This blog has some things in common with every open source business out there. (This happy scrivener works at Chang Ruthenberg & Long, employee benefits lawyers.)
When I talk with open source entrepreneurs, they will talk about their download numbers, or their community sign-ups.
I know they’ve reached a new level of success when they share their subscription counts. When they tell me their conversion rates, I know they are doing very well indeed.
I also have metrics here, but most are subjective. Reputation, story ideas in my in-basket, calls from PR folk. Estimates of audience size. Private e-mails. These are like download numbers to me.
The numbers which pay are page views and talkback numbers. These are like subscription counts (and the latter feels like tips to a waiter). They don’t bring in as much as a subscription contract, but the bosses can turn them into money, and some of that comes back to me.
Unfortunately these seem to be a fraction of my readership numbers. If you’re reading this blog through an outside mailing list or re-posted to another site, ZDNet can’t monetize it. You’re like the downloader who didn’t buy a support subscription. (Click here and show me some love.)
So let me leave this week with some hard questions. What can we at ZDNet do to get you reading, and responding, to what we write here, instead of elsewhere? How can we get our page views and talkback numbers closer to our reputation and audience size?
How can we raise our conversion rate?
Thanks and have a great weekend.