neill built. "Is That Ship Still Stuck?" was a viral hit (is it still okay to say that these days?), and he's shared a great write up on how he built it and grew it.

TL;DR - it took him an hour to build, and it received around 50 million views in a 5 day period. Crazy.

That's New York Times levels of traffic. For a website created by one man, in an hour. Tom leaned on the Jamstack to create it. Built with Next.js, deployed to Vercel (automagically from GitHub).

A perfect example for why I'm so excited about the Jamstack. Build fast, scale fast, at a low cost.

Tom, by his own admission, is not a marketing genius. He doesn't tweet very often, but managed - with one tweet - to grow his Twitter follower count from 208 to over 3,000 within a few days. His tweets were seen over 1 million times. A media agency would charge you big bucks for that.

The section that most intrigued me most? Ads. Tom toyed with the idea of running ads to cover costs (Vercel, to their credit, covered the $70 themselves). He outlined an interesting set of reasons for not showing ads. Tom doesn't like them, hates cookies more, and approval processes are slow.

It got me thinking more about the The Rebirth Of Direct-To-Advertiser. There are ideas in my head.

In the end Tom went down the uber trendy NFT route. Which uncovered plenty of predictable murkiness about the entire process of NFT-ing things. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is :)

Tom's write up is hilarious, entertaining, educational, and includes some Rickrolling. Worth a read.