When blogger BirdAbroad started her most recent post “Hello, Internet,” she wasn’t kidding.
After BirdAbroad, 27, posted a blog entry yesterday about discovering an unsanctioned replica of an Apple store in Kunming, China, traffic at her site topped nearly a half million visitors in 48 hours and countless mentions from the press. Her post garnered more than 650 comments and numerous trackback links.
But instead of seeking conventional media fame by offering interviews or going on television, BirdAbroad is using the attention to build a community of readers to explore the phenomenon more deeply.
Media organizations, from US-based NPR to UK-based BBC, were among the more than 150 news sources covering the story, according to data from Google News.
Now BirdAbroad is being hounded with interview requests—including one from the Daily Dot. (She responded to us that she “will not be doing interviews at this time.”) When asked for her real name, BirdAbroad said she is “trying to keep her name out of it,” even though many commenters have addressed her as Jessica.
Comments in the post spurred an interesting discussion ranging from Chinese business tactics to how Apple resellers must brand their stores. Other commenters noted how they have similar stores in their town to confuse “laowais,” a Chinese term which loosely means “foreigner.”
Apple declined to comment on the Kunming store, according to the Wall Street Journal.
BirdAbroad is requesting readers to send in photos of fake Apple stores, along with their location. She is not accepting pictures of official Apple resellers (she recommends checking Apple’s website for locations) but legitimate, rip-off stores. She has only posted one picture from a store in Vietnam.
It’s a move, she wrote, inspired by one of her loyal commenters named Sudeep—a sign of how she’s bringing new readers into the community that already existed around her blog.