Interesting article at MindValley Labs on Positioning, “Social Polarity” and Vibrant Blog Communities, however it only went halfway. They tell you that to build a great community, you need to take a strong position against something, then market the blog to appropriate communities taking into account the positioning.
Theoretically great, but that is quite a mouthful. No hints on how to market the blog to these communities or draw in commenters.
Me, I have always taken a direct response-ish position relative to all of this: Comments are a function of blog traffic. You probably (don’t know, never been able to test) get more comments if you get more traffic. Perez Hilton gets more than Fred Wilson who gets more than me. Does Fred Wilson have a polarizing opinion? Not really.
In an effort to give more than opinion, we crunched a little, tiny, minute iota of data. I wanted to compare Scoble and Fred Wilson, unfortunately, avc.blogs.com doesn’t show up in comScore, Quantcast, or Google AdPlanner data, so I had to eyeball with Alexa.
So Scoble and Fred Wilson get basically the same amount of traffic according to Alexa:
Here is a bunch of other data I rapidly generated.
|Uniques (Google AdPlanner)||61000||1600000||2400000|
|Page Views (AdPlanner)||162000||3500000||51000000|
|Avg posts per day||1.375||1.75||16||51|
|Avg comments per post||37.3||21.3||42.0||102.2|
|Comments per unique||0.0049||0.0008||0.0022|
|Comments per page view||0.0018||0.0004||0.0001|
|Period||July 4 – July 11||July 4 – July 11||July 10-11||11-Jul|
|Comments per post||27||4||2||22|
Not the world’s greatest data set, but at least enough for us to have something to talk about. So Perez Hilton posts a ton every day, gets a ton of visitors and gets a boatload of comments. TechCrunch posts less, gets slightly less traffic than Perez and gets significantly fewer comments per post, Scoble and Fred Wilson post a lot less, get a lot less traffic, and Scoble gets a lot fewer comments per post. But Fred WIlson gets nearly as many comments as TechCrunch!
You might also note that the smaller sites tend to get more comments per post. Maybe this indicates a more vocal, hard core audience, though my hypothesis would have been that audiences follow some bell curve-ish distribution of active vs not active readers.
A more interesting way to further this analysis would have been to break down the comments and determine how many large an audience is actually generating them, modeling the vocalness of the minority at different points.
Regardless, we can probably safely say that, given Fred and Scoble’s traffic similarities, it is not strictly traffic correlated. Furthermore, one could conclude that opinion (polarization) matters less than one might think because Scoble tends to be thought of as more polarizing than Fred Wilson.
As I say all the time, turns out there is not an obvious way to build a blog community.