Scrivs understands promotion, then he messes up…

I gave an example of over-advertising and I want to be fair and give an example of advertising that does the same thing but is done in such a way that I do not feel like I have been beaten over the head with it.

Paul Scrivens (Scrivs) has a network called 9rules. He has so many sites I no longer try to keep up with them anymore but one of my favorites is Whitespace. Let me be clear – he does the exact same thing Todd does - but Scrivs does it wisely. Let’s look at the posts on the front page - just like I did with Todd from Geek News Central.


11/4 – 9rules 2.0: What Can Be Done Better? – refers to the network
11/1 – Flock Never Stood A Chance
10/26 – The Brand – refers to the network
10/18 – Business Hours – hints to the network
10/13 – Domain Names – hints to the network
10/10 – Fear Is A Good Thing – refers to the network
10/7 – Boom 2.01 – refers to the network
10/6 – Archiving the Future
10/5 – Templates and Branding – refers to the network
10/3 – Boom 2.0 – refers to the network
9/30 – Want to work at Facebook? – refers to a site in the network
9/28 – Ideas Are Cheap, Execution Is Expensive – refers to the network
9-26 – 80/20 And Design Blogs – refers to the network
9/23 – Codename: Scrivs Net (repost) – refers to the network
9/21 – Design Sacrifices
9/20 – Handcoding -
9/19 – Elements of Web Design: Audience – refers to a site in the network

Total posts – 17
Total posts with no referrals posts – 4
Total ad posts – 13
Scrivs posts – 17

So I bet you are wondering what the heck is going on right? The difference, Scrivs talks his network/projects the way I wished Todd would - blended in nicely written articles I can learn something from. Let’s take a random one as an example: Boom 2.01. The post starts asking a very good question:

We are at a point where everyone has an idea that they feel will succeed and earn them a significant amount of money. However, what’s the gameplan if that doesn’t happen? Impossible right? Any idea can work in this type of environment and that’s why everyone starts a blog network. If WIN can be bought then surely anyone who decides to launch a network with over 10 sites will have a chance to be bought…

Yes, he talks about this networks but he is giving an inside look at the logic he used in forming the concept for the network. Now look at the comments for the post. There are not many but they are all thoughtful, well-formed responses.

Go back to the front page – see the big numbers to the right of each post? The number indicates how many people posted comments. He is receiving very nice interaction on his site (yes, I am jealous). He talks about his projects but he has found balance where everyone benefits. A little of bit of humor, a lot of information and a little of bit of advertising=nice balance for his audience and his network. He even does something many people detest (including me). He does not have full feeds but each entry in my feed explains why:

[[[ Due to scrapers I had to remove full entry feeds from the site. Sorry everyone, I hate reading my site as much as you do. ]]]

So each person who reads the entire article has to go to site to do it, where the bulk of the promoting is. His feed gives me enough content that I can make an informed decision on whether or not I want to read the entire article. Once I get to the site I am not bombarded with ads, the ads are strategically placed but not overwhelming. The key point - Scrivs usually does the bulk of his talk about his network in the article, so unless I read the article on his site, I do not see it at all.

But all is not rosy with Scrivs (ha! Scrivs – you wish). He does something that puzzles me (ok a lot of things), and I am not the only one curious. Take a look at Time for Round 3. In the comments at least three people ask what 9rules is looking for. The request is reasonable – why work on priming a site (and he gives the wise advice to do so) if these sites have no chance of getting accepted? Scrivs does not answer (but he addresses just about everything else), not even to say that 9rules is not looking for anything in particular (if that is the case). That is my gripe – say something, because there are many other people pondering the same question. He does that often and it puzzles me the thought process he uses to determine which question he answers and which one he ignores, because when one does not respond, that is being ignored. It is possible he responds offline but that makes no sense because that is adding work to what must be a growing pile. Just like I never met or spoke to Todd, I’ve never met or spoke to Scrivs either so your guess is as good as mine.

Which method works better for you, Todd’s or Scrivs’? Let me know. Send me email, Skype me (or leave a voicemail at 619-822-1933), or leave me an IM or voice message on Yahoo.