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Anatomy of a meme

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If you haven’t already seen it, this site is #2 on Daypop, Popdex, and Blogdex. Since this is my first time with that sort of recognition, I wanted to explain how I got there and what that means for the site. It’s an interesting look at how traffic and memes flow through blogland.

It started when Bill Zeller created his automatic button maker. Knowing that the world prefers a GUI to a command line, I whipped up a quick HTML front end to it.

Simon Willison discovered Bill’s tool and linked to it. That appears to have been the very first link. Then Dean McKenzie was looking at offline blog posting tools and happened across Zempt. He followed a link from Zempt to Bill’s site and saw both the button maker and link to my GUI. He mentioned those to Paulo, who posted them to MetaFilter.

From there, it snowballed. People picked up the links and mentioned them on their own blogs. Since yesterday, over 300 sites have linked to the button maker GUI. Someone created a powerful command line application. I put a simple GUI on it and I ‘m getting all the credit. I feel a bit like Bill Gates. Bill Zeller doesn’t seem to mind that I’m the one on Daypop, etc. We both know that the link wouldn’t be there if it weren’t for him.

Yesterday morning I noticed I’d gotten over 100 referrals from Blogdex, so I went to see what was going on. The button maker GUI was the #4 link.Then later, I started getting traffic from Popdex. Then Daypop. Soon, Blogdex was my number one referrer.

I’ve had pages from this site appear briefly on Blogdex and Daypop, but I’ve never been in the top 20 sites and never for more than an hour or so. I’ve now been in the top 5 on Blogdex for at least 24 hours and the top 5 on Daypop and Podex since I woke up this morning. What surprises me is how little traffic these sites actually provide. Over the last week or two my site has averaged about 2000 page views a day. Over the last two days, I’m averaging 12,000 page views per day. I would have thought that links from MetaFilter, Blogdex, Daypop, and Popdex would have sent more than 10,000 people to the site. Out of all the sites, Blogdex has sent the most visitors so far, but Daypop is climbing fast.

Trackback from
May 23, 2003 11:17 AM

Nothing like a little traffic

Excerpt: The other day I made a little button using Adam Kalsey's Button Maker. I told Paulo, he linked it on MeFi. Today Adam IM's me out of the blue. He

David Collantes
May 23, 2003 2:24 PM

Yes, amazing, huh? Just hope you do not get /.'ed, otherwise you might get a big bill on bandwidth charges...

Timothy Appnel
May 23, 2003 2:49 PM

Its so big the button maker has been added as amajor feature to SixApart's forthcoming TypePad service. Here it is straight from the CEO's mouth:

Trackback from anil dash's daily links
May 23, 2003 3:02 PM

Anatomy of a meme


David Collantes
May 23, 2003 10:03 PM

Timothy, that Mena's post is just too funny. :-) Thanks for it!

Trackback from Volume of Interactions
May 28, 2003 6:33 PM

For the traffic conscious

Excerpt: I've written a few posts about how a website's popularity is a design, rather than a fluke. This is another...

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