For content producers across the Internet, pageviews are the king when it comes to monetization. While there are loads of ways (beyond the not-so-simple act of having good content) to keep things moving up, new ones are coming out every day. About 10 months ago, a site called Scribol launched, and it’s hoping to change the way that producers think about how traffic flow works.
On the macro scale of things, Scribol works much like a name with which you might already be familiar – Outbrain. By providing a widget, with links, it shows other stories which might be of interest to someone who has just read a piece of content. But where Outbrain focuses on keeping things internalized to a site and then using outside linking as a revenue model, Scribol looks to drive traffic to its own landing page which is filled with the most viral, highly-editorialized content it can find.
The idea is a bit more holistic, featuring an entire network, than being focused on keeping readers on a single site. As a site generates more high-quality content, it’s more likely to appear on the Scribol network, giving it the chance to be seen more often by those who are viewing Scribol’s landing pages.
So who’s viewing? According to CEO Chris Ingham Brooke, 26 million unique visitors driving 140 million page views each month and 7 million clicks each month across its partner sites. Oh, and it’s doing all of this on zero funding and zero revnue. The entire site is bootstrapped via Brooke’s other project Environmental Graffiti.
I asked Ingham Brooke about the potential gamble of sending traffic away from your site. In his view, it is Scribol’s vetting process that makes sure your site will get traffic in return. By working with only “high-quality outlets” and screening each of them, Ingham Brooke says that Scribol is seeing engagement rates that are well above average, with a typical user clicking on 3 or 4 stories and sometimes up to 10 in a sitting. When users are consuming that level of content, the chances of a publisher’s site being seen are exponentially higher than with typical site-to-site linking.
What’s also interesting is that the landing page is algorithm-based, enabling it to get “smarter” about what sorts of things your readers like to click on, thus enabling it to provide more focused content the longer that it is used.
When I asked about revenue, Ingham Brooke joked that “we’re going the Web 2.0 route”, meaning that thus far there is no monetization in place for the platform.
“We want to grow the network, making it truly a platform. We’re launching a set of tests with PPC ads inside the widget, monetizing the content and we’ll see what the results of this are.”
As for the bootstrapping? It’s by choice. “We’ve had plenty of offers for investment, but we’ve not taken them because we’re more interested in proving the metrics behind the business. We want to know what the cost of acquiring partners is and how do we prove how much this traffic is worth so that we can see the true potential of the business. Before we accept millions, we need to know what it’s worth.”
For content creators, it could be priceless. Scribol claims that its network of publishers is seeing an average 300% increase in high-value traffic and the team is just getting started with its long-term plans. For a bootstrapped company that started just 10 months ago, the potential is huge. Want to give it a shot for yourself? Check out the Scribol homepage and follow the link to sign up as a publisher. Or…just spread some content-consuming click love.
Now the question: How are you driving traffic and monetizing? Or are you? Want to know more about how advertising can help? We’ve deciphered the terms you need to know.