If you are a football fan, chances are by now you've come across "NFL QBs Talkin' On Facebook," an imagined dialogue between Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning etc., written in the form of a Facebook comment thread. It's hysterical. (It's also a little dirty, so if you're easily offended by foul language or seriously lack a sense of humor about your favorite team's shortcomings, don't click that link.)
Chances are equally good that you had never heard of the site behind it, ProFootballMock.com, before this week. For one thing, it's only been around three months. For another thing, the most-viewed article it published until now only got 21,000 page views. (That would be "Exclusive: The Stolen Texts From Roger Goodell's Phone.") "NFL QBs Talkin' On Facebook" has gotten 330,000 in two days, and counting. It's been shared more than 50,000 times on Facebook, says Dave Barry, who singlehandedly started, writes and runs the site.
"It's been a really nice response," he says. Suprisingly so, he adds. "When I first wrote it, I looked at it and was like, yeah, this wasn't one of my better things, but it's late and I need a piece to publish tomorrow."
Barry writes ProFootballMock (the name is a takeoff on the popular ProFootballTalk.com) in his spare time. By day, he writes promos for a TV network he'd prefer I not name. "It's a hobby, but it's been a pretty satisfying one," he says.
He does sell advertising on the site, through Google AdWords, but with average traffic of 4,000 visitors a day, he never made more than $2 or so per day until now. The traffic from "NFL QBs" has already earned him several hundred, although it's also going to end up costing him some money if he wants to keep the site from crashing. "I have to call up GoDaddy and have them increase my hosting capabilities, which is a nice problem to have."
While he's mindful of the difficulty of translating a single breakout hit into sustained success, the popularity of "NFL QBs" has him rethinking his humble ambitions for the site. "If you'd asked me that question a week ago, I would've said it's purely a labor of love," he says. "I'm kind of reassessing. A meme is great, but memes fade quickly. I'm hoping I can continue it long term and keep growing it."