ShipYourEnemiesGlitter.com - how to make $100k within a week shipping glitter (9 min read)
ShipYourEnemiesGlitter.com is an online business, which enables its customers to send prank packages to whomever they want. It was a story of 2 posts, 270k social shares within 24h, tons of media coverage, revenge, love, hate, despair, $100k and worldwide glitter phenomenon
For $9.99, the site promised to mail anyone an envelope packed with glamorous glitter that is “guaranteed to go everywhere.” A note would also be included informing the recipient why they've received this special gift.
Strategy & Tools
- January 12th, 2015 – the shipyourenemiesglitter.com website is born.
- January 12th, 2015 – that same day Mat creates a post on Reddit and Product Hunt, advertising his website. 1,5 hours in, he received 100 of upvotes on Reddit and dozens of orders.
- About 8 hours in, Mat pleaded for orders to stop, tweeting “Hi guys, I'm the founder of this website. Please stop buying this horrible glitter product. I'm sick of dealing with it. Sincerely, Mat.”
- January 14th, 2015 – Mat announced: “ShipYourEnemiesGlitter with 1m visits, 270k social shares, $xx,xxx in sales, tonnes of people wanting to order. 24 hours old. For sale .”At this point, Mat stopped taking further orders.
- January 14th, 2015 – the website has received 2.5 million visits and around 2,300 orders.
- January 15th, 2015 – Mat listed shipyourenemiesglitter.com website on the Flippa marketplace for $1 as an opening bid.
- January 21st, 2015 – shipyourenemiesglitter.com was sold on Flippa for $85k.
Who founded Ship Your Enemies Glitter?
The founder of ShipYourEnemiesGlitter.com is Matthew Carpenter. He's an Australian entrepreneur, an SEO expert. He decided to create his website when he was 22 year old.
ShipYourEnemiesGlitter – how did it start?
The idea of gifting glitter came from Matthew's family friend who kept giving him cards full of the stuff every year. He hated it so much he wanted other people to feel his pain of receiving unwanted gifts. The whole project was made within days, without any plan whatsoever, The website was created with the use of Bootstrap.
How was ShipYourEnemiesGlitter promoted?
Mat promoted his website through Reddit, Product Hunt, and with the use of Twitter. Also, other websites and companies talked about Mat's product. For example, TechCrunch mentioned Ship Your Enemies Glitter on their Twitter.
How much was Ship Your Enemies Glitter sold for?
ShipYourEnemiesGlitter was sold for $85,000 on Flippa after two weeks since the launch of the website.
Why was Ship Your Enemies Glitter successful?
Its viral marketing succeeded because of how weird it was, although it was created in the first place as a side project (That's also the reason why Mat stopped taking orders after 2 days and sold the website within 9 days.)
The website got many orders in a few days because:
- it was weird – glitter as a “weapon” and a form of revenge (seriously?),
- it addressed people's needs – anger, hatred, a desire for revenge,
- it could also be a way to do pranks (humor),
- it was anonymous (no sender's info on the package),
- it wasn't expensive.
ShipYourEnemiesGlitter.com viral marketing – selling emotions
People “buy/sell” emotions, and building business on that fact is a great idea for viral marketing. The comedy of the product and website itself created the whole viral effect because it addressed people's needs for social connections. Love, humor, or even anger and hatred – everybody needs some emotions.
By sending glitter and stuff like that to your enemies (or as a funny prank – when sending to one of your friends), you could feel more “connected” with the people you send to
Ship Your Enemies Glitter – was it FAD?
Ship Your Enemies Glitter was a FAD – it had little if any utility, but was characterized by a quick rise in sales and popularity, followed by a quick decline.
Mat predicted that his product was a FAD. That's why he sold it so fast. Though its popularity was crazy at the time, and it went viral, he knew the interest would die off almost as quickly.
Mat kept people updated both on Product Hunt and Twitter. The things were dynamic, so he often tweeted, up to the moment when he decided to sell the website.
Revenge by glitter isn’t new. People know how tricky it is to get rid of the spilled glitter. LGBT activists have tossed glitter at people like Newt Gingrich. The Kardashians have also received glitter bombs.
Ship Your Enemies Glitter viral marketing appeals to our inner child, prankster, trickster. The spilled glitter is embarrassing, but not life-threatening. The website itself was loaded with hilarious content, e.g.
- FAQ: “Is this real? Yes, you fucking idiot."
- Testimonials: “Its been 3 weeks and I’m still finding this shit. How the fuck do I get rid of it?!”,
The ridiculousness of the whole "business" made it attractive and funny. The incongruity theory of humor suggests that we find fundamentally incompatible concepts or unexpected resolutions funny. Basically, we find humor in the incongruity between our expectations and reality.
Though the name of the website told you to ship glitter to your enemies, actually most of the people bought it to prank their friends, family, co-workers - pretty much everyone.
Mat's approach to the whole situation was pretty straightforward. He was also very honest and openly expressed his thoughts through Twitter, which boosted his “truthness” in his customers' eyes. Most of the time, he was drunk on a vacation, with his friends, sleeping 2 hours a day.
Isn't it strange to pay for something basically useless only to annoy somebody? Even the very idea may sound ridiculous: “ship your enemies glitter” – say what? That shock effect was the first thing that attracted Mat's customers. It is good enough for a little prank but to pay somebody to prepare such a thing for you? Now, that was bizarre.
Window of opportunity
We can all learn from Mat's "Just do it!" approach. These are his words:
"Just to reinforce how badly I was prepared, I had setup the user to be redirected to a /thankyou page after making payment and that fucking 404’d because I didn’t even set up the page."
Regarding the story of what's happened to the website. Peter, the Flippa buyer of the ShipYourEnemiesGlitter, has turned what so many assumed was a FAD into a sustainable startup that is doing a high six figures in sales annually.
“It was almost like an internet meme turned into a business.”
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