In 2004, before he reached the age of 20, Andrey Alimetov created what has become one of the most viewed websites of the coronavirus pandemic, Worldometer. The site has shot into the top 100 Alexa rankings. Coronavirus data collated by Worldometer has gone on to be cited by the Government, politicians, media outlets, and commentators – Peter Hitchens has taken to tweeting out a “Daily Worldometer check” comparing the UK and Sweden’s statistics. Wikipedia editors have debated whether or not it should be used as a source. Conspiracy theorists and a right-wing American think tank have speculated that a Chinese company is behind Worldometer. So, can the site be trusted, and who’s behind it?
The site then blew up after being featured on Digg (“Yes, I’m that old”, Alimetov says). So a few months later, he sold it on eBay through an auction for $2000. “At the time, it was a lot of money, and I wasn’t even 20 back then so it was a no-brainer. The immediate cash-out was worth a lot more in my opinion at the time than long-term returns. Also at the time there was no easy way to ‘cash out’ a high-traffic website. The money at the time really helped with my living situation.”