Retrospective (part two)

Yesterday and today, I'm looking at the ten most widely read posts appearing on the Magellan blog in 2013. Today's list presents the top five.

The fifth most heavily trafficked post was "Price times units sold: Maximizing publishing revenues across digital formats". In it, I took issue with a New York Times report that claimed moves by Amazon to lower discounts on certain types of books were either bad or in some way unfair.

The fourth most widely read post, "Saving Time Inc.: Six ideas to keep the ship afloat", followed a month in which the magazine publisher laid off 500 staff, tried to negotiate a partial sale to competitor Meredith Publishing and then announced that it would be spun off from TimeWarner, its parent. By year's end, at least one of the ideas had been implemented (no claim is made as to my role in spurring such a change).

Coming in third: "Exit strategies: Why Amazon buying Goodreads matters so much". I don't normally follow the news as closely as I did with this post, which went up barely a week after Amazon's acquisition of Goodreads had been announced. The themes developed here returned later in 2013, when I examined publishing's lackadaisical support for firms trying to innovate in our industry.

The second most-read post, "The impact of piracy", dates back to 2009. It has consistently been near the top of the traffic heap, perhaps a reflection of interest in the topic. The title phrase also is one people seem to frequently search, driving up traffic along the way.

Finally, the most widely viewed post is "Wrecking ball", my admittedly pointed reaction to O'Reilly Media's decision to close its Tools of Change practice area. The move caught a lot of people by surprise; the post evaluates the company's announcement in terms of a presentation its founder gave at what turned out to be the franchise's final event (there is a musical note at the end of this post).

While top-ten lists don't necessarily tell a story other than "these posts got a lot of traffic", it interests me to see that four of the ten posts are more than 1,000 words long; three of those run more than 3,500 words. Three others ("Burn your own house down", "Price times units sold", and "Exit strategies") offer strong arguments against conducting business as usual.

Tomorrow I'll look at the year in full. In the interim, if you see a pattern I've missed in these ten posts, I'm all ears.

A musical note: "Wrecking ball" is the title of a 2012 album and song by Bruce Springsteen. Its lyrics in part are "Yeah we know that come tomorrow, none of this will be here/So hold tight to your anger/Hold tight to your anger/Hold tight to your anger, and don't fall to your fear". The post it describes is angry, in ways that some people would probably say are bad for business. But we were sold community by a company whose interests diverged. Outcomes matter. "When your best hopes and desires/Are scattered to the wind" deserves more than a press release.

About Brian O'Leary

Founder and principal of Magellan Media Consulting, Brian O’Leary helps enterprises with media and publishing components capitalize on the power of content. A veteran of more than 30 years in the publishing industry and a prolific content producer himself, Brian leverages the breadth and depth of his experience to deliver innovative content solutions.

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