Kawasaki: long tail success or failed "meganicher?"
About a year ago, Guy Kawasaki, self-made champion of tech entrepreneurs, started his own blog. The man who gave us Rules for Revolutionaries in 1999, began posting a single essay each day under the title "How to Change the World." On Monday, Kawasaki posted a statistical recap of his first year on the job, revealing essentially that his blog has proven a non-event. 262 long posts later, Kawasaki averages 6,200 page views a day and has managed to eke out a meager $3,350 in Google ad revenues. So where to place the blame?
Chris Anderson of Wired magazine and The Long Tail fame sees in Kawasaki's poor showing not editorial failure but (surprise!) a validation of his own economic theories: "Just another reminder that the reason to be a Long Tail producer is not direct revenues. Instead, it's exactly what Guy uses it for: marketing for his books, VC firm, speeches and consulting. For which he's exceedingly well paid. Indirect revenues rule!"
No doubt indirect revenues do rule, but we suspect Anderson may be missing a larger point, i.e. something closer to Kawasaki's own analysis: "One interpretation of this self-judged lack of success," he writes gamely, "is that the blogosphere prefers news and gossip to essays although my buddy Seth Godin disproves this theory." Or, to put a finer point on it, perhaps Kawasaki's long form blog musings just aren't that compelling, nor do they fit in an ad-friendly niche. But does this condemn bloggers who lack indirect revenues to poverty as Anderson would have it?
We wonder what Wired's own Clay Shirky would make of the Kawasaki stinker. It's Shirky who pointed out in November the rise of "meganiches," those narrowly targeted sites that nonetheless attract hordes of loyalists: "the Net is chockablock with special-interest sites and services you've never heard of but whose user base exceeds the print circulation of the Washington Post."
Just to cram one more pop cliche in here: what, we'd like to ask the Wired boys, is the tipping point between being part of the "long tail" (primarily good for "indirect revenues") and being a "meganiche," presumably capable of supporting a small crew of full-timers?
Guy didn't miss anything, he just didn't try (we know he didn't need to, that's not the point).
Throwing a Google Adsense block on your blog, unoptimed, is a waste of time, even with tons of blog traffic, this is proof of that.
It has everything to do with the method he chose to monetize. Now, he's going to run Federated Media ads which he'll probably earn anywhere from $50-$100k for over 2007 overall.
Blog monetization is about choice. You have to first see what your traffic is, then make the best choice to monetize.
Same with meganiches.
CNNMoney.com Comment Policy: CNNMoney.com encourages you to add a comment to this discussion. You may not post any unlawful, threatening, libelous, defamatory, obscene, pornographic or other material that would violate the law. Please note that CNNMoney.com makes reasonable efforts to review all comments prior to posting and CNNMoney.com may edit comments for clarity or to keep out questionable or off-topic material. All comments should be relevant to the post and remain respectful of other authors and commenters. By submitting your comment, you hereby give CNNMoney.com the right, but not the obligation, to post, air, edit, exhibit, telecast, cablecast, webcast, re-use, publish, reproduce, use, license, print, distribute or otherwise use your comment(s) and accompanying personal identifying information via all forms of media now known or hereafter devised, worldwide, in perpetuity. CNNMoney.com Privacy Statement.