I have been writing ‘fake news’ since I produced my own spoof news magazines at high school. I set up WalesOnCraic in late August 2014, just before Cardiff hosted the NATO Summit. I began by posting spoof Welsh news stories and the first few weeks were hard and I had very little traffic. But I then wrote a story about Barack Obama being mistakenly taken by a taxi driver to Castle Bingo instead of the NATO summit at Cardiff Castle. The story went ‘viral’, meaning it was shared a lot on social media. My Facebook page then started getting lots of likes and things snowballed from there. Within 7 months, my site had received over 1 million visits and I had to fork out for new servers to handle the traffic.
I then decided to monetise the site by adding in some online advertising. I also ventured out into selling T shirts and mugs that have also sold very well. While I was on holiday in 2015, I wrote a book about how the blog had succeeded. I published the book myself on Amazon and it went straight to the top of the charts on Kindle. It was the #1 blogging book on Kindle for two and half years. The biggest challenge I’ve found is making time for blogging as I’m co-editor of Living Magazines in my main job. The site has brought me some memorable moments though – winning an award for Blogger of the Year and also being interviewed on American radio. They had picked up one of my spoof stories online and thought it was real. It wasn’t until I was live on air that they realised that they had been reading a spoof news story, which made the interview even more interesting!
I still run the site but I’m applying everything I’ve learnt into the magazines.