Blog power

Guy Kawasaki has posted some interesting statistics that should be of interest to any organisation considering the effect blogs could have on their business. For any marketing and PR people who haven’t yet studied the power of blogs and networks involving ‘influentials’, it’s about time they started…

After just 30 days of blogging, Guy noted that:

  • Amazon sales rank for his book has gone from position #1,500 – 2,000 up to between #500 – 750
  • Web site page views per day have increased from 400 to between 800 – 1,200
  • After linking to somebody else’s site, their page views per week jumped from 321 to 38,946

This ties in nicely with Richard Edelman’s recent essay The Me2 Revolution describing how, in the world of communications:

“…the pyramid-of-influence model has been gradually supplanted by a peer-to-peer, horizontal discussion…”

And whilst I’m in quote-happy mode, I recently read Orson Scott Card’s ‘Enders Game‘, on a friend’s recommendation (that would be the good ol’ peer network in action) and the following quote seemed, well, fascinating:

“There are times when the world is rearranging itself and, at times like that, the right words can change the world… The world is always a democracy in times of flux, and the man with the best voice will win”

…from a book originally written in 1977, a conversation between two children deciding to use ‘the nets’ to publish articles that will get people talking and challenging political decisions:

“Peter, you’re twelve.” “Not on the nets I’m not.”

There was me thinking The Cluetrain Manifesto was ahead of its time.

And from the power of words to the weakness of words. Whilst writing this, a documentary has just started on the TV: Challenger: Countdown to disaster. Having just read Edward Tufte’s excellent ‘Visual Explanations‘, I’m not expecting too many surprises. (The book uses The Challenger shuttle disaster as a case study in what can happen if you don’t present your data clearly and someone does not want to hear what you are trying to tell them.)

One long tail

In case you haven’t already heard or read about it, in 2004 Chrs Anderson (editor of Wired magazine) wrote an article describing a concept he called ‘The Long Tail’. The idea hit a nerve and now has a blog of its own and a book is in the works (due out in May).

Here’s a quick summary describing what the long tail is all about:

It started with a question: “What percentage of the top 10,000 titles in any online media store will rent or sell at least once a month?” Most people answer 20%, applying the 80:20 rule (20% of products will generate 80% of the sales). The correct answer is 99%. Online stores are challenging traditional market theories – they have unlimited shelf-space so are able to offer the full range of products and hyperlinks enable buyers to connect seemingly unrelated items together through purchase recommendations made by other buyers – the hit and the miss are put on equal footing.

Chris Anderson disovered that, for example, the average Barnes & Noble book store stocks approximately 130,000 titles. More than 50% of Amazon’s book sales come from outside its top 130,000 titles. In other words, the market for books not even sold in the average book store is larger than the market for those books that are. I’d recommend reading the article (if you haven’t already) and blog for a more detailed description.

Today The Times published the top 50 best selling books of 2005 and I could not resist creating a chart from the numbers to see what sort of curve was produced.

Begin drum roll…

Introducing one long tail:

🙂 And that’s just from the top 50 books. Imagine what it would look like if you stretched it across the entire range of books sold in 2005.


Post filed under: growth lines

What does Web 2.0 mean…

Web 2.0 is creating lots of buzz at the moment, both positive and negative, and the inevitable ‘dotcom’ bubble comparisons have begun as the main players go into acquisition mode. I think it is too soon to be defining what is, and what isn’t, Web 2.0. But I do think it’s important to consider what it means and why it matters.  Read More

CEOs and the blog world

It’s funny how 2 events unexpectedly connect…

I was updating my ‘web links’ page, putting in the home page links for blogs I’ve listed there, and was just thinking how most of them were TypePad accounts (I nearly started this blog on TypePad)…

…And then I flicked over to SharpReader, to have a quick last scan of blogs before shutting down for the night… and Loic LeMeur (Mr TypePad) has a blog entry about meeting Steve Ballmer during his Munich visit. It seems that Steve had never heard of him and didn’t realise how successful TypePad has become. Maybe he should have asked Robert Scoble about who’s who in the European blogosphere? 😉

CEOs may be wise not to blog themselves, but that doesn’t mean they can ignore them completely. Robert Scoble (who works for Microsoft) is up there on the blogging A-list. Seems common sense that Microsoft’s execs ought to check in with him from time to time, especially if they’re attending a meeting remotely related to social software and blogs – would save their researchers a lot of leg work. I think this will become increasingly applicable to CxOs, but especially those heading up the most visible organisations, globally and at local levels too…

OurSocialWorld notes

Attended Our Social World conference on social software organised by Geoff Jones and held at The Moller Centre, Cambridge, UK on 9th September 2005. Here are the notes captured on the day.

Good line up of speakers.  In the room, Apple Macs must have outnumbered Windows-based laptops by at least 5:1… not quite representative of normal adoption statistics 🙂 perhaps suggesting social software as a business technology is yet to be mainstream.  Give it time…

Simon Phipps – Sun (created and manages the Sun blog network)

The Participation Age: Volume of readership doesn’t matter, it’s the critical mass that counts (i.e. the ‘influentials’ within the target audience). Trackbacks vs Comments: The former can enforce accountability (at least to some degree) compared to anonymous comments.

Tom Coates – BBC

Covered the different forms of social software that are appearing on the
Internet, including: Flickr,, Technorati, microformats, LastFM.

Suw Charman – Independent Blog Consultant

"Before you start blogging inside your organisation, first ask what can be done better through blogs that couldn’t be done before. "  Good sound advice, seems obvious but too often forgot (and applies to all technology projects).

Julian Bond

Blogging tips – "Don’t just talk about your own business, you have to talk about the business you are in."

Loic Le Meur -Six Apart, TypePad

Used the L’Oreal example (they created a fake blog) for what not to do:
create a fake blog identity, erase negative comments – wrong, wrong, wrong.  To be fair, L’Oreal also then got it right.  Acknowledged the mistake and asked the blogger community for what to do.  The flamers then turned into helpers.

Euan Semple – BBC

Talked through projects the BBC has implemented internally, including blogs and wikis.   Interesting, wikis took off faster than any other technology.  I’ve seen similar reactions to the deployment of collaborative workspaces such as Microsoft’s Windows SharePoint Services.  Collaboration still trumps all 🙂 IMHO

Ross Mayfield – Social Text

Blogs vs Wikis = single voice/commentary vs group voice/collaboration

The Ecosystem of Networks:

1 12 150 1000+


Creative Networks
Social Networks
Political Networks

Nice, clean way of articulating the differences that occur as audience size increases.   When we go really large, we’re into the publishing domain.  When you compare the differences between newspapers, what are they?  Ultimately, they are political preferences aimed at a target audience.