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Building One Of The World’s Biggest Tech Blogs From New Zealand: ReadWriteWeb Founder Richard MacManus (Part 5)

Posted on Sunday, May 2nd 2010

SM: What happened to cause that growth?

RM: The business structure is stronger now. In the past six months I have put a lot more work into making sure the business structure is solid. I brought Sean Ammirati on to replace the previous COO, and we have doubled the number of writers in the past six months. We are doing more content these days, although still not as much as TechCrunch and Mashable.

SM: One of the factors of getting blog traffic up is getting a lot more content. Is that due to organic search results?

RM: Mostly. Google is our number one referrer by far. Last time I looked, it accounted for 40% of referrer traffic. Digg and StumbleUpon are also important. Twitter has been really big for us as well. ReadWriteWeb has over 1 million followers at the moment and was put on the suggested user list. We are also seeing an increase in traffic from Facebook and other social sites. The increase in traffic is a combination of all of those things.

SM: What is your editorial strategy? What do you choose to write about?

RM: I have always kept in mind that ReadWriteWeb is a place to go to find out about what is next and to explain current trends. At the moment we have seven key trends that we are covering closely, including the real-time Web and alternate reality. My advice to other people in regards to editorial would be to have a clear focus and know what you’re writing. Knowing who you are targeting is the key.

SM: Talk about the structure of your company. You chose not to raise money, and your company is set up as a profitable organic venture. You also have several people on the team.

RM: We have seven full-time staff now, and seventeen or eighteen in total. Some of them are contractors or freelancers; most of them are writers. I am still the CEO. I have passed a lot of the business stuff over to Sean. He does most of the business development and sales. I am still making most decisions about things and keeping myself as the final decision-maker on a lot of key things. Marshall Kirkpatrick is our lead writer and is also responsible for content development, so he has the title VP of Content Development. Elyssa Pallai is our marketing manager, and she is also based in New Zealand even though she is American. That is a core management team at the moment. We have a whole bunch of writers and the webmaster.

SM: What are the expectations of your team in terms of what you are building?

RM: The expectation is that we are building a valuable niche media business, and we have a specific focus. We differentiate ourselves from TechCrunch, Mashable, and others in that we are more of an analysis type of blog.

SM: I understand the editorial focus of your story. And is the financial structure of the business such that the team buys into it? Are they part owners?

RM: Yes. The key staff have some equity in the business. I am still by far the majority shareholder. The expectation is that there will be a payoff at the end.

This segment is part 5 in the series : Building One Of The World’s Biggest Tech Blogs From New Zealand: ReadWriteWeb Founder Richard MacManus
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