UPDATED 12:45 EDT / JUNE 17 2009

An Industry Problem – Real Traffic? SearchMe.com "Real Traffic" is up 50% Month over Month

image It is no secret that I am a big fan of Searchme, and that CEO Randy Adams has been a big supporter of SiliconAngle.  So when I saw the Techcrunch article today on Searchme I clearly saw a a disconnect.  I have to stand up for my friend Randy.

Here is the flaw with the Techcrunch article: what Techcrunch is doing is trying to balance "inside knowledge" (which is good for accuracy) with "independent reporting".  The problem is that Techcrunch article was written without leveraging the inside knowledge of the real situation.  Instead, Techcrunch is trying to play the "we’re independent" card.

I think this isn’t the right direction for Techcrunch.  The best thing about Techcrunch is the "inside knowledge" which drives accuracy of their posts.  The audience deserves the inside story on companies –  especially the ones that work image with Techcrunch over the years.

I’ve had many sit down meetings with Searchme to understand their business.  Here is my Angle on this company and it’s announcement.  Searchme raised a boatload of money to take on a new paradigm in search – visual.  They bought traffic via advertising to expose their offering to the largest amount of audience possible. 

Then they convert that audience to "real audience" engaged users.  This is a standard tactic one that new entrants in the market use – like bloggers use and other search platforms.  Now post advertising campaign, Searchme is growing and the numbers reflect that.  The Twitter user loyalty is quite good as well.   Clearly Searchme is getting a loyal following, and they are not plummeting in "real value".

Industry Problem -Real Traffic
Here’s the rub in today’s online media business – there is a ton of ‘fake traffic" or transient traffic.  Meaning people who hit a site then quickly fly away.  This is low quality traffic.  The fact is that most sites both search and blogs get most of their traffic from search or search optimization.  The debate is how much high quality verses low quality traffic does a site have.

image Take Mahalo, a search engine that is not plummeting.  Or other sites like Mashable or Techcrunch.  They do millions of uniques a month.  How much comes from  search engine optimization?  Answer:  Tons of it.

image Sure search traffic is traffic and it’s reported by outlets measuring overall traffic, but most of it comes from search engines.  In web 2.0 environments transient traffic isn’t the highest quality traffic.

Why SearchMe is different? Flash Has No Search Optimization
Searchme has been getting real traffic.  They have almost "No" search engine optimization due to their Flash implementation (this flash issue is an entire conversation for another time).

image Searchme has stopped their advertising so the overall low quality traffic numbers are down, but yet their user growth of "real traffic" is up 50% month over month.  That’s the real story verses the "Searchme is plummeting" message on Techcrunch.

Bigger Issue Here
As advertisers change to put an emphasis on high performance audiences the sites with "real traffic" will do well.  This will force new analytics to capture a real picture of what is going on with audiences.

I think the best measure of sites like Searchme, Techcrunch, and Mashable are the engagement levels and amount ot tweeting.  On that front you can see the quality audience.  I completely discount the overall traffic numbers.  What is needed is better metrics.  Hopefully some of us entrepreneurs can solve this problem so publishers can get a "real" dollar value for their high quality audience.

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