Way back in early 2002 I launched malevole, a general dumping ground for silly web projects that had an innovative draggable-notes home page.
Various bits and bobs got attention, then Programming Language Inventor or Serial Killer? went viral in a way that overwhelmed my primitive web stats; it certainly had over 50 million page views in the first couple of years.
But I didn’t really appreciate the potential of that traffic, and found it increasingly hard to focus on personal projects in whatever spare time I had, so eventually I let the site stagnate then felt guilty whenever I looked at it.
Fast-forward to August 2019 and it’s back, this time as VOLE.wtf. With social networks absorbing so much content, the decline of blogs and the death of Flash in the intervening years, I wanted to see if it was still possible to get people interested in a daft web site and make some things go viral. A lot has changed even since the days of UsVsTh3m.
Programming Language Inventor or Serial Killer? was rebuilt and improved along with Text Generator, then I’ve been regularly adding new things, ranging from every unsporty nerd’s worst nightmare to a public domain stock photo site dedicated to crisp sandwiches. You can sing to your browser, pick a gruesome death or generate a comic.
But the big hit so far has been Can You Draw a Perfect Circle?, an idea I’d kicked around, discussed and very nearly pitched to clients several times over the last five years. One day I finally solved the nagging UI and scoring issues that had always bothered me, and its traffic recently pushed VOLE.wtf to over a million page views.
The site costs me a fair bit of time and money and I’m wary of even experimenting with crowdfunding, but making and launching silly things is fun and a good way to show off. So now I’m working on getting that second million…
(Update, 4th April 2020: got there already, wow)
18th March, 2020