One year ago today, Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com, acquired my small startup, Lean Domain Search.
I’m happy to report that Lean Domain Search’s monthly search volume has exploded over the last year going from 31,000 searches in May 2013 to more than 95,000 searches in May 2014.
To put that in perspective, here is a chart showing the number of searches per month for its entire history:
Despite the fact that we’ve haven’t done much work on it in the last year (we’ve been focused heavily on improving domain search and registration on WordPress.com), Lean Domain Search’s traffic is 3x what it was a year ago. Not bad right?
I think its growth can be attributed to four main factors:
First, before we announced the acquisition I made Lean Domain Search completely free to use. Prior to that you could perform a search but you would only be shown a limited number of results unless you paid for a premium plan: 150 search results for free, $79 for two months of full access (5,000 search results) or $199 for full access year-round. With no restrictions in place, Lean Domain Search became a lot more useful for non paying users which made folks more likely to perform multiple searches.
Second, with the help of Ashish and Barry on Automattic’s Systems Team, we moved Lean Domain Search’s search server over to Automattic’s infrastructure, giving it a nice performance boost. Today it generates all 5,000 search results in about 1.25 seconds on average.
Third, becoming an Automattic product definitely didn’t hurt things. While we don’t go out of our way to advertise it, the new ownership does add a certain amount of legitimacy to it that I think has helped it spread.
That brings me to the last and most important factor in its growth over the last year: people sharing it with each other. When folks use Lean Domain Search to name their website, there is a good chance they will wind up sharing it with others. Some of those new folks will head over to Lean Domain Search to check it out and wind up using it to name their website and then sharing it with their friends and so on. I think this virality factor is a big part of its fast yet steady growth over the last year so if you’ve ever shared Lean Domain Search with a friend, thanks :)
Will Lean Domain Search’s growth continue at the same pace over the next year? Maybe its growth will accelerate even more? We will see :)
PS: Interested in making the web a better place? We’re hiring.