An open letter to Darren Rowse,
We have read and followed your posts for a while and value and learn from your input. Thanks for taking the time to take a look at us.
I read a book years ago (Adaptive Enterprise) and in it, was a concept that really stuck with me. It was something like this:
In the old economy, you "Make and Sell" - meaning, you spent tons of time in the design and production and then once you have that, you produce tons of it very efficiently and sell it into the market place.
In the new economy, you "Sense and Respond". meaning you get your product out, get a few users using it, get feedback on what is valued and what isn't, you modify your product, get more feedback, and continue to wash, rinse, and repeat.
In a nutshell:
Instead of focusing on operational excellence to efficiently make and sell products and services that customers were predicted to want, an adaptive enterprise must be designed to sense and respond effectively to what is actually happening.
So, we are listening and trying to sense what the market is telling us and we are ready to respond. Your voice is a voice we trust, so your feedback will be given more weight.
Your feedback on helping our readers be able to identify the blog topic in that first instant is incredibly valuable. We hear your feedback and we will implement that suggestion.
In regards to our "empty blogs".
We debated about launching blogs without writers. We know others disagree because they think it looks unprofessional or it is one of their cardinal rules. We also didn't want to appear to be bigger than we really are (we clearly mark all of our inactive blogs as needing writers). But we decided that the benefits were worth it. As of this moment, we have 25 active blogs, with 20 authors and 35 "empty blogs". Thirty-five is more empty blogs than we want to see, but you caught us right as we are setting up many of these new blogs for new writers we already have in our system who will begin posting in the next 2 weeks. We currently have 20 writers in process that will fill 20 of these 35 empty blogs.
So, what are the benefits?
1. Recruiting. We have found that these empty blogs have generated significant interest in new writers. In most cases, we have been able to match a writer with a blog topic we have already identified. But in other cases, we find a writer who has such expertise in her area, that we create a new blog just for her. A case in point is Michelle Dunn. She contacted us about writing about a new topic we didn't have listed - information about Business Credit issues and policies. When we looked at the depth of her experience, we knew we had to create a specific blog for this niche topic, which we did in BizCreditPolicy.com.
2. Linking. Let me make it clear, so I am loud enough so Matt Cutts can hear me. Our primary purpose for putting a handful of empty blogs is for recruiting. We do acknowledge that there is some benefit from starting to build some links and to allow our sites to gain some maturity in case there is any validity to the whole mythical sandbox.
3. The perception that we are not yet finished or complete. We want to appear that we are still growing (maybe not to the extent that we appear to be a "ghost town"). But we want to project the image that we have the expectation to continue to add new very focused niches.
We have tried to be really clear on our network list at which blogs are still needing writers. We always plan to have 10 or 15 empty blogs out there. We think it stimulates interest and helps in recruiting. In the future, as we get more active blogs, it will not appear to be so much of a ghost town.
Darren, we are the hungry Grasshopper, learning at the feet of Masters, like yourself, hoping someday to be able to snatch the pebble out of the hand of the Master. Teach us o wise one and we will listen!
Truth is blinding. It illuminates the darkness. It eclipses stealth. It reveals the lies that appear to us as reality -
Kwai Chang Caine - Kung Fu - The TV show