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But anyways, best marketing strategy ever? This probably cost SF ~$30,000 and they got the number 1 hit on google for several hours, and they are in the top 20 searches 5 times right now. Best 30K ever spent by a marketing department.
Well... Free Day has come and gone. It was most definitely not without some hiccups (ok... ok... full belly burps). We apologize for anyone who was unable to take part in the $100k give away. But let's revisit the goals of the Free Day (from the original announcement) and see how we did:"First and foremost, we want to give back. We've had a stellar year in 2009, and it's all because of you. So please, have a beer (or a Stepper Motor Driver) on us."Did we accomplish this? We think so. This was Free Day's primary goal because our customers are the biggest part of what makes SparkFun work. Their innovation and creativity makes this "world" turn. In our opinion, the beauty of DIY electronics is its openness - this type of technology should be available to everyone to play around with. We thought limiting the promotion to just our prior customers would really be going against this notion. So we opened it up - to everyone. This left some people feeling jilted and some people ecstatic - but overall, we think this was a good thing not just for the people who got their order through, but for the whole DIY electronics community."Second: We wish we could sponsor more groups but we don't have a sound way of selecting appropriate projects. Because we can't afford to say yes to everyone, we have to say no to everyone. It pains us every time we have to do it. So this is a way for us to evenly enable all the students and great minds of the world to pickup a $100 worth of free gear. Go for it!"I think the answer to the first questions answers this as well. We hope we helped a few people accomplish projects they've been dreaming up!"Third: Free Day will possibly create a maelstrom of site traffic, the likes of which our servers have not seen. At the beginning of December, 2009, SparkFun will be graduating out of its high-chair and moving into a server cluster. We are excited to have the breathing room, and Free Day will help us evaluate just how much breathing room we're getting. We'll do everything in our power to keep the site up but please understand that the site may go down."This was, of course, more than just a test for our servers - we could've done that virtually and I think anyone who participated in Free Day knows how this worked. Our server went down three times during this ordeal. Once, it really broke on its own (the day before Free Day). Yikes. The other two times, we took it down on purpose before Free Day started to make upgrades we knew we'd need to have even a fighting chance of completing the day. Did our upgrades work? Yes and no. Yes, we were able to finish Free Day. No, it didn't go as smoothly as we hoped. Our site was slow as molasseses. We learned a ton in the IT realm of things and will use that information down the line. We hope in the meantime your F5 key is still intact and functioning."Fourth: We turn 7 years old! SparkFun is now over 70 employees and is the ripe old age of 49 (in business and dog years). We'd like to celebrate our birthday with a party."Was it fun? Sure! But what we are really looking forward to is what comes down the line a week, a month, a year from now. We hope someone out there got a few things from Free Day and will create something really cool, or just start down the path of DIY electronics and get the same enjoyment we do out of this cool stuff.So now let's look at some graphs and stats!
We received over 2,000 guesses as to when Free Day would expire! The winner of $200 was off by three seconds! Guess: 10:44:44. Amazing!Fun Numbers: * Total given away: $100,587.80 * Total free day orders: 1,035 * Total units sold: 12,185 * Largest order (before discount): $425.42 (discounted $100.00) * Smallest order (before discount): $34.53 (discounted $29.95) * Average order (before discount): $126.73 * Most popular product: COM-08532 (Basic green LED - 145 units) * Most products in one order: 153 (he had all 145 green LEDs!) Distribution of countries (by number of orders): * United States 803 * Canada 66 * Australia 38 * United Kingdom 27 * Netherlands 18 * France 16 * Germany 13 * Sweden 12 * New Zealand 8 * Finland 8 * Spain 8 * Italy 6 * Switzerland 5 * Singapore 5 * South Africa 4 * Brazil 3 * Portugal 3 * Turkey 3 * Denmark 3 * Sri Lanka 2 * Austria 2 * Belgium 2 * Hungary 2 * Estonia 1 * Iceland 1 * India 1 * Chile 1 * Czech Republic 1 * Mexico 1 * Greece 1
On Monday of this week, we were up to 33,000 visit, way above our normal average. Tuesday 41,619 - nearly a record for us (record was Free Day announcement of 46,442). Wednesday (we went down twice that day, once on purpose, once because the database broke) we hit 72,047 visits! That's incredible! We knew Free Day was really going to hurt. On Thursday, Free Day itself, we are still waiting for Google Analytics to catch up but it's obvious we will peak over 111,493 visits today. We took the site down once at 8AM to make some last minute mods, but were able to keep the site from completely breaking down. We were effectively under a self-inflicted denial of service attack but pages loaded, albeit slowly! 111,493 visits! Ow it hurt!
