Like with most things this got started with my mother. We were sitting around, chatting about RunPee, after we had gone to see Star Trek. ( I watched it twice on opening day so that I could get real good and accurate PeeTimes. ) She had the The TechGuy: Leo Laporte playing in the background and he was talking about Star Trek and how great a movie it was. My mother is a big fan of Leo Laporte and she suggested that I call in and tell him about RunPee.com. ( This was May 9th)
I didn’t think I’d be able to get through but I did. I told the producer about the site and she chuckled and said it was the craziest thing she had ever been asked to talk about on the show. A few minutes later I hear Leo chuckeling and he says, “I have to tell you about this new site…”
The traffic to RunPee.com was in the 10-30 visitors/day range up until then. On that day it shot up to 600+ and on the following days it stayed around the 300-400 range.
I was then contacted by Amber MacArthur to do a callin with her and Leo on the net@night show that aired on May 20th. We talked for about 10 minutes or so about RunPee. This was my first interview.
Now I’m excited about RunPee.com because it was finally attracting a some attention. You should know that I started this site as a research project. I wanted to learn how to use the Flex framework and tie into a database on the backend. I was unsure if it would ever get enough traffic to be useful but the effort was certainly worth it because I learned so much from creating it.
The next morning I check Google Analytics. My first thought was, “Crap, where did all my traffic data go?” Because what had been an up/down graph of traffic over the past week was now a flat line. Except for this one dot at the end representing the previous day. That shot up to 32,000+.
Jaw, meet floor. Floor, meet jaw.
My wife and I were very excited. I had an email from one of the producers for NPR’s All Things Considered show asking me to come into LA for an interview. He told me that he found out about the site from Dave Barry’s blog.
What? Dave Barry? He wrote about RunPee?
I don’t know if I can sufficiently express the disbelief over what was happening. Unfortunately the excitement was short lived because we had troubles.
I could tell that the site was getting a lot of traffic because it was very slow. My wife and I were working on some blog posts and then everything went down. It seems that someone listening to the net@night show posted it on Reddit.com which promptly overloaded the server. My host sent me a message that I had violated the terms of service and my account was suspended. I spent a very hectic day moving the site to a completely different host on a dedicated service.
At this time my wife and I were in our RV, which we live in, up in the mountains above Palm Springs. It’s beautiful and has great weather. And almost no Internet access and zero cell phone coverage. So I packed up my desk, PC and other essentials and came to Manhattan Beach, CA – in the LA area – where my mother and step-father live. They have a spare room and broadband Internet access.
Once the interview on All Things Considered was aired I started getting one request after another to come on radio shows and talk about the site. Next week the TV coverage starts. I’m scheduled to be interviewed by Robert Kavacik with KNBC here in LA next Tuesday, June 2nd. He said that he wanted to get me before it breaks in LA. Hopefully other TV stations will follow.
Later today I’m meeting with potential investers. Which is good because my 1995 Pathfinder needs new tires and I don’t have enough money for them right now.
I think the lesson to be learned here about effective Internet marketing is quite clear, “Listen to your mother and do what she says.”