Open Startup: Askablogr’s First Week

NOTE: If this is the first time you’ve read about Askablogr and want a little context, go here.

NOTE 2: If you have a Blogger or TypePad blog and want to play along with my little Open Startup project, you can see the product and get the widget here.

Now, on to the readout. My wife and I took a long weekend away last week and I’m still digging out, but here’s a quick readout on Askablogr’s progress in its first “official” week of existence.

The short version is: it’s incredibly fun to have a live-market case study to play around with, but we have a long way to go before we have a really compelling app and user experience for the problem we want to solve. The best way for us to accelerate that process is to drive more installs (hint hint).


  • 29 total member signups (both bloggers and question-askers)
  • 10 widget installs
  • 17 completed Q&A exchanges

Current traffic snapshot from Google Analytics:

Early reviews:

  • “Hey, I just set it up – it’s great! Thanks for letting me know about it. Do you mind if I recommend it to other bloggers I know, or is it still in test mode? I think that the question and answer thing would work well for my fellow fashion bloggers – we tend to get lots of style questions from our readers!” – Jacqueline,
  • “Hey, thanks for commenting on my site. I’ll try installing your program sometime this weekend. It sounds like a fabulous idea.” – Katana,

Early concerns:

  • The 1% (or 19%) Problem: Most blog readers are reluctant raise their hand, whether it’s to leave a comment or ask a question. If (as Brad Feld has posited), the active commenter group is the next 19% of blog content creators (after the 1% that maintain the blogs to begin with), we’ll need a ton of installs to drive any kind of meaningful comment velocity through the site.
  • Attack of the Splogs: I’m learning that a lot of early adopter activity in the blog widget space is driven by SEO hounds whose only goal for the blogs they create is to turn a buck as opposed to developing and nurturing a dedicated reader base. It’s not going to be hard to thwart this kind of activity, but it’s going to take resources away from more important user-focused work on the product, and that’s a bummer.

I have more stats and experience notes to share, but that should give you a flavor for where we are so far. As always, comments and feedback aren’t just welcome, they’re what I need the most, so bring ’em on.