I am occasionally stunned at how many hits I can get on a particular day. It happens once in a while, usually for no reason I can understand.


It used to happen whenever the season premier episode “Gazing Through to the Other Side” of Criminal Minds  was on television.

This post — which I wrote during the commercial break in the show — is about a bunch of FBI profilers and is entrenched at the top of the Google search for this specific show. When it airs and someone looks for it on Google, there is Serendipity, at the top of the search — and I get a little flood of hits. It used to be a lot more, but I still get a few dozen at least.

I used to wonder what caused that sudden burst of interest in my site. Now I know  immediately that somewhere, that episode is playing and once again I’ve been discovered … but only for about an hour. These one-time visitors don’t become (usually) followers. They come, they read. Then they leave and forget me.

When I look at my statistics, those individual bars of hits loom far above the other bars representing numbers of hits for a day.

This could have been my 15 minutes of fame, except that no one knows who I am unless they already know me, in which case, they probably are not looking for me via a Google search. I thus succeeded in being secretly famous.

I pondered this conundrum for a while, mulling over how I ended up an anonymous writer.

I never sought anonymity. I post my picture and I sign my name to emails from readers when they write to me. It just sort of happened.

“Aha,” I said to myself. “That’s what happened!” Google had picked up the piece I wrote. When anyone Googled the show, up it comes on Serendipity, right at the top of the search. Four years later, with Criminal Minds no longer running on network TV, I still get hits whenever that specific show airs. Not in the volume I did, but the post is firmly lodged in Google.

As for my peculiar achievement — obscurity and “fame” — it’s because it took me three years to add my name to Serendipity. I began using “Teepee12” as my domain name because it reminded me that I wrote a book called “The 12-Foot Teepee.” Not a top-seller. Not ever a best-seller. I used its name as my site address so I could remind myself that I had done something once. This turned out to be a mistake. No one associates it with Serendipity. It took me a couple of years to work it out and it’s a bit late to go back and change it. Moreover, I’m sure other people have snagged the name in the interim.

It never crossed my mind that my “domain name” would make a difference in my life. Who knew? Eventually, I realized I should add my name to Serendipity. At least no one calls me Teepee these days. That was getting on my nerves.

Just in case it had slipped, I checked. It’s till there. Today, search for the show and up I come.

My domain is still “teepee12.” More than five years and half a million hits later, no matter what alterations I make, I will always be teepee12. I suppose that is what I thought I wanted.

I have achieved a modest amount of renown while staying peculiarly obscure. Not everyone can do that, you know.

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Writer, photography, blogger. Previously, technical writer. I am retired and delighted to be so. May I live long and write frequently.


  1. I changed my domain from ihjtalk (too complicated to explain) to rjptalk (my initials) early on but never had enough traffic to pay to drop the wordpress part. I think of teepee12 and SERENDIPITY together, but I drop in a lot.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have been Angloswiss in so many places, that a trail blazes across the internet. It began on a forum site for the East End of London, travelled to Yahoo 365 or whatever it was called, and made a detour to Multiply, for many years. It took a trip to Blogger, is still there, but only once a week for a photo site and now it has arrived in WordPress. The name has made its mark in Internet, although my friends and relations call me by my real name. However, I am Angloswiss the Blogger. Pleased to meet you Teepee12.


    1. You probably started reading me after I realized I needed a name. I know a lot of people think blogging anonymously is somehow protecting them from something, but I think anyone who really wants to find you, will find you.

      We’ve been following each other a LONG time now, haven’t we!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I have been curious about the Tepee 12. Now I know. I used my first name as part of my domain for a while. I no longer pay for a domain. My first name appears on my posts. I’m not even close to being obscurely famous. It is kind of cool that you pop up when someone searches a Criminal Minds episode. 😊


    1. It still makes me laugh, especially since i didn’t like the show at all and that is WHY I wrote about it. I got 1400 hits the day I wrote it and a few hundred a day every time it aired (again). Now that it’s a cable rerun, not so much, but it’s still pretty funny 🙂


  4. A long time ago, I wrote an online article in a writing community about using the second person pronoun in fiction. It’s long gone, but it was online for quite a while. It wasn’t even a particularly *good* article, but it must have been one of the only ones out there because it was the top hit in Google for years.

    When I started following you, your domain was Teepee 12 or something, but I’ve always known you as Marilyn.


  5. Having pursued fame in a desultory half-hearted manner (yet thinking I was working hard toward it whole-heartedly) I decided I’d rather write stuff and give it away. 🙂 I googled myself and, fortunately, there are a lot of other Martha Kennedys. I feel safe in my obscurity.


    1. There are, surprisingly, quite a few of me, too. Garry is more rare, but he IS a famous soccer player in Canada while I am a well-known Aboriginal artist in Australia. I suspect we are ALL safe in our obscurity 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Internet usernames have a way of sticking, even after the real name is revealed Evil Squirrel is my second one, and it’s what anyone who comes up with my blog in a search is going to see… which is fine. It’s much more distinctive than my generic real name that about one million people in this country probably share with me.

    Other than the quirky things Google occasionally latches on to, I have found I am the internet’s foremost “expert” in two things…. what squirrels do at night, and a behind the scenes look at one the most notorious moments in game show history (apparently). Both of those posts get steady Google hits almost every day, and the funny thing is, I wrote them within three weeks of each other. 2014 was definitely my year….


      1. 2012 was my best year for top posts and most growth. That was the year I went from zero to a lot of followers in a wild hurry. This year has been good too, until WordPress started messing with their software again and my followers disappeared, then reappeared, then I disappeared, then disappeared. Again.

        All of my “big” posts were nothing special, from a writer’s point of view … except for the one about Jonestown. I think I get a lot of hits on that because it hasn’t been written about much in a way that makes it readable. I took it apart and made it a story, so people read it. And are shocked that this really happened. But the rest of the stuff just seems to have tickled the fancies of people. I never understand why some pieces get a lot of hits and other pieces I think are better written, do not.


  7. Andy Warhol: “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes”. Managing to retain obscurity afterwards is the sign of a smart person! 🙂

    Getting on the top of a Google search list definitely increases your traffic – finding the right niche is the key. You managed through ‘serendipity’ (the verb, not the website) to get connected to a very particular phrase that people might search for but that few ever put into a webpage, or elsewhere on the net, resulting in a significant number of hits that ensured your fame would stick around longer than just the usual 15 minutes!

    Well Done. 🙂



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