It’s All About the Mousetrap

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been thinking a lot about what it takes to get MASSIVE amounts of traffic to a website - and by MASSIVE, I’m talking Facebook type traffic (compete.com recently has Facebook logging nearly 145 million unique visitors a month). The only conclusion I can come can to is that it’s not about marketing, it’s about the product. 

There’s a key scene in the movie ‘The Social Network’ where Mark Zuckerberg’s character is talking to Eduardo Saverin’s character and he’s berating Eduardo for freezing the money in the company’s bank account. During the lecture, Mark’s character tells Eduardo “We won’t be the next Friendster or MySpace”. Here, whether or not this was said in reality, the point is being made that without money to support growth, Facebook would have not been stable enough to support growth, and would have eventually died.

It’s well known that Mark was obsessed about creating a site that would change the world and in his book ‘The Facebook Effect’ author Daniel Fitzpatrick goes to great length to point out Mark’s strategy of doing just that. He explains that part of that strategy was making sure the site was functioning nearly 100% of the time. Have you noticed that Facebook has never placed one banner ad or run one television commercial to get traffic to its website?

So what does it take to get MASSIVE traffic? Marketing helps, but it’s not the end all be all. I consider myself a pretty good marketer. I could get literally millions of visitors to a website about the different variations of dog crap. But in order to get MASSIVE traffic, it takes more than just good marketing, it takes a product that consumers want.

MASSIVE traffic only comes when you have a product that people want. Facebook is a good example of this. eBay, Amazon and Google have all been Web 1.0 examples of this (I remember being at eBay during a 24 hour site outage, not a fun time).

The point of this is when you’re building a product, whether that product is a service or an actual thing that someone purchases, if you want demand for the product, make sure that the quality of the product is worth the demand of your audience.