How can my new site be more tell-a-friendable?
June 23, 2006 2:22 PM   Subscribe

How can my new site be more tell-a-friendable? I recently launched a personal ads site. When it gets a good link, memberships and traffic take off. But there's no word-of-mouth momentum and as soon as that good link disappears, things quiet back down. This may have a lot to do with the fact that telling your friends about a personal ads site can be like telling them about a new hemorrhoid treatment. What can I do to overcome this?

I'm mostly looking for ways to make sharing the site more socially acceptible, but all ideas are on the table.

(FYI, I'm not trolling for traffic here. The site was already linked in the blue a few weeks ago.)
posted by the jam to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
How have you been getting the so-called good links? I think those are your ticket to popularity.
posted by danb at 2:30 PM on June 23, 2006

I can't believe I'm suggesting this, but start a Myspace page for your site?
posted by Robot Johnny at 2:43 PM on June 23, 2006

Pay people for referrals. I realise signups are currently free, but when you start charging, you could give people a buck back for each new member they bring in, or something.

Provide something that people will want to send to their friends for some other reason. Eg. the personals sites that have those dumb surveys benefit from the surveys being forwarded around Myspace &c. Whilst I understand you don't want to become one of those sites with dumb surveys, can you think of any content that might fit the site that could help with viral marketing?
posted by nowonmai at 2:48 PM on June 23, 2006

Why don't you take out some blog ads? It isn't exactly viral, but you'll be exposing the site to more people, who might join and tell a friend who will tell a friend.
posted by necessitas at 4:02 PM on June 23, 2006

Run a Win an iPod competition.
posted by ceri richard at 4:09 PM on June 23, 2006

You're going to need to advertise. Cheap options are the classified ads on Fark, the text ads at the PopBitch message board, and the text ads at Urban Dictionary. All three seem like good places for you (although PopBitch skews very British). Do good long runs on all three and it should help you get started.
posted by Mo Nickels at 4:10 PM on June 23, 2006

I agree with Mo Nickels that you'll need to advertise, and here's why:

How many of your users do you think want to openly say to a friend: "hey, I'm on this internet personals/dating site, check it out!" ...

Most people, despite the fact that it's becoming more and more commonplace, do not want their friends, coworkers, etc to know about their online dating experiments/activities, so it really makes the tell-a-friendable factor kind of tough.
posted by twiggy at 4:27 PM on June 23, 2006

Not every site is going to get lots of word-of-mouth advertizing? Do you tell all your friends about every site you see?

I might tell a friend about site if it's really new and different and awesome. But yet another dating site? Not really. Dating sites are as useful as their membership size. If you want people to join it, you'll need to advertise it. And if you want to pay for advertising you'll need to charge people to join.

Otherwise you could try focusing on doing gorilla marketing in specific cities, or something. Frankly, I don't think you're site has much chance of success the way it is now.
posted by delmoi at 6:17 PM on June 23, 2006 [1 favorite]

As the guy that posted it to the blue, get the douchebags at BoingBoing to link to you. From there, the web-bandwagoneers will follow in promotion. Xeni will eat you up.
posted by blasdelf at 2:28 AM on June 24, 2006

What you need is something for people to look at -- blogs, for example (although that wouldn't fit your format). This is the main reason why Myspace-style 'social networking' is replacing static personals sites. In Bubble 1.0 language, they're more 'sticky' (do we have a Bubble 2.0 word for this yet?), in that people keep coming back, and that then leads to the network growing outwards.

Alternatively, uh... do something interesting. If you want people to link to you, give them something worth linking to beyond "this is a personals site". Teh nerds are always interested in analyses and views of big chunks of data, for example, and you've got a decent amount of data there. Maybe you can come up with an interesting way of displaying it?
posted by reklaw at 1:13 PM on June 24, 2006


The whole point of the site is that it is static, you don't have to constantly monkey with your goddamn profile by answering quizzes and shit.

Most of his data is in free form unmanipulatable text fields anyway. It's not supposed to have tags and shit to help people shoot themselves in the foot.
posted by blasdelf at 8:11 PM on June 24, 2006

Well, the point I'm trying to make is that static = hard to get anyone to visit. See?
posted by reklaw at 2:48 AM on June 25, 2006

Yeah, that's really the problem. If I set out to make a site that was simple and didn't require users to constantly care for and pet their profile, I can't really be too surprised when people use it as intended. Maybe it doesn't have to be quite so austere, though. Maybe a few well-chosen extra features could liven up the place.

Right now, I'm thinking about:
  • Not buddy lists, but allowing people to say nice things on friends' profiles. (Even if they themselves don't have profiles on the site.)
  • A stats page or regular report from the data in the DB. Try to dig up some interesting graphs on how people interact on a personal ads site.
  • Maybe a few (very few) surveys.
Thanks for the suggestions, everybody.
posted by the jam at 7:46 AM on June 25, 2006

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