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The story behind the world record attempt #comment24

This attempt at a Guinness World Records® Record all started back in November when I took a customer out to dinner to celebrate a bit of business. The customer mentioned that he read and, to cut a long story short, I said that Timico would donate £1 to his favourite charity for every comment left by one of the staff from his company. I capped this at £100 – it was just a bit of fun. His favourite charity is the RNLI.

A glass or three of wine followed and we decided, as you do, that we would go for a world record. Considering this I upped the ante to 1,000 comments from his employees (£1 each) and said Timico would double up if we got a world record out of it. The record, whatever it was, seemed eminently doable. This customer has thousands of employees globally with many of them being industry analysts and commentators with large twitter followings.

I was sure that we could have a good time with this important customer and raise some funds for charity at the same time.

I woke up the next day thinking hmm what have I committed to and wondering what the record actually was! There was nothing on the Guinness World Records website but looking around it seemed very rare for a post of any sort to have more than a few hundred comments.

Making enquiries with the GWR people it turns out that there isn’t an actual record in place but they considered that 100,000 comments would be an appropriate level to make it stick. Gulp.

The scale of what lay ahead of us gave rise to a bit of an issue. One was that the “marketing” effort would have to be a big one and not just a few people from the customer leaving comments.

The second was that the site sits on an old box somewhere in Timico’s HQ and this server would quite possibly not be up to the job of handling all the web traffic that would naturally be generated by a successful world record attempt.  We could be looking at millions of visits.

Also £2,000 started to look a bit paltry as a charitable donation for something that might attract global levels of attention. To be fair to the customer he was more than happy to continue helping and I spoke with the RNLI who suggested that we put a link in the blog post taking visitors to the RNLI website. This way visitors to the blog could also, if they chose, make their own donation supplementing Timico’s own input – basically now £1 per unique commenter up to 2k comments. This seemed to work for everyone. Update 3rd Jan – more sponsors are now continuously coming on board – check the most recent numbers here.

As far as the marketing is concerned everyone to whom I have mentioned the world record attempt has volunteered to help out. We now have a great team of folk up for the challenge and the fun of it really but also recognising that the RNLI will ultimately benefit.

From a technology perspective the blog is also about to move to a state of the art platform that should be able to cope with the surge in traffic on the day. I will be publishing more details of this and of the people who have helped in the run up to the 5th January – the date of the world record attempt.

Trefor Davies

By Trefor Davies

Liver of life, father of four, CTO of, writer, poet,

22 replies on “The story behind the world record attempt #comment24”

Thanks Cyberdoyle, Mike and Jonas – all help, retweets etc gratefully received. Roll on 5th Jan. Note I will be on BBC Lincolnshire at 9am on Monday 2nd previewing the attempt.

This should be fun/interesting!

My provider (sorry it’s not Timico 🙁 ) has a forum post with 42,000+ posts in it – and that’s over a long period of time. So you seem quite ambitious 😉

Hopefully your large client will pull in the punters – and you can be assured all your @tref followers will all do their best! 🙂

I guess you have probably already done some testing on what it takes to get a WordPress instance up to >100k comments and the traffic that goes with it. Would be interested in hearing about that sometime.

The RNLI is a very deserving cause, coincidentally I was reading about the 20th anniversary of the loss of the Solomon Browne and it’s crew a couple of weeks ago at an astonishing story!

We’ll help things along by making a donation of £250 to the RNLI at £1/comment for the 2001-2250th comment and RT etc.

Rob that’s really great thanks.The blog is moving to a whizzbang cisco ucs platform to handle the attention.will be describing on Tuesday.

You have also given me the idea of finding other sponsors for subsequent comments. Anyone reading this?

Hi Tony,
All the best in your record attempt & helping RNLI in the process.
I am sure there will be another glass or three of wine when you hit your target!!
Good Luck.

A worthwhile cause and great that a glass of wine or two can lead to positive thinking and actions. Good luck and hope that you conquer the world record too! 🙂

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