TechCrunch and Mashable: Promenade and masquerade

Good post to write for a Web 2.0-the-gold-is-somewhere-around-here-let-me-sell-you-a-pick-ax Friday.

In past posts, I’ve alluded to some of the value of sites like Mashable and TechCrunch beyond the US Weekly-for-tech-fever.

If anything these sites are even gaining more influence (see graph)

(I through in Valleywag for good measure.)

TechCrunch and Mashable, through the depth and velocity of their coverage, provide a fairly good sounding board for companies looking to acquire talent. If I want to work at a company with buzz, I can just go to either of these sites and scroll through the non-distinct list of sites and generally get a sense of something as a developer that might amuse or even challenge me to code.

However, from the perspective as someone who is frequently consulted, these sites provide a fair bit of disservice to the business side of the equation (investor, start-up CEO, etc.), yet are consistently heralded by the same folks.

Here are some things to consider when distributing or vying for space on these rags:

– If you are looking for a way to “build traffic” to your site, TechCrunch/Mashable are not the ways to do it. The sampling size of traffic that goes there is extremely tech savvy, (i.e.not the audience that Google built their business on)

– If you are company looking to shoehorn your way into a vertical or market by way of a unique feature, your unique feature set just got exposed, probably to most of your competitors. In terms of TechCrunch, they’ll list your competitors on the same post as the one they write about you.

– Your customer service level (through your Contact Us email or fielding calls from any modicum of folks that merely want to sell you a service) probably just increased and disrupted your focus.

– And, not finally, because of the velocity and frequency of coverage of these blogs, brand awareness generated here can be shortlived

Each day I field questions regarding online marketing strategy with someone that says, “Well, shouldn’t I really do blog marketing and try to get on TechCrunch.”

I answer with the following questions:

“Do you already know your metrics?”
“What is your goal of distributing your consumer technology to a tech industry blog?” (Hopefully, the answer is acquire funding or engineers)
“Are you ready for all your competitors to reverse engineer your product for each key feature set and to review the pedigree of your management team?”

If the answer is yes, we know our metrics, we are scaling nicely and we need resources (money or people), then by all means do the pr dance with these blogs. If not, wait on that until it can bring you more value than thrill of seeing your company’s name in lights.

More commentary on this:

From tech luminary Josh Kopelman


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