We went from 5mbps back in December to 32mbps in January. Necessity is the mother of invention. With load on our servers hitting nearly 10 times anything we've seen before, we learned very quickly how we needed to patch and streamline our site to squeeze every ounce of throughput out of our little e-commerce system. Our site is now running snappier than ever and this is one of the biggest days we've seen in our history. Nice job IT.Every order isn't going to ship on Free Day, or for a few days after. We've got extra tape guns on hand, but please be patient and give us some time to catch up! We will get every order out but it will take at least a week to get back to our normal shipping speed.
In the end was it worth it? Completely! Either way you slice it, we got $100 worth of goods into the hands of 1,000 new customers and repeat friends. Did we anger people? For sure, but as lukeweston on twitter so elegantly put it: "This is a bizzare form of nerd torture". We had a blast and hope you enjoyed the excitement and entertainment of the morning. Cheers!
At least I managed to make a few people happy by giving away 6 R-Dev-Ino boards: one guy from LMR forum and Chelmi, Joker94 and Smash from SoR. It's not a big value, but it makes me feel much better, because I know they are going to use them for robotics.Cheers!
I have to wonder (and will never know for sure) if this has done more harm than good. My opinion is that it makes their business look pretty amateur.
Quote from: Ro-Bot-X on January 07, 2010, 08:25:15 PMAt least I managed to make a few people happy by giving away 6 R-Dev-Ino boards: one guy from LMR forum and Chelmi, Joker94 and Smash from SoR. It's not a big value, but it makes me feel much better, because I know they are going to use them for robotics.Cheers!If I'm ever in Toronto, you get a beer!
At least I managed to make a few people happy by giving away 6 R-Dev-Ino boards: one guy from LMR forum and Chelmi, Joker94 and Smash from SoR. It's not a big value, but it makes me feel much better, because I know they are going to use them for robotics.
I'm curious how I can generously give something away without it creating any ill will.
Quote from: GearMotion on January 08, 2010, 09:28:37 AM I'm curious how I can generously give something away without it creating any ill will. I think Admin has the best idea, make a contest for people based on how well you write tutorials. You reward someone deserving and create an awesome collection of tutorials for beginners to use.
I'd use one of those to interface my vintage Model M keyboard to usb.And I think I can probably work up some code for linux too, but I'm not making any promises until I've actually done some research.
Whiners? Maybe a little, but what's wrong with a little whining now and again? People are disappointed; it's understandable. I know I am- $100 in free stuff would have helped out a lot to get my project farther off the ground. Oh well.I'm just as happy seeing the statistics for the day though, (for instance: 2400 people in the Sparkfun iRC and Sparkfun was the number one search term on the internet for a while ) It's cool to see the attention "Free Day" drew to hobby-ist electronics in general. That can only be a good thing I think!
Guys! It's not SF's fault if you didn't get your free stuff... They made a very generous gesture today, be grateful. Grow up and stop whining...
Quote from: parallax on January 09, 2010, 07:57:12 AMWhiners? Maybe a little, but what's wrong with a little whining now and again? People are disappointed; it's understandable. I know I am- $100 in free stuff would have helped out a lot to get my project farther off the ground. Oh well.I'm just as happy seeing the statistics for the day though, (for instance: 2400 people in the Sparkfun iRC and Sparkfun was the number one search term on the internet for a while ) It's cool to see the attention "Free Day" drew to hobby-ist electronics in general. That can only be a good thing I think!True, but for example, free day was posted on SlickDeals, a site with a ton of cheap people. I saw posts saying "I don't know what this stuff is but I guess I'll get something and eBay it afterwards"
Hi,Quote from: chelmi on January 07, 2010, 01:00:52 PMGuys! It's not SF's fault if you didn't get your free stuff... They made a very generous gesture today, be grateful. Grow up and stop whining...I have to second that notion!I am sure nobody that got their (measley) $100 worth won't complain - Nobody that doesn't win the sweepstakes, some lottery etc. blames it on the company behind the event.Remember they're a business and the bottom line being in the green is their primary goal - They've gotten lots of exposure due to this, so I'm 100% that they will have gained on the stunt. Giving away stuff is better than not giving away stuff, no matter who gets it and who don't.Being sad for not getting some free stuff is OK, but claiming that the company is gonna go broke, is cheating or whatever for that reason is just utterly childish.
Well, for starters i think all those people who spent two weeks customizing their cart, thinking about what they are going to do with their new components would probably end up buying the components now anyway...
It was SparkFun's risk to take.I'm sure they hope that this ploy that uses their community as free ad men to get on Google page 1 will result in more customers. When you start making big money like they are you stop caring if you p!ss off a lot of customers, as long as you get the chance to take money from many more.This is a win if they got 5000 new customers for the 2000 that they stopped caring about. Net gain of 3000 people that they will get money from.Money talks. SparkFun listens.