Image from: Lottery Ticket Image / Shutterstock
Hey, it could have happened. It was a pleasant Friday dream. Now, back to the dullness of a regular-salary, four cups of coffee-or-else Monday morning, and I’m stuck writing this blog post. The know-it-alls, professionally known as statisticians, weren’t lying after all. Winning the world record $640 million jackpot is less probable than setting your own world record. According to the LA Times, you are 19 times as likely to be struck by lightning twice, 33 times as likely to be killed in the next year by bees, and 40 times as likely to be dealt five blackjacks in a row as you are to win Mega Millions.
But with those odds, how could I say no to a personal contribution of 2 bucks to the lottery pool at the office? There is no such thing as TOO much money, right? Some colleagues were reluctant to expand the invite to more and more co-workers as that would automatically diminish the individual cut by tens of millions of dollars once we split the winnings (you know, since a group of Data employees were, without a doubt, going to win). And by the time the mega millions e-mail from our trustworthy group leader went out on Friday night brimming with detailed notes and instructions to follow once we won the lottery (“future millionaires, follow the protocol discussed in the news and not share the information with anyone until we can lawyer up”), there were 18 of us in total. That would be a cool $20 mil each. I was getting Goosebumps.
I took to the Internet to find out more details about my winnings, as I had no idea how the “balls” were even played to decide the fate of a few Americans. The Mega Millions website has a great “How to Play” page for curious/hopeful/overly confident/borderline cocky Americans like myself who radiate the assurance to everyone around them that they’re going to win, and the first thing they’re going to buy will certainly be something ridiculous.
Looks like others are doing the same, turning to websites like megamillions.com, where daily reach and attention spiked on Friday (people like me, getting sucked into the maddening headlines and trying to uncover what their fortune would look like as a one-time lump sum vs. annual payments), which became the highest peak for both daily metrics during the past year. Reach continued rising on Saturday, and attention still remained quite high (anxious lottery players checking Friday night’s fate-determining winning numbers), but interestingly enough not higher than Friday. Post winners announcement, the site definitely reaches Americans, but once they check the numbers and realize they have to return to work on Monday to write blogs, megamillions.com can’t quite hold their same attention as on Friday, when the dream was still a glowing (and possible) one.
Usamega.com, lotteryusa.com, lotterypost.com and lottery.com all show a similar surge in daily reach during this same time frame – as the jackpot rushes upward and breaks one record after the other, so does the daily traffic.
The buzz question of the week remains to be WWTLWD: What will the lottery winner do? Too bad the three lucky ones didn’t include Compete employees, but if it were me, I would probably fall over, and then write another blog post, obviously.
Jessica Davidson is a Project Manager on the data team at Compete, and revels in working with big data on a daily basis. She is a graduate of Northeastern University, having completed her B.A. in Mathematics. Feel free to connect with Jessica about all things digital and intelligent on LinkedIn.