No good deed goes unpunished, Dolly Parton Edition

Surge of traffic from Reddit apparently knocks Imagination Library offline.

As Bill Gates showed yesterday, there's no cooler spot to be on the Internet these days than atop the Reddit homepage. Today it's Dolly Parton's turn, though her appearance there has come at a cost: one website down and out.


That reads (TIL stands for "today I learned):

TIL that Dolly Parton thinks it is so important that every child has books to read that she started a foundation that will mail children a free age-appropriate book every month from birth to their 5th birthday. (

The Reddit community found this so admirable that they rocketed the item to the No. 1 spot on Reddit's homepage ... at which point Dolly Parton's Imagination Library website went down, presumably swamped by the Reddit masses wanting to read more.

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It's still down as I type.

I've tweeted the organization to see if Dolly's working on restoring the site.

(Update, 1:10 p.m.: Still down.)

(Update, 1:30 p.m. Site's still down, but tweet shows they're being good sports about it.)


(Update, 1:45 p.m.: Latest tweet from Dolly's library says things are back to normal ...


... but I still can't access the site.)

(Update, 1:55: Site's homepage is now loading, but you could read a children's book while this is happening.)

(Update, 2:15: Loading much faster now.)

(Update, 3:15: Imagination Library site seems fine now. Ours, however, was having trouble, which sparked speculation on Reddit that we, too, had fallen to The Reddit Effect. Such is not the case, however, as our IT department is reporting that it's a database problem of undetermined origin. And I can tell you that the traffic from Reddit to this post has so far been noticeable but nothing heavy. .... At the moment, our site seems to be working.)

(Update 3:30: Imagination Library tells me via Twitter that today "could be our biggest day of all-time. Total traffic still tbd.")

(Update 3:40: Just refreshed Reddit and ...


... guess it's that kind of day.)

(Update, 5:10 p.m.: And before we slide down the dinosaur, here's the latest tweet I received from Imagination Library: "Thanks to recent comments, viewer donations have increased dramatically. What an amazing day!" ... So the real Reddit effect is that a lot more little kids are going to get a lot more books. Cool.)

Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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