is mine. It generates enough money every month through advertising to pay my rent. I'd be happy to answer questions.

EDIT: I forgot to mention that our twitter account is followed by some pretty high-profile celebrities, including snoop dogg, sarah silverman, bill maher, and doug benson. who wants to figure out how to monetize THAT?

EDIT 2: this is nuts. so many questions! thanks for your interest, this is awesome.

EDIT 3: OKAY i have to go eat, but i'll continue to answer questions when i return! thanks reddit!

EDIT 4: It's my friend's birthday today -- so it's time to go out and buy him drinks. This has been awesome -- thanks for your tips and feedback. reddit, as always, you are invaluable :-)

Comments: 742 • Responses: 38  • Date: 

[deleted]142 karma

how high where you when you came up with the idea for the website? that high

endlessvoid94175 karma

Not at all. The name was a friend's idea, but obviously having a place on the internet for stoners to submit and laugh at stuff is nothing original.

sarcastic_jerk106 karma

How much new traffic did you get after posting this?

[deleted]136 karma

Lets just say, he has a new car.

endlessvoid9492 karma

trust me, it's not enough to buy a new car. maybe enough to buy a sandwich...

cockyrooster44 karma

Traffic? How could you care about traffic when KARMA is at stake here?!?!

endlessvoid9468 karma

sadly it is only comment karma. not the REAL DEAL.

it makes me laugh when people suggest i have an ulterior motive for doing this AMA -- in reality, a friend suggested it, and i was bored. why not?

sarcastic_jerk18 karma

I was serious though. The first thing I did when I saw your AMA was go to the site, and then I was wondering how many other people did the same. There must have been, at the very least, a small spike right?

endlessvoid9431 karma

yeah there was definitely a spike, and it definitely helps, but in the grand scheme of things it will be insignificant.

Whoopska83 karma

More seriously:

  • How do you make money on the site? Do you have ads that I cannot see or items in the store that I don't see?

  • What inspired you to make the site?

  • Do you smoke?

  • What do you think the future of marijuana is? What do you think the future of marijuana law is?

  • Do you get fed up with all the "AHHAHAAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHA. That High?"

endlessvoid94109 karma

  • Advertising. Stickers are in the store, but they hardly generate anything at all. Most of the time I just use adsense, but sometimes I convince companies and other websites to pay for advertising space.
  • It was a complete joke at first. I bought the domain name and then built the site with my girlfriend at the time and another good friend. We built it in one night and then I've been continuously working on it (this was back in February). It hit the frontpage of college humor, I went all over my college campus (at the time) and chalked the quad, put up flyers, etc. Since then it's been growing steadily.
  • Occasionally
  • I have no idea what the future of marijuana :-P I'm barely a casual user, but I completely understand how ludicrous the current situation is.
  • I don't get "fed up" with them, but as more of them float to the top of the site, it gets spammy and diminishes the overall quality. So yes, it's a little annoying.

Reddit-Hivemind34 karma

I thought Google Adsense limits to 3 units per page. You have a ton. Is that allowed (because I'd love to implement that too.)

EDIT: Source

endlessvoid9448 karma

i have google's doubleclick for publishers set to use my remnant space for adsense. so they're doing it, not me.

politicallore48 karma

No really, this is against the TOS.

endlessvoid9463 karma

thanks for the tip, i'll investigate.

flyingcarsnow45 karma

Thanks for doing an AMA. Very interesting!

from concept to where you're at now; what were the steps in terms of getting traffic then establishing relationships with advertisers?

What tools do you use to run the ads and charge for them?

endlessvoid94134 karma

How to build a social entertainment website:

  1. Build site
  2. fake lots of user activity
  3. steal a tiny bit of content from all around the internet
  4. reddit ads ($20)
  5. stumbleupon ads ($5)
  6. put easily shareable links on each story side note: I put facebook "like" buttons on each story when they unveiled their opengraph stuff and facebook referrers skyrocketed, so that was awesome.

For advertisers, I literally email them out of the blue. I had a seed seller in the UK for awhile that didn't pan out, so he quit. I've had lots of humor sites advertise, some hydroponics stuff, and while prop 19 was under the media's eye, adsense was giving me TONS of high CPC ads. I made $3k during that time period in one month. It was nice.

I use Google Doubleclick for Publishers to manage ads, I use freshbooks (the free plan) to charge advertisers with my paypal and google checkout accounts. One time someone wired me money from the UK.

