My old empire and how it died

Back in my university days I used to run a website series called 'Smurphy'. There was Smurphy Reviews, Smurphy News, and Smurphy LOLs, and for the late 2000, they did pretty well. Reviews was by far my favourite of the lot and sported multiple writers work, featured new release movie reviews and almost had it's own podcast. In fact, it even got shout outs from some of the filmmakers and artists we reviewed. We got featured on some IMDB posts, and drew in a following on 2500+ on Facebook and had Smurphy branded merchandise. Then when university got too intense, I stopped.

Twitter banner from Smurphy Reviews official profile.
Banner from @SmurphyReviews Twitter page

Given I was putting 4-5 hours into learning html and JavaScript every night to upkeep the WordPress website, it's fair to say that effort transition to uni work was wise. This being said, I was balancing it quite well and even managed a girlfriend in the mix for a while. Sure the movies I was now reviewing weren't new releases and the reviewers I had on my team were now republishing their work else where.

Smurphy Review was still pretty, drawing in a bit of money and while traffic dropped drastically, it wasn't going anywhere. Or so I thought.

I got hacked. One morning I work up to an email from a kind stranger saying,

Hey Smurphy Review's team,
I think your website has been hacked. You might want to fix it.
Kind Regards

My first thought was 'yeah right, they're trying to sell me something like web security bs'. But sure enough, articles started popping up from me claiming "I earn $500 a day working from home" and "This is the secret casinos don't want you to know".

Within hours my hosting provider caught on and asked to delete all my data - which I had no choice in regards to by the way. They reset all the locks, installed a fresh WordPress... and I had lost everything. No backups, and all those nights fixing code on plugins officially gone. All the articles I didn't save or wrote on the fly, gone. All the layouts, photo-shopped buttons, and email subscribers, gone!

I build an expire when I was 19, and one email from a stranger informed me it was all gone. Smurphy was dead in the water. I did try and build it up again but didn't have the time. It was also increasing hard to motivate people to write for me as I had failed them and lost all their hard work.

Maybe one day I can rebuild the team, website and service I once did, but for now it's the blog. Thanks for coming along for another go at this web thing, and hopefully this time, the hackers piss off.

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