The Idea Dude


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

What are Jelly Blogs?

If I had to rename TheGoodBlogs (the chances are nil!) but hypothetically, it would be called The Jelly Blogs (assuming it wasn't parked already). Tony and I spend a good portion of our time, looking at the couple hundred blogs that we have in the network every day. When we first started, we read each one, something tough to do these days. Using the widget, we each probably look at 30-50 blogs at random every day. For me, it is like dipping into a bag of jelly beans. Sure we have favorites but to not try the others would be a travesty for any jelly bean connoisseur.

Today we passed our 9 millionth blog promotion, that is the number of times we have promoted a blog through the widget since we started a handful of months ago. So whether you're into banana-flavored business blogs or spicy cinnamon Blogsisters or blueberry technology blogs, or the tasty popcorn art blogs, we have a pretty decent variety that will satisfy most people.

Many of our members arrive by word of mouth (or should I say word of blog). Every blogger has his or her own community cultivated over many months of cross-posting, sharing of stories, etc. It is a joy to see bloggers finding each other. If TheGoodBlogs are to reach any tipping point (taking Malcolm Gladwell's model), we need mavens, connectors and salesman. We certainly see blogs that other blogs seem to act as a reference points in starting conversations, we also see other blogs that take these and expand and embellish the points of view acting like salesfolk, propagating interesting topics. Finally, there are the connectors who enjoy dropping by blogs to leave comments and their calling cards or simply commenting on their own blogs about other great blogs. Everyday there are conversations, in fact, thousands of ad hoc conversations.

Another phenomena that we have been able to witness is the the concept of blog islands which I've talked about before on this blog. i.e. each blog is an island with finite number of inhabitants (blog visitors), it takes either the blogger or a reader to span two islands at which point inhabitants flow freely between the two islands. It is a win-win situation because business flows both ways. The phrase 'I found you through TheGoodBlogs' is surprisingly common. Beyond readership, we've managed to be opportunistic matchmakers, facilitating relationships that didn't exist before. One favorite VC question is invariably, what is your barrier to entry? The only answer that seems to hold water today is not patents, technology, or people but the corporate assets are the fiercely loyal communities you manage to cultivate and hold.

As for the picture... it is a mash-up of all our category icons at TheGoodBlogs...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's be good to get some statistics on those things Vern. To know what kinds of blog posts work well as connectors etc. I've been looking forward to those kinds of insights. Has anybody's blog really begun to soar since they joined goodblogs?

6:39 AM  
Blogger The Idea Dude said...

As you can imagine, every blog has it's peaks and troughs. Some vary from 1,000 to 2,000 views per day. At a macro level, you can expect a 10%-20% increase in traffic month over month, again, it's depending on the blogger. The network effect benefits the smaller bloggers. Bloggers tell me their feed numbers have increased since joining TheGoodBlogs. That is probably the most important indicator to me, because these readers have made a serious commitment to reading your blog, i.e. building your own mini-community or readership. We've also had spikes due to a member digging another member etc. We've been pretty heads-down getting the next feature out but to communicate what works and what doesn't is important. I shall make sure I do more of that on a regular basis. Rather than a traffic driver, it seems we're becoming more a community builder (not a bad thing). I think when we have the same traffic as some of the large portals, like Digg, the traffic driver becomes important again. There are a couple of things we're working on to help drive more traffic too. More about that in the new year.

12:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well I agree it pays not to be a traffic driver like digg - you get some hostile community out of that. So sure when you get round to thinking about analysis.

5:44 PM  

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