What I've been up to the past couple weeks
As I mentioned a couple weeks ago, I started a new property called StreetReviewer
. The day that Google released Street View, I knew that there was an opportunity to attract some eyeballs by collecting interesting views. No great burst of insight there. Day 1 I decided there was no great rush, and went to watch friends sing karaoke. Day 2 I purchased a domain name, but worked on a property I had started a couple of days prior, Overheard In Sacramento
, waiting for the DNS changes to propagate.
By day 3 I had lost first-mover advantage to several similar websites, including first-on-the-scene StreetViewr. And by "lost first-mover advantage" I mean "had my ass handed to me." Hell, I didn't even have a web 2.0-compatible domain name.
While StreetViewr was racking up tens of thousands of links/mentions on Google, I was alternating my time between adding content to my website and whoring it out via comments to blog postings that mentioned the rival. And all the links/mentions I earned on Google where those I created myself.
I clearly had the better feature set - thumbnails, comments enabled, search by category, browse by date, some hacked-together voting, even some educational content from Wikipedia. But even then the barrier to entry for a competing site would be low: the comments, categories, and browse-by-date are all "in the box" with Blogger, where the site is hosted. The thumbnails and educational content just required a few extra minutes per post, and though I hacked the voting feature together, it comes stock in some blogging software.
So I decided that I needed to transcend StreetViewr and all possible competition. That's what I've been working on the past two weeks, making little progress. I can't be explicit yet about what I'm up to.
But a couple of lessons I've learned (more later)
- First mover advantage truly is important (at first)
- Being there is more important than looking good (at first)
- You need at least two people on a project: one to create content and one to create buzz and kick-start organic growth ("buzz" = whoring the website out via blogs; "organic growth" = "buzz" has been successful and people start talking about your website on blogs without provocation)
That I hadn't known this before certainly reflects a certain naïveté - thankfully I'm a quick study.