I’ve always believed that the funny thing about success is how easy it is to replicate once you already have it. Pixelotto from Alex Tew is the perfect example of this. I was obscenely jealous of Chicbabes, but I was more jealous that now that project had been a success pretty much anything he tried next would achieve some degree of success. Pixelotto was a really bad idea, I made my thoughts on it clear here. But it still earnt him a cool $140k in a week. Not a bad little earner, for a bad idea. His brand (as long as his next idea isnt as shit and he protects it) is worth more than the money he’s earnt from MDHP. As soon as he launches a new sites, 8000 websites right about it, he has a captive audience. Thats 7999 more than would write about one of my ventures. Success really does breeds sucess.
Another example of this happened in the t’osphere last week.
Its been an ambition of mine to have something i’ve worked on featured on Boing Boing. I thought it was a possibility with the le web happenings, or with “the hunt”, or maybe even “bring me the head” (not the sort of thing they cover but you never know). It hasnt happen yet and shows no sign of happening soon. However when I was browsing Boing Boing earlier this week I saw this post about the “kern” hoodie featured on HYA.Preshrunk had covered it (and credited HYA). For those who don’t know Preshrunk was on Boing Boing a year or so ago. So it had success, I’d of thought its comfortably the biggest tshirt site traffic wise (check the site owners Threadless street team ranking(currently second of all time) ;). Now it can repost something from HYA and its back on Boing Boing. I’d estimate a feature on Boing Boing to be worth 10,000 uniques or more (based on friends who’ve been on there). So after the initial success, you can get another 10,000 uniques and a massive profile boost (and the completion of one of my mini-ambitions) by reposting something covered from another blog.
That discredit’s preshrunk a bit, and as the first tshirt blog that I know of (started 2004) it did the hard work for well over a year and a half posting cool tshirts. Its first Boing Boing feature was thoroughly deserved. I’m not bashing preshrunk in anyway, merely using it as an example of what I think is a tipping point that happens amongst popular sites. After reaching this tipping point it becomes far easier to stay successful.
Here is my take on the evolution of a t-shirt blog (I think this applies to lots of other different types of blog/site though):
1) Start the site. You post really regularly about stuff you love
2) Promote your site heavily amongst other blogs (commenting regularly, pimping on Threadless)
3) Your traffic increases, you start to recieve mails and compliments. This spurs you on more and more. I can still remember the day the first person used the contact from on HipHipUK
4) As your traffic increases, interest in your blog increases. Now you’ll recieve mails from companies wanting you to feature them.
This is the first key difference. Before you had to waste hours finding new content, writing reviews and publicising your blog. Now people send you content, and often pre-written write ups.
5) You too many of these mails to feature them all. People that want to get on your blog get creative. The freebie is born. Now you can, if you wish, recieve more freebies than you know what to do with.
6) Freebies dont work anymore, you have too many slogan tees now. Sending a freebie is no longer a way to guarantee a feature.
7) People get creative. Now you’ll get discount codes, special affilate links, and requests to host advertising on your site.
8) You now have the credibility (traffic) to warrant exclusive content. So you’ll be mailed exclusives to feature. Exclusive content drives the most traffic, now you can have it for free. Go Ape or Enclothe have new shirts? You can be the one to feature them first.
9) Your the leader of the pack, the authority figure. You shape more than report your field of interest.
10) I don’t know, I’m not there. Presumably you sell out or get bored, the cycle of coolness moves on and you drop back a few places.
Moving back to the success thing, its not just helping when launching new ventures, with the continuation of old ones. Assuming you’ve recieved some level of success you can pick things back up (as preshrunk has done after a long hiatus) and get back to where you were relatively quickly.
What does everyone reckon?