Category Archives: new media

Millions and Millions of Eyeballs, And Everywhere A Niche

The other day in New York it was raining out. Hard.

Not like the annoying drizzles I’m used to experiencing in North Carolina.

This was a legit downpour.

Soaked, cold and clammy, I walked to the corner of 1st Avenue and 14th Street and entered the subway to get uptown.

Disclaimer: If you were the person I bumped into while walking down the stairs into the subway, I’m sorry. I had my headphones blasting and whatever curses you yelled my way I didn’t catch. My b.

Boarding the L train to 8th avenue, I sat down on one of the yellow seats and took a look around the train…

Stop.

Right there on that L train was a perfect snapshot of New York City.

There were children as young as 10 and adults as old as 70.

There were white people, black people, and Asian people.

There were people who were well-off, people who could be considered poor, and people in between.

But it wasn’t the differences in the people that I noted; it was the similarities.

In the hands of many on that train were smartphones of every kind (iPhones, Blackberrys, Android), gaming devices (PSPs, Nintendo DS’, iTouches), tablets and laptops.

And from what I could tell, each and every person was doing their own little thing, encased in their own little connected world.

Of course I had known our society was so connected. I read about it all the time on blogs such as TechCrunch and Mashable, and at Duke it seems like every student, professor, and employee has a smartphone or some connected device.

But those are my own little connected worlds and I guess it was enlightening to see everyday people using the same devices I was.

As I sat there on the metro, my thoughts (as they are wont to do) began whizzing, wondering, and whirling.

You know when some things don’t truly sink in until you see them or experience them for yourself?

Well that’s what happened to me on a dreary Monday evening in a NYC subway.

For the past four months, I’ve been reading up on thought leaders (like Seth Godin) in the online space who talk about finding a niche and then dominating it.

But I’ve always been like Screw that! I wanna rule the world!

Yet sitting there, cold and clammy on the metro, I realized how wise that advice is.

As I sat there, cold and clammy on the metro, my brain began multiplying the number of eyeballs glued to connected devices, times the number of trains running in NYC daily, times the number of trains running daily in metropolitan areas across the country, times the number of trains running daily all around the world.

My eyes widened.

Ohhh s**t! That’s a lot of eyeballs!!

Then I realized that I could find a niche, and still have potentially millions of eyeballs to attract to my blog or website.

Let’s say that I really love the game Farmville, (which I don’t) so I start a blog all about Farmville. I provide commentary on new add-ons to the game, in-game purchases, I provide FAQs and How-To guides, so on and so forth.

That might not sound like a viable niche for me to dominate.

Except when you consider that over 30 million people play Farmville.

Daily.

Obviously smarter people than I have realized this and capitalized.

Look at AllFacebook. All they talk about is Facebook. All the time.

Granted Facebook is huge (600 million and counting), but it just goes to show that you can be a niche site and still have a readership of millions.

So from now on, I’m going to be looking for those little nooks and crannies that I can squeeze my brain into and hope I can attract millions of eyeballs.

Are you thinking of or are already dominating a niche? If so, share your thoughts in the comments below.
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Does AOL Represent the Future of Media?

I’m sure the news that AOL had purchased the Huffington Post rocked your world yesterday morning – at least it did mine. I remember seeing a tweet that read something like, “AOL seals the deal with HuffPo during the Superbowl!!!”

What deal??? I remembered thinking to myself, my mouth watering at the prospect of some breaking news. And so greedily I clicked on the link, which took me a Ben Parr Mashable article with a headline that read, “AOL’s $315 Million Bet: ‘The Huffington Post’ Will Make It Relevant Again“.

I was stunned.

For a voracious content consumer such as I, the Huffington Post was the greatest thing since sliced bread -sometimes it features exceptional editorial content, often it aggregates exceptional news and opinion, more often than not it has content farm-like articles, and the community discussions are always lively and engaging.

So when I read the first two paragraphs of the Mashable article, I moaned, but AOL is a dying company (emphasis on the dying), and now they’re gonna drag HuffPo down with them!!! Just look at what they did to Bebo!

But a few deep breaths and a couple opinion pieces later, I actually think AOL’s buyout of the Huffington Post will be a good thing.

Here’s why:

AOL now has two big blog networks with massive reach and influence.

It’s a wonder that AOL has been able to survive this long given that 80% of its revenues are still based on dial-up subscribers. (Who still uses dial-up?) As broadband access has become cheaper and faster, AOL has increasingly been looking at content companies to drive revenue and growth. With the acquisitions of both TechCrunch and the Huffington Post, AOL has laid the groundwork to become a far-reaching new media empire.

Although both TechCrunch and the Huffington Post can be considered niche sites, both websites attract over 43 millions of visitors each month: TechCrunch averages 3.8 million monthly visitors, and the Huffington Post averages 40 million.

Content instead of Technology is definitely the way to go.

I wrote a blog post yesterday on how important content creation is and why there is so much money in it. The Huffington Post has been criticized in the past for aggregating articles from around the web or writing articles based off Google searches, but that doesn’t seem to a trend that will go away soon.

Look at a content-farm company like Demand Media, which despite the news that Google was developing a new algorithm that would negatively impact content farms,  was still able to IPO for $1.5 billion.

People clearly have an unquenchable thirst for this type of content, and as long there is demand, companies would be wise to supply it.

Arianna Huffington will be in charge of the newly created Huffington Post Media Group.

Arianna Huffington was able to turn what started out as a side hobby in 2005 into a website that attracts millions of visitors and brings in millions of dollars in revenue. So I think that she has the credentials to really spearhead AOL’s step into the future of media.

The Huffington Post will combine all of AOL’s content companies, including TechCrunch, the Huffington Post, local news service Patch, and much more.

Huffington had been planning to expand both its local and global coverage, and now with the backing and resources of AOL, she should be able to do so. If there’s anyone capable of leading the Huffington Post Media Group into the future, it would be her.

 

What do you think of AOL’s purchase of the Huffington Post? Share your thoughts below.