LarsList: How my app went viral on TikTok...and made $25

November 17, 2020

I want to tell about a quick website I made (LarsList.org) that became viral on TikTok. It made 25$. This is how it happened.

The backstory.

It all started one day when I was watching my messenger window. Suddenly I saw that the three top chats were all Larses. Crazy!

3 Larses in the messenger window

So being the genius procastinator I am, an idea popped into my head.

I should create a LarsList, a website where all Larses can be listed!

I spent an evening or two, and hacked together LarsList.org. It was a simple site listing me and my three Larses. I also added a form where you could add yourself, if you are a Lars, but didn’t really think anyone would do it.

Screenshot of the first LarsList.org site

Put it on TikTok for fun (it blew up)

So, I went out and made a quick TikTok video. 15 seconds quickly explaining the site.

Usually my TikToks would get around 500 views. A good one would get 1000 views.

This video had 5000 views in an hour. People were liking and sharing it like crazy.

Seems like I tapped into something.

People were submitting tons of Larses at the website. I got over 100 submissions the FIRST DAY. Submissions of Larses wanting to be on the LarsList. Crazy! Screenshot of the site now

Added pay a paywall (many paid)

It turned out that going through submissions and manually adding new Larses to the site was a hassle. Took a lot of time.

After some days — when the hype had died down a bit — I wanted to focus on other things and not be responsible for adding new Larses all the time. I had some alternatives:

  • Automate the web site.
  • Add a pay wall.

Adding a paywall seemed like the absolute most fun option. I need to practice my “ask for money”-skill anyways (it can be uncomfortable), so why not.

I mean, no one would pay to be on the LarsList anyways, right? Quick way of not having to do any work. And if it turned out that people actually bought a submission, I would be happy to spend some time on it. A real WIN-WIN situation. Either they stopped submitting and I didn’t have to do work, OR they start paying and I become rich.

… no one would pay to be on the LarsList anyways, right? Quick way of not having to do any work.

So I added a simple gumroad link to the submit button. It now cost 2.5$ to be submitted to the LarsList.

Popup showing a gumroad link

And after some time, to my great surprise, I got this email:

Gumroad payment

Nice! Fun! Haha, it gave me a good laugh. Someone actually paid to be on my silly LarsList site!

Someone actually paid to be on my silly LarsList site!

And over the next weeks, some other submissions rolled in. I have gotten almost 10 paid LarsList submissions now.

That’s 25$ in total. Not huge. But really fun.

Negative reactions to the paywall

It is uncomfortable for me to ask for money. That’s why I am practicing it.

Especially uncomfortable when it is something as silly as Lars List. I knew there would be some negative reactions on the paywall.

Most of the negative feedback were from TikTok comments:

Negative comments on the paywall

This is something we have to live with. I am proud of keeping the paywall, even when I have (at least) 3 haters.

Reactions in the world

Ori Brafman writes about how similarity can influence how connected strangers feel with each other.

“Having a similar name was certainly a significant factor that led them to connect.”

From: Click - the magic of instant connection

The same way, it felt like many Larses liked the idea of this site. Perhaps by making Larses proud of their name?

Positive comments on LarsList

Google trends for Lars increased by 60%

Seems like I also influenced the popularity of “Lars” in general.

Google trends shows a 60% increase in search traffic for the word “Lars” when the video was released.

Google trends for Lars increased by 60%

Will have a look at the birth statistics next year. Maybe we’ll see a spike in Lars-babies from 2020?

Maybe we’ll see a spike in Lars-babies from 2020?

The next step (what to do with a community of 150 Larses?)

I envy people that can turn some viral moment into their benefit. That’s what I tried to do and earned 25$. Not too bad.

But now I’m wondering, should I do something more now? Or just leave this site floating in the void of the internet.

I mean, I have 150 emails. But not sure what to do with them.

Do you have any ideas? Let me know in the comments!


Written by Lars Karbo - An indie hacker currently working his way through his 12 startups in 12 months project. Sharing insights from the journey.

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