After the success of WhereMyFriends.Be which is both awesome and surprising we are faced with an interesting question. Being on Mashable and CNN has both upped our visibility and our credibility to a certain extent. Additionally we now have a pretty large database of users with 12 thousand signups and over 1,000,000 friends mapped.
The problem with WhereMyFriends.Be is that it is very much a single serving app. You go to the landing page, you sign up, see your map, post to your Twitter and then your friends use it. You will most likely never come back. This means that in its existing form it’s not really an option for a long-term project. The question then becomes: what should we do with our new visibility and userbase?
My name is Dan Shipper, I’m a freshman in college, and I’ve been programming for 9 years. Two months ago I met Wesley Zhao and Ajay Mehta and we started hacking small websites together. Our second project turned into what is now WhereMyFriends.Be which is a small app that shows you where your Facebook friends are on an interactive Google Map. The site was featured on Mashable and CNN and promptly went down. We spent the next four days trying to get it back online and working. This is what I learned.
1. Prepare for the worst. We originally had our site on a GoDaddy VPS server. I would say that it lasted about a minute after the Mashable article was posted. From then on we were scrambling to switch hosts as quickly as possible and minimize down time. If we had just ponied up in the beginning for a Rackspace setup (I love them) we would have been much better able to capitalize on the traffic we were getting. As it is we signed up almost 10,000 users but still – prepare for the worst.