Not every netizen in the Puget Sound has the honor of being named the 2020 Webby Person of the Year. Avi Schiffman has earned it.
The 17-year old Mercer Island high school student received the award from none other than Dr. Anthony Fauci, NIAID Director, during the online Webbys From Home awards presentation of this year’s honors that included featured presenters like Michelle Obama and winners like Tom Hanks.
Since launching the site on December 29th, the domain nCoV2019.live , otherwise known as The Coronavirus Tracker, has received around 30 million visitors a day and has attracted 700 million visitors so far. Schiffman has turned down offers worth millions of dollars in advertising revenue stating that is not the goal of the site.
“I’m only 17, I don’t need $8 million…I don’t want to be a profiteer,” he said. A modest donation button appears on the website, though it has not accounted for anywhere near $8 million.
There have been many benefits. “Now I know a ton of VCs and investors…if I started a company tomorrow, they’d at least read my business plan,” said Schiffman.
Schiffmann uses security company Cloudflare to protect the site against DDOS attacks. Cloudflare’s CEO Matthew Prince saluted Avi with a tweet and sent along some Cloudflare shirts. For his dream connection, Schiffmann says that he’d like to talk to Bill Gates, and he’s especially interested in the intersection of technology and public health.
According to the Webby Award judges: “Avi Schiffmann’s tracking site was a necessary tool that sounded the alarm on the novel coronavirus and its spread, notably calling attention to its severity long before many global officials.
By providing over 100 million visitors with real-time data on the virus’ spread, Schiffmann has helped people around the globe understand COVID-19 and the necessity of upgrades to current health care systems and measures to flatten the curve.
For having the foresight to track the global spread of COVID-19 and for creating a website to provide real-time data about the virus to people everywhere, it is our great privilege to honor Avi Schiffmann as the 2020 Webby Person of the Year.” [24×7]