Open Startup: Askablogr’s 3-Month Birthday

Askablogr turned 3 months old on the 18th, but I’ve been distracted by a few other projects recently so am coming to this report a few days late (for clarity, the stats to the right are from March 18-April 18).

One thing I promised to do after our Mashable writeup was to read out again when traffic had stabilized. The data is still a little noisy, but it looks like our new daily visit average is roughly double what it was pre-coverage, currently ranging between 50 and 100 visits a day.

A few other post-writeup stats: we now have 437 registered members who have completed 646 Q&A exchanges via the application. Not sure if anyone pays attention to Alexa scores any more, but our 3-month average now sits at 264,897, with the 1-week average a little higher at 209,419.

Now on to the birthday assessment:

  • Headline: We still haven’t found our niche (assuming there is one). We have a handful of members who are generating decent organic Q&A flow, and we’re trying to learn what we can from those small wins (for details, see the leaderboard and/or read on to the next point) but most installs are pretty quiet after the first few days, and too many signups are coming from link hunters with no real interest in the application (we’ll be disappointing them shortly, but that’s for another post).
  • “Ideal” Member Profile: From the limited information we have, we’re developing a better sense of the “best case” member signup. Broadly speaking, Askablogr is most useful to the ‘sought-after expert’, someone who readers turn to for advice, and for whom giving advice is both a pleasure and a part of their daily role. Here are three examples from very different domains: Andrew Chen is an expert on the dynamics of social applications, and investors and entrepreneurs in that space often seek his views; Rick Suarez (a.k.a., Spoon) is a passionate World of Warcraft player who offers tips and hacks to the WoW community; and Alan Macomber is a clothing retailer who supports both consumers and wholesale customers through his blog.

    In each case, the answer to the typical reader question for these bloggers is useful & interesting not just to that reader, but to the broader reader population as well. Now we just need an efficient way to reach out to “advice” bloggers across a range of verticals…

  • New Features: Our pace has slowed considerably since both Craig and I got swamped by other projects, but we tackled a few big items a couple of weeks ago, and just yesterday we knocked down one more of Andrew Chen’s suggestions:
  • “Would be nice to be able to ‘Answer offline’ or ‘Answer privately’ so that the reader can get their question answered, but without me publishing. I’d say that’s responsible for a large large % of the questions I end up declining… Might even be OK to put on Askblogr, I just dont want to put it on my blog ;-)”

    As of today, this option now exists as a checkbox on the answer form. Per Andrew’s suggestion, these “No Post” Q&A are still available on Askablogr, but are not inserted as inline posts on the member’s blog.

  • What’s Next: After he shipped today’s release, Craig emailed me to ask what was the next most important item on the list and I didn’t have a good answer for him. While there are always little improvements we could make, at the moment I think we’re gated more by the lack of an effective distribution strategy than any gaping hole in the product itself.

    I need to give this problem some fresh cycles as soon as I can carve out some time, but I’m always open to suggestions. If you have a good idea for where to take Askablogr next, just fire away.