Last week, GayCities was mentioned in Hilary Howard’s Comings and Goings column in the Sunday Travel section of the New York Times. Unsurprisingly, traffic spiked immensely and many more people were introduced to the site than ever before. Obviously, I’m thrilled at the jump in traffic and overall traffic has stayed at a much higher level since our PR campaign in June.
But what is most interesting was the quality of the traffic. On that Sunday more users submitted reviews, blog post comments and new listing submissions than any other day in our history. And it was significantly more than proportional to the traffic increase. And these reviews were thoughtful, detailed and of high quality (not the “drive by shooting” type of reviews we’ll often see from Google searchers who land on the site).
This phenomenon isn’t new. People have talked about how Yahoo! Buzz has not only outpaced Digg in terms of traffic driven to a site, but that the quality of these more mainstream users is higher: they comment more and join a more thoughtful conversation. In many ways, people in the valley think that getting “dugg” or being written about on TechCrunch is of value – and for our launch it did help quite a bit, but I’m guessing we got a lot more people that are jaded by technology and just come by for a “looksee”. Our users from the Times were much more targeted and actually passionate about travel – clearly a better fit for a travel site and a good place to target future outreach.
And one last surprise, people who work in travel actually read travel publications. We got a number of sales leads from the Times – people looking to advertise with us. From TechCrunch, we got a lot of people trying to sell stuff to us.
Has your experience been the same?
Scott – great news on your bump! I don’t think it’s surprising that someone who gets up from reading their newspaper to visit a website is more engaged than someone who clicks the latest headline from a popular news web site. The effort required is much higher and I think it reveals a much more interested user; clearly the kind who will submit reviews, post comments and become active members.
Part of the Digg, TechCrunch or Slashdot effect is exposing your wares to connectors in the social fabric. While they may not themselves be important contributors their influence is important (witness even the blog traffic generated by people reposting those stories). I think that’s why startups value that crush of traffic so much.
I think both are necessary for a startup to succeed. One drives revenue and the other drives up your Valley valuation. 😉
it could be such a big help…