Open Startup: Askablogr Stats Update

Yesterday was Askablogr’s 1-month birthday, and in keeping with my “Open Startup” promise, here’s a little stats update.

Last week was a great week for the site. I got distracted by real life in early February and stopped fanning the Askablogr flames for a while, with predictable results. But then Craig shipped WordPress support, which motivated me to reach out to a list of my favorite bloggers for feedback. That kicked off a wave of installs, which helped bring the product to John Cook’s attention, driving another wave of interest (plus some hilariously snarky comments from local cube-dwellers). Key stats for the 1-month period below:

For those with an interest, here’s a little extra color commentary to go with the stats above:

  • Product Progress: Beyond shipping WordPress support, most of our dev effort in the period was devoted to squashing bugs and cleaning up the user registration process (still some ways to go here). We also: enhanced the member profile to include better control over your registered blog(s); added an “Ask Me a Question” button to the member profile pages to try to increase ‘question liquidity’ on the site; and tweaked the nav to include header links on every page.
  • Customer Engagement: It’s hard to pick apart exactly why (e.g., what’s due to PR vs. outreach vs. referrals vs. organics), but we’re starting to see an uptick in “unsolicited” installs (including our first international pickup, from a Russian blogger). That said, we haven’t seen as much reader engagement (in the form of reader-initiated questions) as I’d like to see. Some of this is just the nature of readers vs. writers (Brad Feld’s 80-19-1 ratio sticks in my head), but Craig and I are also talking about ways to remove friction in the ask process (more on that soon).
  • Marketing: As the stats above reinforce, nothing happens in the early days of a product or idea that the team doesn’t make happen. Per the note above, we’re starting to see a little bit of unprompted engagement (and the product is designed to accelerate this), but I’ve realized that I need to spend a little more time on Askablogr if I want it to have a shot at large-scale adoption.
  • Competition: Thanks to our slightly raised profile, we discovered a new ‘competitor’ this past week called Qwizzy. I found them by following the thread of a new signup on the site, and then got a sense for how close a competitor they thought we were when they were the first to comment on John Cook’s piece. (Brief aside: it’s funny how people reveal themselves by their actions. I had a nice exchange with another ‘competitor’ via Askablogr, Lance Weatherby, co-founder and President of Skribit, but my outreach to Adam Ostrow of Qwizzy was met with silence, unless you count anonymous comments as a form of conversation). Based on a quick scan it looks like our three ideas are different enough that the market will be able to choose what it wants without us having to piss on each other’s ideas, but (I remind myself) you can’t control other’s actions, you can only control how you choose to respond…

All for now – comments encouraged (even anonymous ones…)


  1. Lance


    It’s always been my belief that knowing your market means knowing not only your customers but the other folks that are engaged in your space. You never know when it might make sense to work together with a “competitor” to capture a larger piece of the pie or just gain a better mutual understanding of what is going on in the marketplace.

  2. Ben R

    Chris – I’m concerned your outing of the qwizzy co-founder on Cook’s blog is a violation of your prolicy policy. You might want to edit your post(s).

    PS – if you are encouraging anonymous comments, you may want to enable it. Your current comment form says “This blog does not allow anonymous comments” 🙂

  3. Chris DeVore

    Thanks for airing your privacy concern, Ben. I obviously don’t have any way of knowing who really put the Qwizzy note on John’s blog, but Adam’s Askablogr signup is right out there for anyone to see (that’s the whole point of the AB member directory – so you can easily find the blogs of people who join). I was just applying a little deductive reasoning…

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