How many hits is a link from BoingBoing or Seth Godin worth?

A month or so ago, I wrote a blog post titled "Most Expensive Wi-Fi Ever?" about the cost of internet services at a Toronto-area convention centre.

I submitted the post to StumbleUpon, BoingBoing, TechDirt and Reddit, as I thought all would be places where readers might be interested in this type of insane mark-up. After my colleague Ian pointed out that Seth Godin had linked to me, I dug into Google Analytics to see how much traffic that ended up driving to my post.

As a result, BoingBoing's Cory Doctorow blogged about it on September 22nd, resulting in 1,141 hits to my post.

Mike Masnick at TechDirt wrote about my post on October 25, but didn't link directly to me (I don't mind).

Seth Godin mentioned my post in a recent post he wrote, driving another 678 views.

Reddit drove a measly 61 views.

And Google Analytics reports that StumbleUpon drove 2,437 views of the webpage (even though StumbleUpon itself only reports driving 35 users to the page).

There were also an additional 2,762 views to the post that Google Analytics identified as coming from (direct). While I obviously can't confirm where these are coming from, I have a feeling they're probably spread out across the different sources (my other colleague Kevin Mchugh sent me this link that might help explain that (direct) traffic)

So what does all this mean?

By itself, not much. Views or hits aren't everything these days. A kind word from an online influencer is probably worth a lot more than a link in the long run, thought it might be more difficult to measure.

There is also probably a lot of digging I can do into how long visitors from the different sources stuck around, and whether they checked out anything else on my site. Visitors from one source, though fewer, might end up being more 'valuable' (in this sense, sticking around as long-term readers).

What do you think about this data?



Did BoingBoing Sell Out?

BoingBoing was one of the first blogs that I ever read, and it'll always have a special place in my heart. (This post remains some of the best advice I've read on the internet.) I don't subscribe via RSS or email anymore, but I still stop by once in a while just to see how things are going.

Over the past few months, they've been touting the BoingBoing Bazaar, a section of the Makersmarket website that features products hand-selected by BoingBoing staff.

More recently, they posted that they also have a BoingBoing online store on Amazon.

Presumably, the BoingBoing organization gets a cut of all products they sell through these online outlets.

So does that mean they sold out?

No. In a way, I think they did almost the exact opposite. While they used to offer their readers their opinions and thoughts on the weird internet ephemera that they found, now they can share the equally weird and cool physical goods

Better yet, by getting paid as affiliates (as I assume they do), they're rewarded for all the work they put into the blog. I feel like by including these suggestions as part of the editorial content, the BoingBoing crew is walking a very fine line. However, if their users feel like they're endorsing products strictly in order to make money, they'll stop reading.

While micro-payment services like Flattr aim to make it easy for you to reward the sites or artist you like online, I think they are a bit idealistic (the world isn't ready for this type of whuffie thinking) and don't result in any reward for the person paying beyond a warm, fuzzy feeling.

Online advertising is dead and dying. The future of profitable websites is in their ability to develop content that they can turn into sales of actual, physical goods or services. Whether success comes in the form of the website selling branded goods related to its own brand (BlogCampaigning pogs, maybe?) or by setting up its own, shop like BoingBoing has remains to be seen.

This is an issue with all forms of digital media, from blogs and websites to music, movies and games so I'm definitely interested in seeing how it will turn out.

What do you think? Did BoingBoing sell out? Would you buy products that the BlogCampaigning crew recommended? What is the best way to reward your favorite website?


OR Books: The New Frontier of Publishing

I have been listening to a lot of NPR's On The Media podcasts on my way to and from work.  A few weeks ago the show focused on the past, present and future of books, and ultimately the publishing industry as a whole. The November 27th podcast, "Book It", talked about the rising number of new books hitting the shelves every year, and how this number would inevitably increase with the influx of scanned content, e-books, and do-it-yourself publishing. This "content overload" (half a million books published each year) has led to the invention of new business models for publishing and selling written work. One publishing company looking to capitalize on this shift is OR Books, an alternative publisher that is highly selective, publishing only one or two books per month. There are a few things that set this type of model apart from the HarperCollinses of the world. First, they sell directly to you, the consumer. By cutting out the middleman (i.e., Chapters and even Amazon), they are able to keep costs low and print-on-demand or sell content as e-books. Getting rid of storage and additional print costs means less expensive books for you.

Second, by keeping overhead costs low, OR Books is able to offer writers between $50,000 and $100,000 worth of publicity for each book. As co-owner John Oakes puts it "you're more likely to see a Unicorn than a non-celebrity author who has had that kind of publicity commitment from his/her publisher". They are also experimenting with digital channels like Facebook, Twitter, and online publications like BoingBoing and Alternet.

Third, because OR Books is focusing on one or two books per month, the consumer can foster an expectation of the quality and progressive content published. John and his co-founder Colin Robinson have previous experience in politics, history, cultural analysis, popular science, and various forms of literature, including science fiction and translation. They intend to continue to rely on their publishing expertise in these areas.

So far, John notes the experience has "been thrilling, really, to see how quickly consumers have embraced this concept. We've had many thousands of orders, with only a few people even raising the question of why we don't sell via Amazon or any other retailer" While this changed December 1st, when their latest book, Going Rouge, hit stores, it seems like both consumers and producers of the written work stand to benefit from publishers like OR Books.

On a personal level, I often have a hard time sorting through the millions of books to choose from, and will definitely check back on OR Books' site for their "book of the month".

Still not sold? Check out their video:

RZA and The Wu-Tang Clan Are Huge Geeks (You Read it Here First!)

Earlier today, I watched this interview (embedded below, via BoingBoing) with RZA from the Wu-Tang Clan, in which he talks about how much of a geek he is and how that influenced his music.

"I'd rather raise nerds than raise gangsters", the hip-hop star says as he talks about his interest in new music-creating software, and that hip-hop has a lot of geeks amongst its ranks.

I've been saying that the Wu-Tang Clan were huge needs for a while now. Last year, I wrote that that they were huge nerds ("36 Chambers of Social Media") due to the fact that they were obsessed with Kung-Fu movies and Voltron, and I'm glad that the RZA has confirmed my thoughts.

For examples of some of their music and its relation to nerd culture, check here.

Honda Gets It

Cheers to Honda for strapping on some waders and stepping into the social media stream by sponsoring a few sections on BoingBoing. Despite all the haters (read the comments), I support the move by Doctorow et. al. to allow a big corporate sponsor like that on their site. These people spend  hours and hours of their time working on the blog and as fun as it is, someone has to pay the bills eventually. If I had to chose between corporate sponsorship or a paid subscription to any of my favorite blogs

I'm pretty sure that eventually we will see this same business model applied to other forms of media. (I mean, BMW seemed to get it a few years ago...what don't the major studios understand?)

Oh, and its also a great chance for Honda to listen to what the world is saying about them in the comment forums and an equally great chance for them to personally respond.


Hello BoingBoing readers!

If you're new to this site, it is probably because you read a recent post on BoingBoing pointing to Jens' post about an early form of DRM being used in Australia in the 1920s. Stick around, and read about Public Relations and social media, Video Games, Technology and even my colleague Espen's thesis about the use of blogs in American political campaigns.

On behalf of the entire BlogCampaigning team, thanks for coming by! -Parker