Yesterday was quite an exciting day as priceTrackr made its presence known with the help of my favorite news site Digg. Excitement, anger, and frustration carried me through the day. The following is a reenactment of the events leading to, and of yesterday.
9/5/2006 - 10:25AM
I suggested to Adam that I should self promote priceTrackr on Digg, which he initially spoke against it because it would be more reputable from someone else. I agreed, however I was only hoping to attract a few users from Digg, so I decided to go forward with it. Since I was only expecting 10-20 diggs on this I figured it would be best to digg to my blog entry allowing for someone in the future to digg priceTrackr directly. In the long run this was a good and bad move on my part, however I’ll explain this later.
9/5/2006 @ 10:48AM
9/5/2006 @ 10:56AM
priceTrackr had already received 6 diggs, and Adam said, “I hope your WordPress doesn’t crap out.” I though that it’d suck to be a victim of “the Digg Effect” so I downloaded the wp-cache plugin and tested it’s functionality. I had to fix one line in the code to get it to display the page if there was no cached version. In addition Adam pointed me to the Digg This plugin, which I figured would be cool to have on the site.
9/5/2006 @ The remainder of the day
priceTrackr had shot up to about 12 diggs rather quickly, but then settled down so I was only expecting few more however I was resilient to let the article just sit there. I made an effort to make a semi-meaning full comment every few hours so that the article would reappear in the Digg Spy.
9/6/2006 @ About 9:30AM
Adam and I had went to the office for our day job and we were casually checking the progress and noticed the article had about 30 diggs. About this time I received a ton of emails from my update script indicating it couldn’t connect to www.newegg.com. Turns out Newegg’s www prefix didn’t work but newegg.com had worked just fine, so I fixed my problem.
9/6/2006 @ Approximately 10AM
Still checking the status Adam and I noticed there was about 40 diggs and a user herrshuster made the comment, “Lt’s gt this on th front page, diggrs!” I was still skeptical about making it to the front page as nearly a day had passed, nonetheless my excitement level had gone way up, and my day job work for that day pretty much stopped.
9/6/2006 @ About 10:30AM (The Big Bang)
I was constantly checking the most popular page of upcoming tech articles and upon refresh my article had disappeared from the top of the list. My excitement peaked, I yelled something similar to the Dean Scream, and immediately went to check on the comments.
9/6/2006 @ 10:35AM
Though I was filled with excitement I soon realized that my host probably can’t handle the large influx of people on priceTrackr, as I had not enabled any sort of caching. I sent an email to my host requesting they do all that is possible to keep my server running.
9/6/2006 @ 10:36AM
The Digg Effect was in full effect as my host as disabled my account. I immediately called their technical service to resolve this, unfortunately paying $6/month doesn’t give you much flexibility in what can be done. They said they’d turn it back on, however they’d have to chmod my priceTrackr folder until the traffic subsided. I asked them to put up a message stating the site was down and politely hung up the phone despite my terrible frustration at the time.
At this point I wasn’t sure what to do as I didn’t want to spend $99/month on a dedicated host when I wouldn’t need it within a week, but I wanted to get my site back up as soon as possible. Adam suggested using the company’s dedicated host temporarily, and that is what I did.
Comments on my blog started coming in stating my site was down; like I didn’t know. My personal favorite was from ted who wrote, “your site is down, probably will never visit again. nice knowing you.”
9/6/2006 @ 11AM
I changed my DNS servers to point to the updated DNS, and made the necessary changes on the host to allow my site to be reached. I then moved the files and the database over, and finally waited for people’s DNS to update.
9/6/2006 @ 1:19PM
I posted in my comments that priceTrackr was back up, however I forgot to mention that it only applied for people who’s DNS had received the update.
9/6/2006 @ The rest of the day
The diggs kept going up and people visited both this site was well as priceTrackr. Of course some people weren’t able to get to priceTrackr well into the evening, but there wasn’t much I could do about that. After all the excitement a delayed hangover set in, so no day job work was accomplished.
Later that night I implemented pear’s Cache_Lite (I am a proud supporter of the pear packages), which to my surprise was amazingly simple and greatly decreased the server load, as well as the page loading time.
Results of being dugg
I mentioned before digging to my blog was both good and bad, and here is why: Digging to my blog was beneficial because this site was down for approximately 10 minutes where priceTrackr was down at least two hours or more depending on the user’s DNS. The negative side of this was I received about two times as many visitors to my blog than I did to priceTrackr. I know this has to do with priceTrackr being unreachable, but nonetheless those people did not get to see priceTrackr.
Traffic graph of bryceboe.com
Traffic graph of priceTrackr.com
As you can see priceTrackr had two spikes which definitely hurt the amount of traffic that visited the site. For those of you that are wondering I made about $20 from Google Adsense yesterday which isn’t too shabby. If I can consistently pull in at least $5 a day I will upgrade to a dedicated host.
Finally I just want to thank everyone who dugg priceTrackr despite the self promotion. I hope priceTrackr will be useful and there is anything that you would like to see please send me an email or make a comment. You may check on the status of priceTrackr at the priceTrackr project page. Thanks again.