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 trefor.net 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 trefor.net 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.