Phases and Stages: Measuring the Echo Chamber

I know Alexa is seriously flawed, but every month or so I like to check the ratings for CostPerNews to see what sort of general trends have developed in relation to other blogs in this niche.

Alexaholic is a great tool for this, of course.

In this comparison, I used the self described “community blog” ReveNews, Linda’s 5 Star Affiliate Marketing Blog, Shawn’s AffiliateTip, and Scott’s Jangro.com along with CostPerNews.

Lots of jagged lines and pretty colors, but there were a few interesting trends that we should take note of. For instance, here’s the two year reach graph…

screenshot-website-statistics-and-traffic-graphs-comparing-costpernewscom-affiliate-blogs5staraffiliateprogramscom-jangrocom-affiliatetipcom-and-revenewscom-firefox.png

The general trend had been upwards for 5Star, AffiliateTip and ReveNews over 2005 and into 2006, with June/July of 2006 being a nice peak for everyone, especially ReveNews. However, since then there has seemed to be a steady plateau for those blogs.

Jangro’s blog (along with Jeff Molander’s ThoughtShapers.com which I didn’t include) and CPN have also found a steady position of increase since July and are approaching the big 3 listed above. Then there are the newsletters such as my old stomping ground, the Digital Moses Confidential (Hagai has definitely figured out how to get the networks to advertise!).

CostPerNews officially launched on November 1, so I’ve been happy with the growth of the community, comments and maturity of my thought processing (blogging 4-5 times a day about online and affiliate marketing ain’t that easy, folks) in just a couple of months.

However, what do all these stats mean? Can you really quantify a blog’s impact on a community based on numbers? Is CostPerNews comparable to ReveNews? No… and to use a silly metric such as reach, rank or page view to try to compare any of these blogs with each other is just silly.

That’s easy to say, but when I’m trying to justify the time and energy put into this blog, saying page views and impressions don’t matter still doesn’t pay the bills (which looks like a rumbling Mt. Vesuvius on the kitchen counter).

So, when I’m meeting with potential sponsors or on the phone with merchants interested in possibly figuring out an advertising deal, how should I respond to the page view question? Normally, my response to such a question is:

“Well, if you have to ask that question, you probably don’t want to advertise on CostPerNews.”

Then we trade niceties and hang up.

These are also the same potential advertisers who ask questions such as:

  • “So, what kind of stuff do you cover on the blog?”
  • “Do you cover CPA Networks?”
  • “Are you going to Vegas, dude?”
  • “Can you do a post about our new programs if we sponsor you?”
  • “Could you put a few affiliate links in the posts?”
  • “So what’s the difference between your blog and advertising in Revenue Magazine?”
  • “Can we preview your posts before you put them up so that our legal can approve them?”
  • “Can we do a pay per post arrangement?”
  • “What do you think is the future of affiliate marketing?”

Those are actual questions I’ve gotten in the last few weeks from potential advertisers who have contacted me. I keep a notebook for the good ones.

So, my point is that you can’t measure blogs with things such as page views or ranks. Especially in a niche industry. Read the Long Tail people… it’s a good quick read. If you are thinking about advertising here, please please please at least read the blog (or at least a few posts) before contacting me. This is not a splog and I don’t care to dilute the content just to get a few dollars from people who don’t take the time to either click around here or at least google my name.

Take the time to get to know your audiences and take the time to get to know the places where you might be placing your brand.

Interesting times, my friends.

One thought on “Phases and Stages: Measuring the Echo Chamber

  1. I’ll say it again- I think I did two years ago-

    It is WHO you reach.

    It is WHO you influence.

    It only takes one big hitter a month for it to pay off well.

    Even better- what if you attract an INNOVATOR….wait merchants and networks don’t like to reward innovation- they like to reward volume…

    No Sam if they ask these questions- it is your charge to educate them on why they are the wrong questions to ask…

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