Monday, August 21, 2006

Why time is traffic

Many people out there are looking for good ways to make traffic, generate clicks and get audience. It might be by hitting to the top stories on Digg, spamming forums and vaguely related blogs... but most of the time the easiest way to get a large audience is to think in those terms: "Time is traffic".

Whenever a global event occurs, the first people out to exploit it harvest big amounts of clicks, and big money. Let's take the World Cup Final between France and Italy last month. Zidane's headbutt on an italian player was seen by a billion viewers. A few hours after the match Zanot, an italian programmer, designed a game in which you control Zidane and headbutt an italian player. Zanot's webpage received millions and millions of visitors in a few days. His game became The game for one week, hitting record audience in France, Italy but also in South Korea, Japan and many other countries. Take a look at the flash game if you haven't yet (it's here), you will see that it is poorly designed and rapidly becomes boring. There are thousands of better flash games out there. Why did this one become a hit? Because it was the first flash game on the net to relate to the event.
The same was true for the first out to exploit the massive leak of search data by AOL this month. It took only several hours for people to develop web-based search tools to navigate through all this data, to design sites referencing the strangest weirdest searches and users. These guys also got a "place under the sun" - with millions of hits - and their sites are still running high. The best example is, a site that was immediately mentioned on major web-related news sites.

So whenever something special happens - whereas it is a big event, an unusual one or whatever - you might want to use it, exploit it, be part of the first ones and take your share of the cake. Next time Janet Jackson shows one of her tits on TV, make a game out of it. Or just make a website to reference jokes and cartoons on the event, or create a blog on the matter, or... Well, whatever you do, do something. It does not cost much, but if you are out early, you will rocket up. It does not need to be excellent, but be quick. Time is traffic.


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