Earlier this month, the website shipyourenemiesglitter.com burst forth onto the internet. For only $9.99, the creator of the website promised, he would anonymously ship a package of glitter to any person of your choosing — thereby ensuring that the recipient would be finding the notoriously hard-to-eradicate substance on their floors and in their possessions for months afterwards.
Yet after receiving $20,000 in orders, the owner begged the internet to stop ordering the “glitter bombs,” then sold the entire business at auction for $85,000. So what was that all about?
Mathew Carpenter is the man who was behind the whole thing. After making a New Year’s resolution to work on more side projects to improve his marketing skills, Carpenter experimented around before finding success with the glitter-shipping site. Remarkably, the only marketing tactics he used were one tweet, and one post to ProductHunt. From there, the story was picked up by dozens of online news sources and other websites.
Because of the media hype surrounding shipyourenemiesglitter.com, the new owner can expect very few successful competitors. A Google search for the company yields 430,000 results, and should the new owner reopen shop, that number will grow thanks to reviews and reactions. Regardless of which keywords the new owner wishes to associate with the website, shipyourenemiesglitter.com will outrank most other sites in search engine results, simply due to the extensive media coverage it has received.
One of the biggest lessons Carpenter has taken from this experience (aside from how messy glitter can make a living room) is that the media has become lazy. A few sources stated that Carpenter was a university student, which is untrue. Others asked questions, but didn’t wait for a reply. One source asked for verification of web traffic, and, when Carpenter provided it, published the article stating that he could not provide evidence of the enormous web traffic the site was receiving.
Carpenter has remained positive, however, telling the New York Observer, “The great thing about this project, no matter how messy my place has gotten from the glitter, is that I’ve met a lot of really smart and creative people from it so hopefully I get to work with them on something cool moving forward.”