The Seth Godin and Oprah problem

February 24, 2007

What do Seth Godin and Oprah have in common?

They can kill a website that isn’t setup to scale with web traffic. 

Seth checks out how much his domain is worth with a new SEO tool, the targeted use being for expiring domains. 

As an aside, there’s a virtual land grab going on right now, with ireit, demand media, and a number of “smaller” players (1,000+ domains under registration) buying all kinds of domains.  They buy expired domains because google likes older domains, someone probably put some effort into marketing the site, and they likely have a lot of backlinks.  It’s easy search engine optimization

In the process, he overwhelms the website with traffic because the application and database haven’t been setup to scale.  This is the same problem Oprah creates with her “favorite things” (Oprah is unbiased of course) episode, where the web traffic crushes the small businesses she highlights.

Now imagine you’re an up and coming company with a website that is going to be prominently featured on a Superbowl commercial, in 3 weeks.  Most don’t know enough about the problem to fix it anyway, so we’re back to the Seth and Oprah problem.  Fortunately for that Superbowl advertiser, a scalability expert stepped in juggled a web traffic spike into the tens of millions of unique visitors.  Awesome.

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