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Scot Wingo & Seeking Alpha: Traffic Drivers

It’s still fascinating to me how many insights I gain from the traffic to my own personal blog.

Today, I checked my stats briefly and noticed something really strange: my post about eBay Express, A Eulogy for eBay Express, had jumped with a vengence to the number one post on the blog.  My overall traffic spiked a bit too.  A little strange for a post that is over 6 months old.

Perusing my top referring sites, I saw one obvious culprit: eBay Strategies.  Scot Wingo has a new post up entitled Episode IV – How to fix eBay (you are here) – A NEW HOPE – Introducing eBay 2.0. It’s a long post, but there are a couple of paragraphs in it that point directly to my last eBay Express post:

You may recall an experiment eBay had called eBay Express where they tried to extend the brand with a different fixed-price site, but failed.  Ex-eBayer, Adam Nash had a great eulogy and behind-the-scenes view of what happened that I recommend everyone read to see his perspective.

I always likened eBay Express to diet donuts.  It just isn’t an extension and you are admitting that, well, if you have an eBay express, that makes eBay – what- eBay slow and poky?  There were other problems too that Adam details, like they didn’t send it any traffic and small things like that.  Also the way the inventory worked was all jacked-up, it was a sub-set of fixed-price items on eBay (what?!).  I’ve read all of Adams thoughts on eBay Express and chatted with him before on what eBay’s doing wrong/right and many of his ideas have found their way into eBay 2.0. (BTW, eBay needs to get this guy back.)

OK, it’s hard not to find that last line flattering.

Scot’s post is fairly long and detailed, and while I don’t agree with everything in the article, I did find all the talk of “New Coke” amusing in one sense.  You see, Malcom Gladwell’s book Blink had just been released when we kicked off the eBay Express concept efforts.  As a result, one of the specific guiding statements for the project was: “Don’t build New Coke.”  As I mentioned in my original post, one of our key goals for eBay Express was to NOT change the original eBay, but instead focus our efforts on a new site in order to protect what buyers & sellers loved about eBay.com.  Our analogy was, in fact, Diet Coke, which is not totally surprising given that I have an entire category for Diet Coke-related posts on this blog…

Still, the branding point around the name “eBay Express” is fair, and as I mentioned previously, branding was one of the obvious mistakes made in retrospect.

In any case, a little more snooping and I discovered that while eBay Strategies was the source of some of the new traffic, even more traffic was being sourced from the Seeking Alpha distribution of the article.  I’ve been an active reader of Seeking Alpha as an investment site for years, and I’ve noticed their recent push for sourcing content from any major blogger.  However, this is some real evidence that bloggers who leverage Seeking Alpha are likely seeing significant boosts in distribution.

I wonder if I have any posts that are Seeking Alpha worthy… I’ll have to think about experimenting with them at some point.  I’ve actually been cited in Seeking Alpha posts before, but typically with pointers to my articles on investing in Timber as an asset class

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Hey Adam,

    Yes, the SeekingAlpha platform can drive considerable traffic because it gets distributed to most of the major stock/finance sites with the symbols all pulled out and referenced. There is a tradeoff though, because they ‘recreate’ your blog and thus you don’t get the traffic directly, so if your ‘model’ depends on direct traffic it’s not the best for you. However if your goal is exposure, and getting out in the conversation, it is a total win.

    Couple of more points:
    * Yes, I think eBay needs folks like you back badly.
    * I was saying that the ebay of today is like new coke. I think you guys with EE did do the right thing and did not build a new coke, you built a coke zero, but in that case were burdened by the auction affinity with the eBay brand. That’s why I picked shopping.com as the fp brand in my ‘solve’.

    Thanks for the feedback,

    Scot

    February 24, 2009
    • Thanks, Scot. Totally agree, BTW, with the Seeking Alpha fragmentation of traffic. Notice the comment stream on the Seeking Alpha post vs. eBay Strategies. Far from ideal. I see the same thing with comment streams discussions around feed aggregators.

      On the New Coke comment, like I said, I wasn’t really critiquing your analogy as much as reminiscing about the discussions we had internally around the New Coke analogy. Memory lane & all that.

      Take care,
      Adam

      February 25, 2009

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