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Finances & Money

A star for a day. What I learned

Today, Clever Dude went from near-obscurity into stardom with a single post. I got a taste of fame and it was bittersweet.

What happened today?
Whereas CleverDude.com normally gets about 80-100 visitors per day, thanks to a post by my wife Clever Dudette, my site has gotten over 10,600 visitors and still counting (it’s 10:00pm Eastern). The site was featured on the front page of Consumerist, Lifehacker, LifeHack, Delicious (Popular pages), and numerous other personal and commercial sites.

How did I feel at the beginning?
I was elated. I was paging my wife that her article was getting a couple hundred visitors at about 10am, which is more than I’ve ever gotten in a day. Then it kept building, and I was getting more comments than I’ve ever gotten. More comments in a single post than almost on my whole site! I could barely concentrate at my day job, and my coworkers were following the numbers up and up and up.

When did things go wrong?
I learned a few things today about etiquette and copyright law. Some early visitors may have noticed 3 pictures next to the menu items in the Frugal Lunch post. Right now, there’s only 1 (the Tuna Salad Sandwich). These images were pulled from Flickr.com late last night, and I didn’t understand the whole Creative Commons thing. I seriously thought they were SHARING their images. Why else would they post them on a community site like Flickr?

My site got picked up from Lifehack.org, then by LifeHacker.com, then by The Consumerist.com, via LifeHacker. The Consumerist used the tuna salad sandwich image from my post for their own, and that’s where things went downhill. Since the Consumerist has had problems with using images on Flickr in the past without attributing them to the owner, the Flickr community immediately picked up on it and formed a mob.

Settling the issues
By about 3pm, the owner of the tuna salad sandwich photo got wind of the problem and emailed me. Rachel Rappaport was very nice about the whole thing, which I can’t say about the Flickr community (I read the Forum post thanks to another Flickr Pro member). I worked things out very quickly with Rachel and attributed the picture to her properly. I then removed the other 2 pictures as I found they were “All Rights Reserved” and didn’t want to deal with the hassle of any more fallout.

What did I learn about Creative Commons copyrights and Flickr usage?
If you’re going to use an image from Flickr (or any other site), you need to find out what the owner’s copyright on the image allows for. This page on Flickr lets you find images that fall under different ranges of Creative Commons, as well as explain each type of CC level.

For example, the lowest license level, Attribution License lets you do almost anything with the image as long as you attribute the image to the owner. All Rights Reserved is the strictest and you might as well go find another image.

What is Attribution?
Attribution may differ for each owner, and it’s best to find out what the owner wants by contacting them directly before using their image. Some owners are fine with just their name listed. Some want the image to link back to their Flickr page, or another homepage. Others may ask for both, or even more. It’s up to them, which can cause a lot of confusion and disgust with the system. However, you don’t want people stealing your articles without notifying you, right?

What did I learn about web site design?
I learned that I need to clean out even more from my theme. Turns out there’s still a bit of baggage hanging around and dragging server performance down. It could be the K2 code all over the place (likely), too many plugins (likely), or too many images or other links (likely). I’ll be working on the site design behind the scenes for the next few nights to streamline the design, but I’ll try to minimize the impact to you, my visitors.

Tell me some more stats!
I don’t have the new Feedburner stats (except I got 5 new email subscribers), and Alexa hasn’t updated yet, but I did go from about 103,000 on Technorati to about 65,000 today. Also, I went from #51 Finance site on TopBlogSites.com to #2. I don’t think I’ll kick #1 by tomorrow though.

Thanks for making the site such a success today!

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Clever Dude

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