What I learned from my day of fame on reddit

A site of my own that I submitted to Reddit, made the front page. It has made me a Reddit rock star, and I have to share this experience with all my fans and aspiring Reddit rock stars.

A few years ago I put up a web site demonstrating the Forer/Barnum effect of subjective validation. Yes, it sounds boring and obscure. I decided to submit it to Reddit to increase the amount of participants for analysis, but to also raise further awareness of subjective validation. Oh, and to become famous.

Here is what I have learned from this experience.

Will the traffic flood your server?

Not really, I'd say, unless perhaps you're hosting it from home on your ADSL connection and have a page full of large images. In my case the average visit took about 60k of data and at the time of writing I've done under 300Mb of outgoing traffic on the site since it was released to the Reddit scene. It was also reasonably spread out, even when it was number 4 on the front page I only got about 15 new visitors per minute. Since submitting it I have had just over 8000 visitors over a 24 hour period.

Are you mega rich now?

No way. I have some Google Adwords on my page but Reddit users aren't desperate to click on ads to take advantage of the great offers from other sites. The click through rate was 0.02%. In other words, from a whole day of fame, it resulted in only one click. So much for the big house, sports car and yacht.

Does the title make a huge difference?

I guess this one is obvious, but I think it became bleedingly obvious to myself today. I previously submitted the link with the title being something along the lines of "An interesting online personality test" or something equally as boring. The trick of the test is only revealed after taking it, so I didn't want to give it away in the link description already. This made me lose the audience, because few people would actually go through the whole thing to find out what's going on in the end unless they get told that it's worth their while. The link got about 8 votes and then disappeared into the unknown.

I resubmitted the title as "Personality test gives everyone the same results, but people rate it 74% accurate." That was the summary of what it was all about and the votes came in quickly.

Does the fame propagate to other sites?

Yes. The site ended up getting hit from various other sources. Blogs, forums and other community link sites, it was even submitted to digg where it faded out of fame rapidly. What I found most interesting is how many RSS readers and community link site aggregators and portals are out there, and how popular these must be. My top referrers were:

1. Reddit (90%)
2. popurls.com (5%)
3. Google Reader (3%)
4. Netvibes (1%)

Apart from these, there was also about 60 other links from blogs, forums and other portals which would slowly end up improving the site's Google Pagerank.

Do you get a lot of groupies?

Er, no.

Anything you want to say to your fans?

Getting to number 4 on the front page of Reddit doesn't draw the kind of traffic that you would expect by getting Slashdotted.
The geek audience won't make anyone rich from ad traffic. However, it still could make quite a difference for raising the awareness of your site, so if you're working on an interesting piece of technology the few thousand extra eyeballs that could discover your work can be useful.

The title makes a difference, it helps if it actually describes what people will find once they've clicked on the link. Success on Reddit would also likely translate into a much improved Pagerank so it may pay if you're actually providing something good for the long run.

Most importantly, the Reddit community decides what is hot or not, and if you don't have something that appeals to them, forget it.


Giacomo said…
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