What Going Viral Means

The other day I received change from a purchase, and one of the bills had a Where's George stamp on it. I hadn't seen a stamped bill like this in some time. I remember when they first started showing up in the late 1990s.
Wheres George

Where's George?  https://www.wheresgeorge.com/ is an idea that was created by Hank Eskin in 1998. It's a really fun site that tracks the movement of US currency, mostly $1 bills. It's a great site to teach children about how money moves around in our country, and in some cases, the world.

Where's George? has undergone a few changes since its creation. Friends of Where's George? is an upgraded version of Where's George? that offers an advertisement free experience, and has other options not available to free users.

In my opinion, Where's George? is a classic case of going viral that has lasted beyond the initial "pop" of something initially becoming part of the public vernacular. It's over 20 years old as of this writing, and each time someone hears about it, there is a renewed interest in Where's George?. 

Where's George? has started a hobby called Georging. There are people that take the time to see how many bills they can enter into the Where's George? website for tracking. There's an interesting article on Georging at NPR: https://www.npr.org/2013/03/24/174966382/wheres-george-the-trail-of-1-bills-across-the-u-s

From a marketing standpoint, Where's George? is a dream come true. The Where's George? website gets thousands of website visitors each day. Alexa gives Where's George? a global rank of 176,727 and a US rank of 41,587, as of the initial posting of this blog. This is incredible for a free, or now a "freemium" website. Where's George? is optimized for Google Adsense, obviously. If you have that much traffic, you want to monetize. AdSense, or paid ads enable free websites to continue operation without burdening the site owner.

Every idea that people come up with, whether it's for business or not, we think that our ideas can go viral. But, very few ideas in reality ever go viral. One of my past clients was so excited about SEO for websites, he published a blog on BuzzFeed about SEO. This happened in 2016, about 10 years after SEO had become a buzzword. He was in shock when his BuzzFeed account was shut down in less than an hour after posting.

I had to explain to him that things that go viral are typically cat videos, stupid people videos, TV shows, internet celebrities, and things that are appealing to the youth. It is not very often that businesses go viral. It does happen, but it rarely lasts beyond the initial pop of the moment.

wheres George stamp
Where's George? has created a few ancillary products. There is plenty of Where's George? products like t-shirts, coffee mugs, and at one time the Where's George? stamps. However, the Where's George? stamps are no longer sold on the site. There are plenty of places to buy them online, but due to legislation against advertising on US currnecy, Where's George? has decided to stop selling stamps.
I just sent my dollar stamped Where's George? onto its next leg of the journey. If you have a moment, take some time and see where your currency has been.

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