AndyJarosz43 karma

Can you elaborate more on on step 2?

endlessvoid94154 karma

there's no secret. just made lots of fake user accounts, posted lots of stories, made all the vote numbers crazy, generally made it look as if there were a ton of users already using the site.

it made people assume that was true, so it didn't look barren and empty.

TinManRC24 karma

Did the Reddit ads pay off?

endlessvoid9449 karma

Yeah, I'd say they paid off. I haven't continued because StumbleUpon was MUCH more lucrative -- for months, SU was the prime traffic source. I literally only put $5 into SU ads.

I think a 92% "like" rating on SU didn't hurt either ;-)

TinManRC8 karma

I'll try SU. Any other good traffic sources? How did you 'fake lots of user activity'?

endlessvoid9430 karma

Our blog is hosted on tumblr, which allows people to 'reblog' things. i haven't taken advantage of that, but i'm sure you could use it to your benefit somehow.

re: faking activity -- it's not fun. it's tedious, and unless you write some of the tools yourself, it gets old QUICKLY. no magic bullet there.

morish5 karma

How do you display and manage ads from advertisers you contact directly? I'm a web developer but don't know anything about how online ads work beyond adsense.

tehchieftain40 karma

"<a style="text-decoration: none;" href=""><font color="#96E389" size="-100">holy land peace project israel palestine conflict blog</font></a> <a style="text-decoration: none;" href=""><font color="#96E389" size="-100">hilarious pickup lines and stories</font></a> "

Just curious why you have that hiding in your header? Sharing links I suppose?

endlessvoid9433 karma

good eye ;-)

It's my friend's site and I was helping him improve his google page rank...

[deleted]27 karma

Does it bother you that the site design is, well... look, I don't want to sound mean or anything, but your site really looks like something that fell out of a hobo's ass. A hobo who's been on a steady diet of NyQuil for weeks.

I get that it's super functional and gets the job done, but damn — that looks vintage 1994.

endlessvoid9487 karma

does it bother craig that craigslist looks like ass? does it bother college humor that they've sold their website's BACKGROUND IMAGE as an ad?

probably not. it's good enough :-)

mendozaaa26 karma

What's something you know now about running a site that you wished you knew when you first started out?

endlessvoid9488 karma


EDIT: also, building a site is only the first step. acquiring traffic is a lot of work.

mattsoave3 karma

Can you expand on "CACHE. EVERYTHING."? Thanks!

endlessvoid9417 karma

i cache the primary keys of the first X pages of the weekly and stickiest stories. then i cache the json and html div blocks for each of them. then i cache the html of each page. i also cache all of the templates that django needs -- disk reads are incredibly expensive. finally, i cache all of the full html pages.

when someone submits a new story, it merely adds it to the database. then an asynchronous background job recalculates all of the rankings for stickiest and weekly stories every 5 minutes and rebuilds the cache.

doing it this way, i've narrowed the bottleneck to google's infrastructure and API, so there isn't much more I can do to improve the site's performance. it scales very, very well.

staffell24 karma

Are you interested in having your logo redesigned for you?

endlessvoid9412 karma

For free? ;-)

I've actually tossed around the idea of adding an images section -- I just don't have enough time. Perhaps one day I'll hold a contest of some kind...

giantsfan24 karma


endlessvoid9431 karma

I tried one first and it sucked (anekdotz). We decided to write it ourselves, and it wasn't all that difficult.

I've done tons of software projects in the past, none have really ever had any traction or success. I've learned a TON from running thathigh.

The site is hosted on Google App Engine, which prompted me to do my current startup, Djangy (basically heroku for python)

lskalt3 karma

What code did you have to write? (as opposed to tools provided by tumblr)

endlessvoid946 karma

the site doesn't use tumblr, just the blog. everything is was done from scratch.

jakedebest18 karma

I used to go on that site.. then then, now I only visit trees, I didn't feel there was a community at all on so I abandoned it. sorry

endlessvoid9421 karma

I'm not offended at all :-) If I had more time, I would definitely cultivate the community. I think the biggest thing I'd like to do is add threaded comments -- right now all the commenting is old-style youtube-like comments. which I hate.

alas, there are only so many hours in the day!

jakedebest12 karma

If there was more of a community (you know stoners LOVE to feel like they're connecting with each other) your site would be far more profitable and more traffic. Just saying.

endlessvoid9413 karma

Yeah, i know :-(

I really do want to improve this. Perhaps this is something I should make a higher priority. I was thinking of adding threaded comments...but I'm not entirely sure what else to do to cultivate the community feeling. Forums? Chatrooms?

jakedebest18 karma

nah not chatrooms.. allowing to post pictures for a start, and making registering not necessary, but strongly favored against not bothering. This will give people identitys and can be recognized and will feel part of a community, visit more etc..

endlessvoid949 karma

good tips, thanks

[deleted]17 karma

So... I know your friend Josh, from U of I. Small world!

endlessvoid9419 karma


[deleted]16 karma


endlessvoid9412 karma

yep. there's a funny story about something that happened in allen hall regarding someone who was angry about all the postings, but that's for another day.

