2/12/2007

Did Chuck Norris Kill SOA?

It's fun to get a handle on what people are interested in on the web. At my ittyurl.net site, I have a ticker that shows the most popular internet searches for the day,constantly refreshed, and when you click on one, it takes you to the search results for that on my search page -- on site.

This is extremely interesting to me because it not only keeps "counts" of the most popular (and recent) searches for everyone to see, it also increments the count every time somebody clicks on one of the searches that are already there. So you get kind of a mixed bag - what people are searching for on the web in general, plus what of my current list of top searches are getting "re-clicked". Here's a sample of a recent top 20:


Saddam Hussein
runescape
fergie
aishwarya rai
ufc
ciara
wwe
limewire
grey's anatomy
cross-page postback
hi-5
nfl draft
britney spears
web.config
james brown
System.EnterpriseServices
ASP.NET app
beyonce knowles
new years revolution 2007



You can see quite easily that people are primarily interested in celebrities, Football, TV, movies, and gory stuff (Saddam Hussein). There are a few others that made it to the top 20 (web.config, for example) because they were already in the list (probably from me, although they could get into the list from anybody's search) and then a lot of people clicked on them.

I built this site primarily for myself - I wanted an easy way to keep lists of links (especially very long urls), convert them to short urls, and index / tag them so they'd be easily searchable. Then I thought, why not just make everything public, and let other people use it if they like it. So, its gaining popularity every day, and I get to "experiment" with my new ideas and get quick feedback on them. The main assembly for the whole site is still only 92K!

If i get a new idea, I code it up, test it, and redeploy the site. Takes about 1 minute. I have a lot of private metrics that only I (as admin) get to look at, and so I get quick feedback on what works, and what doesn't. Everything that happens on this site - every click, every referrer, every querystring -- gets logged to the database, where I can easily do various kinds of data-mining.

So the bottom line of all this is that if you want to attract traffic to your .NET / Programming related material, you probably should consider tying it in some way to Chuck Norris. I mean, if you are coming out with .NET SOA Toolkit, consider calling it "Britney SOA Spears Toolkit". Get a lot more interested folks, huh?

Then again, you might just attract the wrong crowd... But you will never know unless you try it, right?

Einstein defined insanity as "Doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results". How many people (yourself included) do you know that you've seen doing this? People who go around in circles, attempting to solve a problem, always following the same pattern in vain hope that some outcome will change? What you need to do is do different things, and measure the results. That's not insane at all. That's the way to make things change, and move forward.

Cheers.