Cross-postings to Danwei from this blog

This e-mail just arrived:

Hi – I recently discovered your blog and enjoy your way of doing things. However, since you’re now also posting on Danwei, I find it redundant because I follow both blogs with rss feeds. I just thought I’d let you know I’m on the verge of quitting your rss feed, as I’m sure this info is useful to you and most people who leave will probably just quit without telling you.

I’m actually a bit curious why you chose to start this arrangement with Danwei. My guess is you thought it might get you a few more subscribers from their audience? Or something else? Is it succeeding?

Dear Reader,

First, thanks for reading my postings and taking the time to write. I very much appreciate the feedback.

When I started blogging for the first time as a guest of my friend Joi Ito, I faced the same issue as I do now when blogging in French with my friend Loic Le Meur and on Danwei.

My policy then and now is to cross-post when there is something of interest to the relevant community.

For Danwei, this means China/urban life/media/advertising related issues. On Loic’s blog I tend to write about France-related issues as well as technology. During the Olympic period, there has – indeed – been heavy overlap between Danwei’s focus and that of my blog. That overlap will slack as the Olympics draw to a close.

Does blogging on Danwei drive traffic?

Posting to Danwei drives traffic moderately, but since I put up full postings, it is not excessive. What I appreciate more than traffic are the conversations that take place. That is why I like to the cross-post effect. Conversations about a topic on Loic’s blog in French are often very different from those in Danwei or on my blog.

In pure traffic terms, my blog is getting bombarded by Google searches for “Olympic P * rn”, “Olympic S x” and similar landing on this posting. (Are these hits from frustrated athletes in the Olympic Village or from fans dreaming back home?)

How did this arrangement happen?

Jeremy Goldkorn, Danwei Grand Poobah, emailed me one day to ask if I’d like to cross-post onto the site. Only interaction we’ve had since then is an occasional email helping me when I messed up formatting. I’d like to buy him a drink, but haven’t met up with him for almost half a year now.

Hope this answers your questions and convinces you not to drop either Danwei’s RSS or that of my blog!

Tom

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5 comments

  1. Thomas, since you’re cross-posting to Danwei, can I cross-post to ThomasCrampton? :)

  2. Forget the cross-posting, Elliott you will soon feature as a posting! (That video from Silicon Valley)

  3. I would be interested to hear how others feel about this issue.

    Perhaps cross-posting is different between blogs in the same language?

  4. Insider

    I’ve been watching Chinese media and blogs for about 5 years now, and I’ve observed something strange but interesting starting to happen in the past year or so. Maybe others have noticed this too?

    What I’m starting to notice is almost exactly the same stories appearing in all the more popular China blogging sites. They’re usually prefaced with a short blurb that is meant to repossess the content for the individual blog it is appearing on, but essentially the content is the same. Shanghaiist, Danwei, Thomascrampton… the one that remains most distinct to me is Imagethief, though there is some crosstalk there sometimes too.

    Why is this happening in more force than before? (if indeed it is, maybe I’m wrong in my observation?) My guess is for a few reasons:
    1. It’s the easiest way to do regular updates of content
    2. Few regular readers of these blogs have bothered to comment on it yet
    3. The China blogging community is pretty small and have gotten to know each other better over time

    So, is this a problem? Kind of. Why? Because I don’t need to have the same story fed to me from 3 different sources at the same time. I’ll just go with the one that agglomerates and mashes up the best, and zap the others from my rss reader.

    Blogging is a marketplace like any other, and if you don’t distinguish your niche and brand, there’s no reason for people to consume your particular product. Know what I’m saying? Anyone think I’m full of beans?

  5. @Insider:

    You have been watching the Chinese blogs much longer than me, so I can’t comment on the change you observe.

    A couple points I’d add, however:

    Yes, blogs do need to distinguish themselves.

    That is why when I post on thomascrampton.com I generally aim to base the postings on original material that I have created myself.

    This might be a video interview I do with someone or my own observations.

    Occasionally and especially during the Olympics, I have been doing a bit more of picking up on material from others to highlight it to readers of my blog.

    Judging from hit rates, I think both kinds of postings interest readers.

    That said, hit rates can be highly misleading since people often end up on a blog by accident. (“Hooter’s Beijing” is currently a top search term to end up on my blog. These are NOT the readers I am seeking!)

    Interested to see if others have thoughts as well…