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WebLogs bring less traffic than major media sites.
April 5, 2002 6:22 AM   Subscribe

WebLogs bring less traffic than major media sites. There isn't any surprize there, but what kind of traffic does each bring?
...those Google/Scientology articles I wrote didn't get nearly as many links from blogs... but they were of much broader interest to readers than the blog articles, so when a few major media sites linked to them, they got a ton of traffic.
Major media sites have to appeal to a common denominator, while smaller sites (MeFi) can focus on quality and thought provoking content. Is there any wonder there's less people interested in the specifics?
posted by KnitWit (12 comments total)

 
I can understand why blogs do not drive as much traffic. There is really no consistency from site to site regarding links; its pretty much a crap shoot. If I want to know more about the war, I go read the majors (NYT, CNN, BBC, etc.,) and have no problem typing "www.cnn.... " but if I want someones opinion, I go to blogs. Since a large percentage of blogs are vanity projects (mine included), I wouldn't expect them to drive traffic anywhere but to their circle of bloggers. Just MHO.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 6:43 AM on April 5, 2002


Well... when exactly was the last time you saw a billboard, tv commercial, magazine ad, etc. advertising CamWorld, /. or whatever? Blogs don't have budgets, they don't have millions of readers (well... except for /. maybe). It's independent content which, like independent music, is an acquired taste that's not as accessible as abcnews.com or whatnot.
posted by jedrek at 7:20 AM on April 5, 2002


Here's the thing, though: blogs probably made those major media sites aware of the content in question. Blogs may not drive traffic on their own, but certain of them are widely read in the right circles. Bloggers are early adopters, alpha consumers, and influencers, depending on the marketing jargon of the day.
posted by dhartung at 8:10 AM on April 5, 2002


You also have to compare administration. How many people run Metafilter vs. how many people run MSNBC.com. Then look at how much traffic the sites get -- and I bet that Metafilter gets a MUCH higher per-capita traffic rate than MSNBC.
posted by LuxFX at 8:18 AM on April 5, 2002


Bloggers are early adopters, alpha consumers, and influencers, depending on the marketing jargon of the day.

Just what, exactly, have bloggers done that has since been adopted by the mainstream?

I also think blogging is an interesting thing, but don't kid yourself. Just how big it's going to get remains to be seen.

And is anyone actually surprised that blogs drive less traffic than major media sites?
posted by mattpfeff at 9:21 AM on April 5, 2002


Just what, exactly, have bloggers done that has since been adopted by the mainstream?

mattpfeff, there are dozens of mainstream articles (probably at least a couple each week) that are born from weblog entries.

Take the microcontent news articles for example. I did the Critical IP thing, then wrote a little bit about it. People then discussed it here, and then the microcontent news articles came out. Eventually Google Bombing articles showed up on the BBC and Slate.

Another memorable example was shey, the guy that tried to get some custom nike shoes that simply said "sweatshop" on them. He was denied, posted about it on his blog, tons of people pointed at it, and it became mainstream news.

What Dan was refering to as being "widely read in the right circles" is that blogs and blogdex and places like metafilter are read widely by journalists. I've had professional journalists tell me how much they love this place as a source for story leads and a gauge on what people are thinking about current events.
posted by mathowie at 9:33 AM on April 5, 2002


The fact that blogs have been in the press recently leads me to the conclusion that mainstream journalism is aware of and following the blogging world. I wouldn't be surprised if daypop is a daily visit for a great deal of journalists looking to find the next big scoop.

I'm more concerned about the possibility that blogging will reach the traffic levels of mainstream news and media. Part of the reason I enjoy blogging is because it's more personal than news articles. If I knew that 100,000 people were reading my blog, I don't think I would write the same entries that I do now. Plus I would be hesitant to write certain things for fear that someone I was commenting on would end up reading about themselves.
posted by jaden at 9:50 AM on April 5, 2002


there are dozens of mainstream articles (probably at least a couple each week) that are born from weblog entries.

Sure -- I get that. But "early-adopter, alpha consumer" etc. doesn't mean resource or source of information, it means something more like trend-setter -- people whose behavior is a precurser to mainstream behaviors and activity.

Maybe you're right, though; I probably was just nit-picking over word choice. ...
posted by mattpfeff at 12:07 PM on April 5, 2002


"early-adopter, alpha consumer" etc. doesn't mean resource or source of information, it means something more like trend-setter

Debating semantics here... probably because the 'correct' terms are still being formed.

John Hiler ends up calling these people Link Mavens (from Malcom Gladwell's book: The Tipping Point) - basicly those people that start the memes rolling. The initial conduit through which content is exposed to a larger audience starting the meme 'snowball' as it were.
posted by KnitWit at 12:44 PM on April 5, 2002


I probably was just nit-picking over word choice. ...

I should add -- that wasn't my intent, I genuinely thought dhartung meant something different.
posted by mattpfeff at 1:03 PM on April 5, 2002


I agree with Matt's perspective. The influence that a particular site/weblog etc. exert may be disproportionate to the traffic that it provides. e.g. The Economist (print edition) doesnt have a very high circulation. But it is apparently read widely by people who influence world media and polity. Even if Mefi does not have provide the traffic that a mainstream publication provides, but is read and followed by people who feed the mainstream media, then it is a lot more influential than what a simple measure of hits generated by a mefi discussion would indicate.

Also, I think together bloggers do have disproportionate influence over content on the net. I dont think there is any other unorganized body of web users that can coalesce so fast around an issue. I dont know whether it is lasting. But at this point of time, there is probably no other organization/entity/whatever else (not that 'bloggers' is a collective) that is as effective in its ability to cohere around an idea/issue/cause/objective as the bloggers.
posted by justlooking at 5:56 PM on April 5, 2002


Link Mavens was a term I probably would have used if I'd remembered it, mattpfeff. Mathowie understood what I was getting at, though, and the Economist example was dead on.

There was a discussion a while back about the London Review of Books, where someone commented that at 15,000 circulation it wasn't very important. But I pointed out that easily 1,000 of that circ was probably on the Upper West Side of NYC between 72nd and 96th -- and another 1,000 is probably US universities. Between those two groups you're hitting most of the important authors, book critics, and politically active academics in the country. It's about being read by the right people.
posted by dhartung at 11:05 PM on April 5, 2002


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