In a deviation from my usual neurotic email compulsion I managed to avoid Gmail until about 11am on Monday. I checked my messages and noted that the alerts I get when my Google Maps mashup WalkJogRun.net had increased showing around 50 new routes since 6am that morning. Weird but not that unusual. Fast forward to 3pm when I got an IM from Jeff (Mr. CSS):
[15:54] jeff: ummm
[15:54] jeff: hey
[15:54] Me: wassup
[15:54] jeff: did you know that walkjogrun was mentioned in the wall street journal today?!?!
Floored. Naturally I snapped up a couple of copies and on page R8 of Monday's WSJ in the middle of the page as a huge callout is a list of example Google Maps mashups including in pole position WalkJogRun.net! Google Analytics took a few hours to reveal the extent of the referrals but it appears that Monday yielded 3,700 unique visitors up from a daily average of 150 and Tuesday brought another 1,700.
The online version of the Wall Street Journal is carrying the article entitled "Where in the World Is..." by Jessica E. Vascallaro too and can be found in the Journal Report section.
In a direct response to the extra attention I decided to squeeze in a feature I have been planning for some time to enhance loyalty. You have always been able to create routes as a guest and always will but I added a login/member tool where routes are no longer anonymous. The response has been great with over 200 new members in the last two days. The immediate benefit of membership is that any routes you create are attributed to your username so you can easily locate the routes you use regularly. Future enhancements will leverage this feature further to add training logs to monitor your pace and performance and loads more.
I've also added Ray Camden's forum software Galleon to facilitate discussion about the site and exercise routes in general. I have one forum dedicated to feature requests in case anyone has some good ideas about how to improve the site but it has yet to gain some momentum.
I'm also excited that snippets of my code for WalkJogRun is also to be included in Rich Gibson and Schuyler Erle's "Google Maps Hacks" scheduled for release on January 1st 2006.