An aside: I don't check my email on weekends; however, I'd noticed a surge in PayPal emails on Sunday, each one notifying me of another order from my online store. Considering I get about 5 orders a year, getting several in a week is an accomplishment!
As of this writing, I have 70 orders on my online store in under a week!
I was still clueless as to how this nationwide audience had found me. I sent out a thank you email pleading for guidance from my customers. Many couldn't recall, but many pointed to instagram posts, facebook posts, and lamebook posts as examples of where they'd found my URL - www.awebsiteyouwillnevergoto.org!
Digging a bit deeper, I also found a bunch of Reddit Posts about the domain name, as well as a few copies of the same image on imgur and reddit. I'm still trying to figure out who might have originated the photo that seems to have spread across several social media platforms. A collector from the show on Friday? This 6000+ Reddit r/lifehacks post seems to be the originator, and it moved to the r/meme Reddit sub. As with all viral things, it morphed into r/firstworldanarchists offering the challenge to 800+ fans, then r/InclusiveOr showing dexterity in content, then r/madlads screen capping our sticker page.
To say the least, it's been a week of packing and shipping my assorted novelties to a new fanbase across the country. I still undercharge for shipping, and probably lost money on some of the very tiny one dollar orders. Still, I appreciate the exposure, and the opportunity to make someone giggle!
My goal now is to automate the store ordering process (I'd been doing it by hand for years), as this surge in orders pointed out many deficiencies in my order fulfillment pipeline. I ran out of stock on 2 items, and have to hand-update the website to stop accepting orders for those items. I have to find new vendors for manufacturing some items (it's been years...), and am inspired to start creating new products to sell. Give my store a visit, or try to visit www.awebsiteyouwillnevergoto.org...
As you can see from the spiked graph from Amazon above, on or about October 19th, there's a spike in outbound bandwidth costs. My usually tiny hosting bill is 6x larger than usual, mostly due to the sheer traffic that went to my website and visited many of the pages. I did a web page load test on the www.awebsiteyouwillnevergoto.org website again, and it's still a pretty hefty 6.2mb download for all the html and graphics, but I'd pushed 260+GB of data in total over 7 days to an unknown amount of visitors. This is when doing a little web tracking would have been useful, but I'd long ignored any of the pointless reports due to the sheer lack of valuable data. So, no surprise, I'm caught unprepared. Lesson learned.
It's back again on Reddit, this time with a cropped sticker that removes my URL all the way from Colorado, about 20 days after the initial surge. This is probably one of the stickers I included in my orders, and a customer is milking the viralness of the provocative statement, while removing credit and attribution... Thanks, anonymous asshole.
I'd found a copy of this artwork on a t-shirt and was incensed. Eventually, I calmed down, and figured no one in their right mind would wear this on a shirt. I had become victim to a twitter botnet that creates fake products based on viral images, who have been rightfully shown their place by hackers who recently forced copyrighted work to be automatically stolen, implicating themselves for lawsuits from much more powerful forces.