24 Hours on Hacker News

Oct 16/2012, by Dan Grigsby

TL;DR: 25,000 Visitors. 10,000 Android Emulator Launches. 1,000 New Accounts.

Paying It Forward

A week ago today, after a quietly putting the service online a month earlier, we decided to start making noise about Manymo. I posted a link on Hacker News and, after a few minutes, it debuted on the home page at #13 before quickly rising to the top spot. I've always found it interesting when people share the details of the resulting traffic, so I'm writing this post to pay it forward:


Manymo spent most of a day on the Hacker News front page, and most of the afternoon in US timezones in the top spot. The submission ultimately scored 229 points.

The submission was originally titled "Android defragmented: 43 free, fast virtual Android devices in your browser" but was later changed to the service's homepage title "A better Android emulator" by a moderator. The moderator's change didn't change the upvoting rate.

The original headline was slightly longer than the average headline — but well below the longest — at the time we posted it. I originally planned to lead with the "43" but prefaced it with "Android defragmented" at the last minute because I thought it important to have put "Android" into the headline as early as possible.


In 24 hours we had approximately 25,000 visitors. This Google Analyicts chart shows the hourly distribution:

In Google Analytics parlance, we peaked at just under 400 "right now/active visitors on the site." Manymo Android emulator page connections remains open as long as the emulator's running, so concurrency affects us differently than typical web apps. This is a natural segue to...

Android Emulator Launches

Visitors launched approximately 10,000 Android emulators during this period. We launched more emulators in the first hour than we had during the entire lifetime of the service until that point. We did get behind early on, with demand outstripping capcity, but bringing up additional servers allowed us to stay ahead of things.

Gratifyingly, the service's architecture scaled and our predictions about the operational cost per customer proved out.

Sign Ups

Anyone can launch an emulator; no account is required. An account is required to use developer features or to upload apps – creating an account doesn't require a credit card, but does require email verification. Around one in ten people who launched emulators went on to create accounts – so we ended up with around 1,000 verified new accounts.

During the quiet month that preceeded our Hacker News launch we learned that people need to be able to use the service in order to appreciate it. Telling people about it in a marketing site wasn't enough, so we switched to this "lazy registration" approach.

Days 2-7

The next day we got picked up by GigaOM, whose Kevin C. Tofel wrote a story titled Meet Manymo, a web-based Android emulator.

The following day we were on Habrahabr, a Russian Hacker News-like site that is ranked by Alexa as one of the top 1000 sites globally.

During the rest of this week sign-ups have continued at a pace that hovers around my irritation thershold for removing the email notice we receive whenever someone signs up. The geographic mix of new accounts has moved from mostly North American and Western European users to a global spread. We are, it seems, big in Japan right now – and that's something I've always wanted to say!

More to Come

We've got lots more planned for Manymo, so stay tuned by following @manymo on Twitter.