Sunday, April 20, 2008

BLOGGING: I don't get it

I realized that I'm a little behind the times on a lot of things. I'm trying to find out how people go from 0-->8000 readers in little to no time. I'm sure many local bloggers are dealing with the same issues, but I don't understand this whole concept of "readership."

I don't know how to do it online, and I guess I'm a little confused. I tried to read technorati articles on it, but I thought I was pretty cool when I was set up over there. Now, apparently, I'm also a member of AtomFeed or something like that and I don't know what that does. AH! On top of that, I'm being told I should use RSS -- which I have yet to actually see in action -- and And there's something called social marketing or something silly like that... And then Jackie over there is going into Qik and Twitter ... I mean, jeez, I'm not even on flickr, nor do I understand how something like photo-sharing could ever make money (I'm still amazed a free service like Yahoo! or Google could be a multi-bllion dollar endeavor).

I have no freaking clue what any of you are talking about.

It's sad when, at 25, I look at this whole world of the blogosphere and think -- most of these "top blogs" are crap and I have no interest in them, so why are they getting thousands of viewers a day? I mean, really, who cares about technical gadget blogs? They all seem so esoteric to be of that wide of interest to anyone.

I wonder, sometimes, how this whole internet ... this Web 2.0 ... thing is working (the video is a really interesting one I found a little while ago that finally explained to me Web 2.0, although I think it leaves a big open question of whether or not we are in the throes of creating the first AI by teaching this theoretical "Machine" how the human mind works). First of all, is all this readership authentic? There are conservative and liberal bloggers who claim 10,000+ unique hits a day. I'm a pretty avid internet user, but it seems unusual that there are so many people out there using the internet as much, if not more than me. I mean, it seems almost bizarre, because 10,000+ unique hits a day assume a couple of things:

1) That there are that many people interested in your topic. (Ok, mildly believable)
2) That there are that many people interested in your topic who would search out the topic online. (Ok, I'm still with it)
3) That there are that many people interested in your topic who would search out the topic online and then land on your blog (Ok, it's getting a little colder)
4) That there are that many people interested in your topic who would search out the topic online and then land on your blog above and beyond the thousands of other blogs who also claim that many hits or more -- not including those blogs and sites that rake in the hundreds of thousands and millions of unique hits a day (Really cold)

AND THEN, some more almost unbelievable things...

5) That there are that many people interested in your topic that would then "RSS" or some other silliness your site
6) That there are that many people interested in your topic that understand the complexities of Web 2.0 but can't grasp basic supply/demand economics
7) That there are that many advertisers that don't give a shit about your topic but somehow are drawn to post on your site and pay you -- to the tune of thousands of dollars a month -- for the amount of unique hits you have, believe somehow that that many people actually go to the site and consume the information rather than just glance over it.

I mean, I just don't get it. And then you add not only the layer of e-commerce on top of it -- GEEZ! I mean, I get places like who gain money through sales of something definitive. But exactly where are the billions coming from for Google -- which, btw, is a really empty site and, I don't know about anyone else, I ignore all the advertising, and especially the "yellow linked" sites at the top of a search? Or Yahoo! -- same situation? Or something less used and maybe a little more complicated like photbucket or flickr or qik?

Am I missing something here? I think there is a great separation in my head from understanding what exactly an "economy of ideas" means -- as I just don't understand where the money is coming from? Where has this all happened and who is making money and how?

But, back to my blog... I think I'm going to continue to try to build readership the old fashioned-way. That is, writing pretty decently about subjects people may or may not be interested in, building relationships with other bloggers (who, I've noticed, read blogs more than anyone else), and hope for the best. I think this is a lot like my whole decision to be a nurse -- if something awful happens with the world and this giant secret of "shhh, no one can actually put their hands on the billions that Google owns because ... sh... it doesn't really exist" gets out, I want to be sure I have something solid to base my life on, rather than living in the cyber-reality that I think peolpe are getting sucked into.

Like on facebook, I find myself my best reader, because at least I like what I'm writing :-).


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Anonymous said...

Lots to address here and I'm pressed for time, but on Google: 99% of their revenue comes from paid search. (The other 1% comes from various licensing deals for their software. I'm not making these numbers up, they're straight from the company's most recent filings with the SEC.)

When you run a search on Google, there are two kinds of results that appear: organic/natural (the ones on the white bit of the page) and "sponsored" results (with the baby blue background, at the very top and right sidebar). Who gets what position in those sponsored results is determined by a hugely competitive bidding system, where companies pay Google a certain amount of money for every single click they receive when placed in the ranking they desire. For example, a bank may be bidding $120 per click on the search term "cheap mortgage" - they pay Google that $120 regardless of whether the person actually ends up taking out a mortgage with them (or even fills out an application).

This makes sense for companies because the cost of acquiring a customer online is so much lower than acquiring a customer offline. With this bidding system, companies can measure what their acquisition per customer is (because they are paying a set amount for clicks) and adjust bidding on a 24/7, constant basis. It's HUGE business. (I was head of marketing for Europe's largest search marketing firm, which manages such search engine bidding for loads of big brands and other lucrative businesses. It works.)

Barry Floore said...

Whoa. So there are a lot of people out there clicking on those links??? I'm almost dumbfounded.

And if it's such huge business, how does one break in, because mama's heels are nearly broken and her car is dead... a couple mill would be nice for the summer.

Barry Floore said...

OH. Ha. I just got it... it helps when you read.

So if I don't click on those, nobody really benefits. But if someone DOES click on those, then Google benefits.


Does that then mean that's how a lot of these places are getting our names/phone numbers/etc, thus adding to the information suburban sprawl we're experiencing?