Popularizing the documentary film format for everyday Americans, Michael Moore’s social commentary attracts millions both at the big-box cinema and online. On election day 2004, his site experienced 250 million hits. (And his name wasn’t even on the ballot!)
A Cultural Critic with a Following
Academy award-winning filmmaker, best-selling author, and political rabble-rouser Michael Moore attracted millions to his personal web site, and his film sites brought in even more traffic, making him the most popular documentary filmmaker on the web.
Plank was called on to build a number of robust web sites for Michael Moore that could handle mass amounts of traffic and effectively translate his ideas creatively to an online format.
Plank’s work not only put the information fans wanted at their fingertips, but also helped Moore maintain a dialogue with his audiences long after they saw his films. In addition to his personal web site, Plank built sites for three of his films, and a platform to critique the 2004 American federal election in real-time. Dubbed the “anti-CNN” website, Plank built an interactive map for Michael Moore fans to discuss irregularities at voting stations.
A Million Visitors Per Day and a Massive Mailing List
Over the course of our eight years with one of the most polarizing figures in America, we were honoured to work on a number of web projects, all of which became tremendously popular.
MichaelMoore.com became a hot destination and experienced an increase in traffic from 100,000 unique visitors per month to a peak of over six million per month.
During the initial run of the film Fahrenheit 9/11, Michael Moore’s web sites experienced over 500 million hits per month, with a peak of over 250 million hits on the day of the U.S. presidential election, November 2nd, 2004.
In addition, Plank helped Michael Moore grow his online newsletter from 30,000 to over 400,000 subscribers.
Robust: Built “From Scratch”
To accommodate large volumes of traffic, that spiked at times, Plank built a user-friendly robust back-end custom client-side system.
The admin tools Plank integrated helped Michael Moore administer the site content and gave tools to multiple users (Michael Moore’s staff etc) to post news and blog entries. All this long before blogs were popularized by WordPress, Blogger and other automated blogging platforms.
With Plank’s help, America’s favourite film renegade was able to connect with his audience and take full advantage of online tools for political engagement. Plank helped Moore accomplish this again and again, over the course of eight years.
Working with Michael Moore was a milestone for Plank. Not only did the relationship raise our profile as a young company, but it challenged us in a way that no other client had before.
What We Did
- Main web site: MichaelMoore.com
- 2004 US Presidential election platform
- Documentary site: Bowling for Columbine
- Documentary site: Fahrenheit 9/11
- Documentary site: Sicko
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