Monday, February 25, 2008

Kingdom 2.0

Last week was my "links" week. Lots of brilliant perspectives on linking to others on the net as a tremendous source of derivative value.

- Scott Karp started me off, with "
Reinventing journalism on the web...".
- Then, sometime mid-week, I ran into
Chartreuse and why Paris Hilton is famous. I thought this one was particularly brilliant.
- And then, Scott again topped off my reading this morning with how
Link Journalism could have transformed the NYTimes reporting on McCain ethics.

Somewhere in there, there was the whole "
TechCrunch Effect" thing going on w/ BubbleGen. The big question asked was if TechCrunch has peaked, given its recent downturn. I mean, they've gone through their highs and lows like everyone else, but the point that Umair Haque was making was that perhaps they're getting normalized.

I thought it was a valid question, but perhaps there needed to be more questioning along the lines of not just what TechCrunch could be doing right/wrong, but also about competitive dynamics vis-a-vis Mashable, Digg, ReadWriteWeb, and the gaining popularity of lesser traffic, but arguably better quality blogs like Sramana Mitra's.

Here's what I was thinking through all of this:

a) You need to know why you have a community to begin with. And it might be different from what you originally envisaged the community to be.

b) The more niche your community, the more loyal your audiences. To me, TechCrunch needs to evolve not based on localizing their geographical markets(, but by verticalizing their niche audiences(startups, venture capital, social networking, applications, etc.)

c) The stronger and relevant your niche associations(links to related content, for example), the more your loyal audiences keep coming back to you. You're giving them the content they
want, and the perspective they need.

I think this last bit is particularly important:

-- Your users don't NEED your content...they WANT it (because there are plenty other places they could get the same/similar content from).

-- Your users don't WANT your perspective...they NEED it (because you're their knowledgeable resource for rich information about their niche interests).

So what's the message? I have none..yet. But I'm going to give this some more thought over the next few days and see what floats.

I guess I'm a little tired of hearing that whole "content is king" line. Apparently, content ain't king any more.

So who's king? Or do democracies work better without a king?


Shiva said...

I kind of agree with going by niches that geographical segmentation, but do you think its more based on their keeness to moderate or concentrate better in delivering to geo-areas? May be they should go based on niche areas and have filtering mechanisms that includes location apart from categories.

preetam said...

That's a good thought, actually.

some folks could even go for a geo >> niche method (because not all niches may be applicable to all geo-targets)


TC could go for a niche >> geo method (as you just mentioned, because in their case, niches do apply universally...).

Either way, they need to do something about making their content more accessible, better organized, etc.