Avi Schiffmann is a 17-year-old high school student from Mercer Island, Washington who built one of the biggest websites for worldwide information on the spread of the novel coronavirus which causes COVID-19. He launched the website, called nCoV2019.live in early January 2020. His coronavirus tracker has over 30 million visitors per day and has a total of over 700 million views.
The teenager revealed why he refused $8 million for his website in an interview.
According to him the reason he did not add any advertisements was that he did not want to ruin his site’s UI and experience, and he did not want to sell the site as doing so would remove his control over the Coronavirus tracker. He added that he did not want to be contractually obligated to run the site or make changes that he did not like. he also stated that he could have earned $30 million by just putting up his own ads.
Schiffman also noted that many of his users did not have a strong internet connection and adding advertisements would slow down the website’s coronavirus tracking function.
However, Avi Schiffman did add a donation button to his website for those who wanted to support his endeavour. Further on, Avi Schiffman revealed that he did not want to leave a stain on things in the future.
Moreover, the 17-year-old has also received several job offers, including one from Microsoft. But he does not want to take up any offers right now, as he wants to pursue his own projects. Schiffman added that he was pleased by the connections he had made through this coronavirus tracker. Now that he knew a few investors and VCs, he could at least convince them to read his business plan.
On his Twitter handle he wrote:
“The goal of this site has always been to spread information across the world about the ongoing pandemic, and not to make money, there will be opportunities for that in the future. I value the opportunities and connections all of you bring, it is worth far more to me than $$$.”
“Thank you all for supporting me to help keep the site ad-free forever. There will never be any unwanted sponsorships, pop-ups, referral links, or advertisements of any kind. You have my promise about that, and I thank every single one of you for your kofi donations and support!”
“Once covid is over I will make the site a free repo of information on the pandemic, so you can download like formatted tables of trend data in every country, etc. Plus compare it to previous outbreaks like SARS, Since the site is linked to so many places, would be dumb to delete it!”