By David Ponce
Exactly one year and three days ago, OhGizmo was born with this strange little post. I was young and idealistic and believed in whirled peas and all that jive. And, for the next five months, as a token of my blistering success, what happened? I averaged around 50 visitors daily, amassing in that time about as many visitors as we now get in a day. Not exactly anything to write home about.
These days, while we’re still a far cry from where we’d like to be, we do manage a respectable 7,500 uniques a day. We’re still hanging on to that 29,367 spot on Alexa and things are going well. What happened? How did we get from there to here? Well, in this article I’ll walk you down memory lane: you’re going to see the posts that “made” OhGizmo. Not all of them, cause there’s a truckload, but the most significant.
What goes into building traffic? A little science-fiction, a little sex, a lot of luck and even more hard work. Yup, that’s the recipe (at least for us).
It all started with this, on May 23rd: The Humanoid Hugging Pillow. At first, it seemed to be a life-sized human shaped “pillow”, made for, em, hugging. Sort of an upgraded version of the lap pillows that had already come out at the time. Gizmodo picked it up, and 15,000 visitors poured in within a day. But then, some readers pointed out that it was no such thing. It’s simply a big rectangular pillow, a “dakimura”, with this picture printed on it. This sort of thing is popular popular among a certain crowd in Japan. Fun, but not quite as fun as it could have been, I guess. $140. [Humanoid Hugging Pillow]
Then, on June 28th, Gizmodo again picked up on an article: The Lineriders. This was a project to reinvent Hotwheels cars by outfitting them with technology allowing the little wheeled buggers to follow lines drawn on the ground. The idea being that you’d be able to draw your own racetracks, right on the floor, and annotate them with special symbols telling the cars to either slow down, speed up, etc. As the story unfolded, we found out that the project had already gone beyond the conceptual stage, with actual working prototypes, but was not in production yet. This article netted a respectable 12,000 visitors. [Lineriders, Hotwheels Revisited]
By then, we’d already caught the eyes of the guys at Gizmodo. They were receptive to our tips, and that came in handy when news of the Optimus OLED keyboard broke. To be fair, Andru at Gearlive tipped me off, but the next day, Gizmodo credited us both. People went nuts and flooded the site with traffic, linking from everywhere. What is it? Well, it’s a very special keyboard with a tiny OLED on each key, allowing it to become endlessly reconfigurable, adjusting to each different application. It’s not out yet, and there’s plenty of speculation on “when” or even “if”. Stay tuned for that one. [Best. Keyboard. Evar.]
At this point, I started recruiting contributors, and it’s one of them, Asim Waqar, who broke what is possibly our biggest story ever: The Heliodisplay, from company IO2 Technology. It was the sci-fi nut’s dream come true; R2D2′s three dimensional display come to life. The Heliodisplay projects an image into thin air. What’s more, you can interact with the image and manipulate the objects you see, with your fingers. It was madness, and it was finally in production. So what happened? Slashdot did. Let me tell you, a Slashdotting is frightening. Within two days, we had received 140,000 visitors. There was so much interest in the product that I thought I’d ask Chad Dyner, the inventor, for an interview. Sure enough, he accepted. [Interactive 3D Display: It's Here!] and [OhGizmo Exclusive: Interview With The Heliodisplay Inventor]
By now, things were peachy, and I wasn’t submitting things to other sites as much. So, it came as a bit of a surprise to me when I started seeing a deluge of traffic from Fark.com on October 1st. For what? The Duct Tape BandAid, a “rugged” bandage being sold by the Nexcare division of 3M, and targeted to manly men, concerned about their, eh, image. I never imagined people could be so passionate about duct tape. The next day, Boingboing picked it up, and the deluge continued, finally tapering after about 100,000 lovely new visitors. [The Duct Tape BandAid]
Well, the list really goes on and on. So, I’ll finish it up with this one: Eminent Tech’s TRW17, aka the world’s most powerful subwoofer. Of course, “most powerful” is a bit of a misnomer, as the TRW’s claim to fame is its ability to generate frequencies as low as 1Hz. It’s not a traditional subwoofer, with a magnet and a cone. Instead, it uses a fan-like design, where the blades are rotated and modulated to create a cone of vibrating air that can turn an entire room into a resonating box. And sure, you can’t really hear at that low a frequency, but I’m told that your insides get quite the shaking, and I know we’re all up for a little gut-shaking, no? So what happened with the story? Again, Slashdot picked it up and dumped a good 120,000 visitors on us. Yay subwoofers! [The World's Most Powerful Subwoofer]
And well, that’s it for now folks. The last thing I want to do, is to thank all our readers for a wonderful year, especially everyone who makes this site more interesting by participating in the comments. Thanks for spreading the word about us, as I know some of you have been. Thanks for reading, and keep coming back. We’ll keep getting better and drunker, I promise you that.