Archive for November, 2006

Geographic Market

Tuesday, November 28th, 2006

I’m making pretty good progress with the UK market, we’re now approaching 1000 members and traffic (and ad revenue) is double what it was at the start of the month.

The question now is whether I just continue to focus on the UK or whether I try to seed some of the other markets. The USA market is at least 5 times the size of the UK and I also think that I lose quite a lot of sign-ups when users from outside the UK arrive at the site and find out there are no members in their own country.

On the other hand I have a seedling of a successful UK site (up from Alexa rank 2,386,556 on 19 Nov to 1,293,635 today) and if I give it care and attention it will grow into a huge success. But if I get distracted with other markets then it is likely to either fail or at least not grow as it should.

So I think that what I’ll do is continue to focus on the UK but when I have some spare moments I’ll look at the other markets. Once the UK work ups the site in the search engines I’ll probably penetrate the other markets naturally, if that’s an appropriate metaphor for an adult dating site.

Online Marketing Tools

Tuesday, November 21st, 2006

Here’s some of the tools I’m using to help me with the online marketing for Fab Swingers.

I’m tracking visitors to the site with Google Analytics and AWStats. Google Analytics uses cookies and JavaScript to track visitors while AWStats uses log file analysis. Neither method is perfect but the combination of the two works pretty well. Incidentally, you really should use the GeoIP plugin if you want accurate details of where visitors are coming from (and as a bonus it will also run a bit faster too).

Google Sitemaps and Yahoo Site Explorer are both great ways of communicating with the search engines. You can upload details of your site and you can make sure that everything is being indexed correctly.

It’s really useful to know what terms people are searching for. The Keyword Selector Tool will tell you. You’ll need to multiple the answers you get by 5 to get an approximation of all of the searches going on.

It can be hard to understand the context of searches; for example are people looking for “swingers” because they want to try group sex or because they are interested in the movie by the same name? Microsoft’s Search Funnel is a great tool for understanding what searchers are really looking for.

Finally to measure your progress and compare yourself with your competitors, the Google Toolbar will give you the PageRank of the sites you visit. The toolbar is only updated every 3 months or so won’t see changes very frequently even though you should be making progress. Alexa will give you traffic rankings, I’ve not found this tool fantastically accurate but it’s interesting.

MySpace Case Study

Monday, November 20th, 2006

I came across an interesting MySpace Case Study. It lists four factors that were key to MySpace’s success:

  • Give users more control over their MySpace pages. At the moment I’m not allowing Fab Swingers users a huge amount of control over their homepages but I’m really not sure how important this is. I think my users are more interested in other things.
  • Rapidly adapted product to desires of user base. Well I certainly hope to be able to do this. This is why I chose to write the code from scratch rather than using an off the shelf package.
  • Used combination of viral tactics, offline advertising, and online distribution partnerships to seed initial MySpace community with users. Currently I’m mainly using email and search engine marketing. I’m lucky that my competition is much weaker than MySpace’s so I’m hopeful that these tactics will work.
  • Made product and policy decisions to ensure MySpace site performance. I’ve chosen much higher performance technologies than MySpace did but it’s a good point that I will need to keep on top of performance issues as the site grows.

Alexa Traffic Rankings

Sunday, November 19th, 2006

Here’s the Alexa rankings for some of the swingers sites we’re comparing ourselves with. The numbers are the ranking averaged over 3 months, the lower the number, the more popular the site is. I’m also including the Google PageRank which is a measure of how important Google considers the site to be, highter numbers are better with the best possible being 10.

Alexa Rank PageRank Site
67 7 Adult Friend Finder
5,090 4 Swinging Heaven
14,864 5 Adult Hub/Dirty David
15,371 5 Informed Consent
17,727 5
27,639 3 Sex in the UK
29,790 3 Local Swingers
111,209 3 Swing2us
2,386,556 0 Fab Swingers

The last website I worked on I managed to get up to a PageRank of 6 in about
a year so I’d expect to do about the same with Fab Swingers.

I’ll update this table regularly.

Interesting Blog on Adult Dating

Friday, November 17th, 2006

Here’s the Adult/Casual Dating section of the Online Personals Watch blog.

There’s some interesting stats about Adult Friend Finder. According to one of the posts AFF is running at over one million registrations per month. I expect that this traffic is mainly driven by Pay Per Click advertising and their huge affiliate network, both options that are closed to Fab Swingers.

It is great to know that there are more than a million people a month who want to join a swingers community and I’m sure that once these people find out that there’s a free swingers community with pretty much the same functionality of AFF then they will come to us.

Things can only get easier

Sunday, November 5th, 2006

We are currently approaching 500 members and I think that things are getting easier. Getting the initial members to sign up was tricky because there weren’t very many people on the site - so they were unlikely to meet anyone.

However know that there’s a reasonable number of people on the site it’s become a bit more attractive. We’ve also been getting some really nice comments in our blog such as this and this.

I’m facing a bit of a conflict between doing development work on the site and marketing. At the moment I’m spending the bulk of my time on marketing; people seem to be fairly happy with the site and I think the main factor in success from here is attracting more members. In my opinion the site is already better than our main competitors.