Dec 29

Results of the NameCheap Twitter Trivia Contest

Social media tools are free, but that doesn’t mean that you can get something from nothing. Whether you are spending time or money, social media marketing requires investment, just like growing food or building apps or anything else in life.

That’s why I was so happy to hear that Richard Kirkendall, the CEO of NameCheap and a client of mine, was interested in giving away free domains in a trivia contest on Twitter. I added the element of overall winners to it and a tracking page, wrote the questions, and worked on the automation of the questions with the CTO, and we were on our way. Essentially, @namecheap asked a trivia question in Twitter every hour on the hour. To win a free domain, you have to answer “@namecheap (answer). The fastest to answer as well as two players and random get $9.69 automatically put into a NameCheap account that they have to set up to play. Since Twitter has an API, it’s all integrated. The people who answered the most correctly won iPods.

What were the results?

  • Over 4,000 followers gained in less than one month. We got dozens of comments from people who loved the contest and might win a Shorty Award in the Tech category.
  • Mentions in Mashable, Yahoo News, Domain Name News, and over 30 pages of Google results with bloggers mentioning it from all around the world. The contest generated 131 backlinks to one page, which went from a PR 0 to a PR 5 in one month. I have no idea how many backlinks it generated for the homepage, but I imagine it was more than 131.
  • Over a 10% increase in traffic with 47% increase in new visitors.
  • 20% increase in new customers. This is not a startup, but a company that has been around since 2000.
  • It cost Richard some domains he might have not sold anyway, the price of a couple of press releases, a few people’s monthly salaries and four iPods. Bloggers are on Twitter. Do things on Twitter that get bloggers talking about you and you get backlinks without spending a fortune on paid links.

    Nov 03

    OK, Open Source Project. Let Me Give You Money Already. Geez.

    As much as I pride myself in writing solid copy for a blog post or company website, there’s no point if you don’t bother to reach out. It would be like cooking a good meal without inviting any guests.

    One of my clients is a hosting company WebHostingBuzz. The guys at WebHostingBuzz have been doing hosting forever. It’s what they know. So unlike a lot of their sleazy competitors, they’d just assume not create fake hosting review sites to trick people into thinking they are good, or advertising unlimited bandwidth when the fine print says otherwise.

    What was my proposal to reach out? Why, we would support open source projects by giving them a portion of any sale they refer to us. We track cookies for over a month, so as long as someone chooses WHB as their preferred host without deleting their cookies, they are golden. Easy way to make money, right? Everyone interested in an open source project needs a host.

    Another one of my clients is NameCheap, the domain registrar. NameCheap seriously offers the best deal on the web in terms of domain registration. You get free WhoIs Guard and a free Comodo SSL for a year. I used them because most people don’t know that when you register a domain, your address is listed in the WhoIs directory, meaning any yokel can decide they are going to look up your site and figure out where you live. Whois Guard can protect against this, and I figured that with the SSL and a direct API, it was a great deal for ecommerce software companies especially.

    So I’ve been contacting open source CMS projects and open source ecommerce projects to see if they would be interested in basically getting money just for putting these companies on their sites, like an ad. Of over a dozen companies I’ve called, I’ve had two express interest. These were also the only two (Magento, which is open source, and Shopify, which isn’t) that even bothered getting back to me.

    What is the deal? Do these companies think money is evil or something? Why do open source projects not have a big freaking category that says “HOSTING” and possibly “DOMAINS” where they can get a portion of whatever business they send our way? I’m not trying to take away from the community whatsoever. I’m trying to pour money into it so the primary contributors could perhaps provide support, or help build the community by reaching out to developers. I’m trying to make it easy for people using open source to get services (hosting and domains) they need anyway. If they get complaints, take WHB and NameCheap off the list. It seems that everyone wins under this equation.

    Am I not on this kumbaya bandwagon that says that any money poured into open source is bad? With exception of Automattic and WordPress (who also didn’t get back to me), why do most open source projects not partner with hosting companies and domain registrars? Is this because they are “projects” and not “companies”? Don’t they see that money will allow them to help market to a community and provide support? Who in this equation wouldn’t want this?

    I want to support open source companies and their projects, not buy Google AdWords or set up craptastic fake review sites. Is there a secret knock and a handshake I don’t know? What am I missing something to make this work?