Yesterday, I published an article about FlattenTheCurve.com, a hashtag match domain name that was registered and developed into an informational website in a short period of time. I thought it was neat that an exact match domain name like this was being operated by an expert who is sharing useful and timely information rather than sitting with pay per click advertising.
Sean Markey, who I had the pleasure of meeting at NamesCon this year, alerted me that there was a bit more to the story than I could have known when I published my article:
That was me 🙂
Fun, small story, if you’re interested
— Sean Markey (@seanmarkey) March 11, 2020
Julie McMurry, who is operating the website, confirmed Sean’s involvement in the website:
That ALL thanks to @seanmarkey, very pro-active concerned citizen, and all-around good guy. This could have gone quite differently and I’m so glad it didn’t. You aLL should be interviewing him. That is all. Good night.
— Julie McMurry, MPH🖌️🔬🦕 🌊 (@figgyjam) March 12, 2020
Sean emailed me to share a behind the scenes look at how FlattenTheCurve.com went from a domain registration to an active website within hours. In addition, he shared that the site has seen over 300,000 pageviews in the last few days! Here’s the story Sean shared with me that he okayed for publication:
“I bought FlattenTheCurve.com on Sunday the 8th. I was actually surprised it was still available. I had been seeing the “flatten the curve” graphic circulating on Twitter for a few days before that, and thought it was so clever, and illustrated such an important message so incredibly simply. I checked and the domain was available, so I grabbed it.
My plan was to do something simple, like make the entire site just a graphic of that graph, so it’d be easy to share. However, on Monday morning, someone on Twitter shared a tweet that contained a link to a Gdoc written by Julie McMurry (@FiggyJam on Twitter) which contained the entire post that’s on the site now. It was just an open Gdoc that was struggling under the load of “about a thousand views an hour” according to Julie. There was a bit of text at the top of the Gdoc saying something like “some features are unavailable” due to the traffic.
I reached out to Julie via DM and said, basically, “hey, I happen to own FlattenTheCurve.com and I want to use it for something–what do you think of moving the Gdoc over to the domain? I’ll set up a WP install, make you an admin so you can make ongoing changes, and it’ll just be way more shareable.”
She was very interested, and so I got to work on Monday reformatting the Gdoc to a WP post. She continued to share it on Twitter, and I started doing outreach to try and share it as well, as well as things like making an email list and a Twitter account to share updates (@flattencurve). It’s such a good message for people that are seeing all this bad news go down, and don’t know what to do about it or how to help their communities or themselves. The site really took off and is being shared all over the place. I keep coming across it organically. I’m happy Julie’s really helpful advice is getting out there so efficiently. It really shows the power of a good domain name (but there’s also something to be said for the quality of her post and the timing of it all).
The site is not really monetized at all–just a “donate if you want to and you can” link at the bottom to help with hard costs like hosting and other expenses related to running the site, which was put in place after a few generous people wrote in and asked if there was a way they could donate, and which Julie and I appreciate very much.”
Kudos to Sean for seeing this opportunity and using the domain name to help others. We need to flatten the curve, and I think it will be a pretty cool story for Sean to share with friends and family when we get through this challenging time.