Why Techcrunch is not always right for your site

When I first started Fuel I thought the best thing that could happen would be to get Mike Arrington of Techcrunch to review it. I was wrong on many parts. Not because of fear that Techcrunch would write a bad review, nothing like that but I think a review would have killed the site back then (and would today for a day or two!).

You see, when a reader of a blog or news site get to hear about a new service or website, they generally, based upon the quality of the review, will go visit and see for themselves. So this presents two immediate problems, firstly, the site needs to have the server and capacity to take the hits and secondly, is the traffic going to be sticky or "drive-by's"?

The friend widget (fuelroll) on fuelmyblog is currently getting over 40,000 clicks per day, this has resulted in the site slowing down and now we are experiencing some running issues, so we can only imagine the numbers if the site was stable and up all day every day! These issues will all be resolved with a shiny new server next week, we are self-hosting finally and I guess this is the first stage of "scaling up". So with a review from a large site like TC, we'd be screwed for at least a day or two, this is why sites need to be able to scale up, even with our small site, that point has already happened.

So on to the traffic, as we all know, as bloggers or site owners, traffic is what we crave and desire. We all want traffic, for some it is key to survival, for others it brings pleasure in the form of comments. We also want that traffic to stay and come back (sticky). So, if TC reviewed fuel, I suspect, the traffic it would generate would be high, when Mashable wrote about fuel we gained 1000 users in the first 24 hours, with readership of around a 7th(?) of Techcrunch, I suspect we could safely expect a similar pattern. But what kind of users would they be?

Organic users are sticky, they are generally referred to read your blog or site by a friend and stay because, well, they are already a friend of that blog or person and will have similar interests. Are people arriving following a Tech review going to stay? I say Tech review in particular because people that read Tech blogs or sites tend to be early adopters, always willing to try new stuff, staying in general with a handful of sites they prefer. Generally, I suspect they will take a look around, maybe hate it, maybe love it. I am guessing they also pop back to the source of the review, leave a comment and move on to the next review. This is why the majority of that traffic may not be sticky. Of course, if the site is good, they'll come back and that is key to actually getting a review, something we don't deserve yet 🙂

So, this is why I think a Techcrunch review would have killed the site before but in a couple of weeks time, won't (or shouldn't). We'll have the new features by then and be ready to start actually talking to the world about Fuelmyblog, it will have to be ready too, as I have that huge announcement coming soon.

One I have promised to tell Mike Butcher about before I go to the press. And this announcement, linked to Fuelmyblog in a way, will attract as much offline ("deadwood" news interest) as the online news/blogs. And I know I am still being vague, I have to be. I am meeting with two public companies in a few weeks time to discuss it. These companies have 40,000+ employees, are based mostly offline and their CEO's want their companies to be involved. So believe me, dear readers, I have something cooking that will benefit the bloggers and users of fuelmyblog like no other social network has ever offered before (or possibly ever after). And I will not let you down. I promise.

(Oh and Paul and I are going to Sobcon08, an interview with Liz Strauss will be on here next week, if you are going, I'll be able to talk about it with you in person!)

'Til the next post folks, see you soon!

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5 thoughts on “Why Techcrunch is not always right for your site”

  1. Great post Kev. I’ve had a similar experience with traffic from digg.

    Here is a quote for a post I wrote in January 2007: Social Media – The other traffic generator.

    Here’s the deal, before the whole Krak.dk thing, the server was serving between 4500 and 5100 pages a day in January.

    On the 3rd of January we served 5270 pages with 32.71% of the traffic coming from Google.

    On the 21st (23946) and 22nd (17845) making 41791 pages combined. 75.56% of my incoming traffic on those 2 days was from digg.com.

    On the 23rd we served 6396 pages with only 29.55% of the traffic coming from Digg. 10.03% of the traffic came from Google. That’s only around a thousand more than usual for my blog and as you can tell, things are quickly returning to normal.

    The problem is that traffic from Techcrunch, Digg, Mashable and sites like that is “sheep” traffic. They are simply following the crowd and you tend to see only a minor increase in subscriptions, ad clicks or comments for when compared to the sheer volume of traffic.

    Also when these kind of users do comment they tend to do it at the source page rather than your site or article which sucks a but to be honest.

    As for your announcement.. can’t wait to hear more and a really looking to hanging out in Chicago with you…

  2. Boy, I know I’m going to learn a heck of a lot more about blogging at SOBCon08 because of folks like you and Paul! That’s why Liz and I are so committed to this – it’s the ultimate learning environment (and a heck of a lot of fun too).
    See you two in Chicago!

  3. Wonderful analysis and followed with such thoughtful commentary by Paul! I can’t wait to see both of you there! We’re going to show everyone what the folks in the business blogging and social media community are really doing today.

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