[deleted]4 karma


endlessvoid9445 karma

Did you hear about what happened?

We were being DoS'd by someone. To make a long story short, we found out who it was, rolled to his room with a six pack of beer, knocked on his door, and politely asked him to stop with our alcohol offering.

Of course, he was utterly shocked to see the owners of the site he was attacking to showing up at his dorm room. His face was pale white. It was pretty epic.

leverhead12 karma

How much traffic per month?

What's the breakdown on organic/referral/direct?

How much do you charge advertisers for CPM ads?

endlessvoid9415 karma

Depends on the month :-)

  • August - 150k uniques
  • Sept. - 100k uniques
  • Nov. - 140k uniques
  • etc.

  • organic = ~20%

  • referral = ~30%

  • direct = ~50%

I don't get direct advertisers often, but when I do, I charge them anywhere from $2 - $5 CPM (obviously it depends on the company)

IMreallyKUMPFy11 karma

There are 420 comments right now. Coincidence? WAKE UP SHEEPLE!!!!!!!1

endlessvoid946 karma

i love you

[deleted]11 karma

how much is your rent? do you get paid per view or per click?

endlessvoid9422 karma

My rent is $1050 / month, I live with two friends. Adsense pays me per click, but when I charge advertisers, I charge them CPM.

EDIT: I live in the mission

kuo20027 karma

What percentage of your hits would you say actually click on ads?

endlessvoid9417 karma

EDIT: sorry, had to redact my answer according to the TOS.

Talking_Head22 karma

You really do need to be careful. I have noticed throughout your responses that you have made a few mistakes with respect to Adsense and google. Without warning they will cancel your account, keep your money, and you won't have any recourse. There could even be an asshole reading these posts that will report you.

endlessvoid946 karma

yeah, i realize that. we'll see what happens. thanks for the heads up.

chizzle7 karma

May I ask approximately how much a month you make?

endlessvoid9410 karma

It ranges from ~$1k to $2k, so not a HUGE amount. But it's enough to live from.

Gnarland6 karma

You hiring?

endlessvoid945 karma

maybe later :-)

Oliver_Kromwell6 karma

Is your birth year '94...making you only 16 years old?

endlessvoid9416 karma

It's a reference to docking bay 94 from star wars -- I'm 24.

Renovatio_11 karma

that is a really esoteric reference.

endlessvoid9413 karma

yeah. this screen name is from 6th grade. dont kill me.

KerrickLong6 karma

Have you gotten any grief from the F My Life website?

endlessvoid946 karma

not at all. i've never met them, although i'd love to sometime.

9085 karma

what technology are you using ( php, ruby ) and why

did you build the site by yourself or using someones help

what do you think - what made your site to grow and become profitable, while not many stoners sites out there make money

endlessvoid9419 karma

It's written using Django on top of Google App Engine (coincidentally, I helped start Djangy because of how much i hate appengine)

It was built by me, my g/f at the time, and a good friend

I think most people underestimate how much work is required to run a site like this. Building it isn't enough. You need to be resourceful, clever, and a little bit ballsy to get it into the right hands and have it spread like crazy (at least at first). It has very little to do with the quality of the site or the code or the polish. Look at craigslist, for example.

chargrilled8 karma

What specifically do you not like about app engine?

endlessvoid948 karma

AppEngine has been very good to me, and it definitely has advantages. My gripes mainly stem from the fact that it's the only place to do any kind of trivial cloud hosting for python stuff. and when I say trivial, i'm talking heroku-style trivial, not engineyard or the other contenders.

I learned a lot of valuable things from running and scaling this thing on appengine, though. the datastore is well designed, it just isn't built for things to run out of the box.

karp5053 karma

Wait, so do you work at all other than the site, or do you just live off of that?

endlessvoid944 karma

I live off it. But I also recently cofounded Djangy, because of the gripes i had about appengine