What the Heck is Going On?
Sometime in 2014-2015, I made a Hogwarts fansite on Weebly.com. It had everything you’d expect from a website made by a stupid 13-year old; size 20 font, badly formatted HTML, Weebly Ads, and badly written copy.
I mean, what even is this footer?
There was nothing much to do on it, other than the single Wufoo form I had set up. Once you entered your email, you’d be sent ‘your acceptance letter’ like so:
Life went on and I quite forgot about it. When I say I forgot, I mean I even forgot the url of the blessed thing. But something peculiar happened. Starting from 2016, my form started receiving submissions. First it was two a month, then 10 and sometimes even 50. In 2017, I started reaching my montly limit of 100 submissions every month.
For some reason, people were finding a website I had myself forgotten about. I don’t know why, maybe there is a backlink to it from a popular blog, maybe it was showing up on Google for some keyword search. Whatever it was, it was getting me traffic and submissions from people who genuinely believed that this was the real Hogwarts website (despite the
.weebly.com subdomain and Wufoo branding).
And I love reading these letters. Sometimes I write back to them personally, sometimes its a standard response (This is a fansite blah blah), but I read each and everything that I receive. This has become one of my favorite ways to pass time.
I try to keep my responses as friendly as possible, since these kids range from really small to this one guy in 11th grade (??), but sometimes I have a little fun if I feel like they're up to it.
Till date, I’ve had 2032 entries and counting. I get an average of 20 signups a day. I haven’t been able to replicate this kind of engagement since then, no matter how much SEO work or marketing strategies I apply. The Internet works in weird ways.
This website acts a repository of all the letters I receive. Have fun.
(PS: If it has not reached its limit this month, you can get your own letter here).