January 19th, 2022

john | Jan. 19, 2022, 7:44 p.m.

Holy migrations.  That took for ever.  But finally, after what appears to be what I think was weeks.  All eleven of the sites are done.  Migrated.  My brain feels a relief I haven't in a while.  Even did an API for each of them.

The story is simple.  I needed to convert some PDF's.  Saw many other people convert PDF's.  Thought, hey why not build a PDF site, how I like it. 

Then of course, came name selection.  The hardest part at times, other times, the easiest.  This one, I felt I didn't have any advantage, as the established players have been around for ever.  So I needed to find a cool domain to make up for it.

Then, I saw the domain hack, PDF.to was not developed.  I emailed the owner, he asked a reasonable asking price.  I bought it.  Then as I was building it, I saw word.to was parked. 

Since a lot of the functions overlap, I thought it would be a simple project with a lot of the same code.

So I emailed them and asked if it was for sale.  They got back to me by the time I launched PDF.to. 

So we worked out a deal.  As I made Word.to, I saw that JPEG.to was open to register.  So I bought it, since it had a lot of the overlap of the code with PDF.to.

Then as I was building Word.to, some one on a Reddit thread suggested a conversion that had MP3 in it. 

So I wondered if MP3.to was available.  It was for sale.  For a lot.  I emailed the owner and asked if he would take half the price.

I kept developing Word.to, and then JPEG.to.  While waiting for MP3.to to get back to me, I saw that MP4.to was for sale, for the same price as MP3.to, so I emailed him asking if they would take the same price as MP3.to.

By this point, I was getting burnt out of these sites.  So I stopped and finished developing them.  Each as individual sites.

When I bought JPEG.to, I emailed PNG.to. MP4.to and MP3.to both responded around the same time and agreed to the price.  I had to put one of them on a credit card.

Months went by, and I finally finished building all the ones I had bought.  I was almost done with them, when PNG.to emailed me back. 

They asked a high price.  I didn't care by this point as I already had enough on my plate.  So I offered a low ball offer counter.

They accepted.

So I developed PNG.to, at which point I got slightly interested in other formats, and amazingly enough, EPUB.to, WEBM.to, WEBP.to, and even MKV.to.  Where available like JPEG.to was. 

So I bought them, put up half working sites.  Since I didn't actually test many of the functions.

Then I forgot about them.

Almost a year went by, and I started getting emails.  I think only one of them had a working payment processor.  People where complaining that they where not working.

I guess people where starting to use them.  I checked the visitors, and yes, in fact.  People where using them.  Even the broken functions.

I asked Lou if he could do some patch work on them.  He begrudgingly did.  I didn't check, as I was distracted by other things.

The patch made it so some people started buying.  But instead, the emails came in now, more mad.  Before people just emailed to tell me that it wasn't working.  Now it wasn't working, and they paid.

It was time to make time.  So it started.  The migration.  Instead of building it as one site, that turned into ten.  I was going to build it with architecture in mind, scalability, and well.  Basically, one big API with front ends connecting to it.

It took a couple weeks to figure out how to simply the logic so it would work with all the front ends.  Then, it was time to adjust the front ends.  Make the text bigger, more readable.  Make the conversion page simpler.

Figure out how they are going to cover their hosting costs.  And of course most importantly, make sure they work, well.

That took the longest.  Some of these functions, although can probably still be improved.  Didn't even exist.  For example, there was nothing on how to make a WEBP into a MP4.  So made that.

And as fortune seems to favor fools like me.  I saw that JPG.to was dropping.  So I entered that auction, and won it.

Just as I was finishing migrating them.  So in the end, that's how one simple conversion site, PDF.to, turned into Word.to, JPEG.to, MP3.to, MP4.to, PNG.to, WEBM.to, WEBP.to, MKV.to, EPUB.to, JPG.to.  All with their own API's.

Then of course, at one point.  Some one on Hacker News asked, why didn't I just make one large conversion site?

But then the no procrastination filter came in, so I got blocked out of answering.

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