If you just want the stats and graphs, follow this to see them below.
PROpenMic.org will celebrate six months online on October 1st.ur social network for public relations students,
Allow me to begin by thanking all of the members. So many people have helped with advice and guidance along the way. I appreciate all of your help. I also appreciate the involvement of our volunteer administrators (in no particular order): Phil Gomes, Edelman; Kelli Matthews, University of Oregon; Tiffany Derville Gallicano, University of Oregon; Mihaela Vorvoreanu, Clemson University; Karen Russell, University of Georgia; Kaye Sweetser, University of Georgia; and, Barbara Nixon, Georgia Southern University. Not only do they help with the site, but they allow me to bother them asking questions all the time. :o) I really do appreciate their contributions.
Ironically, we started on April Fool’s Day. Some people suggested there really wasn’t a need for such a site. I’ll admit that I had no idea how the site would be received. Although having thought (for a few years) about how we could create a site that truly pulled people together from around the world, I actually built and launched the site in one evening. Funny, huh?
As of this writing, PROpenMic has 2,366 members listed. They hail from well over 40 countries around the world and over 140 different colleges and universities. Further, we have practitioners from hundreds of large and small agencies all over the world. Also, you’ll find internal PR practitioners from Fortune 500 firms, state governments, nonprofits, education and much more.
I’ll write another post later about stories from PROpenMic members and how the site has helped people make connections. This post is more of a “how are we doing” in our efforts to attract an audience.
So, I thought I’d do a little research into how well we’re doing regarding traffic and compare PROpenMic’s activity to similar sites with a public relations focus. That proved to be a bit difficult, because there really isn’t any other social network site similar to PROpenMic with regard to its primary focus on PR students and faculty. So, I chose the closest examples I could find.
Below, you’ll see a comparison of PROpenMic to the following sites:
Some caveats before we begin. (Nope, I just want the numbers/graphs, please.)
These are just stats from sites that are used by others to gauge a site’s activity level. With regard to all of the stats below, we must retain perspective. Some of this is a bit of apples and oranges. The seven sites cover similar issues, but they all have a different focus with regard to who they are trying to reach and how they are going about it.
PROpenMic.org is the only nonprofit education site among the seven that never charges anything for anything. And, only two of the sites are nonprofit: PROpenMic and SNCR. :o) By that, I mean PROpenMic.org has no ads, does not require a paid subscription to view, and it is not being used to sell/market other services. So, that distinguishes PROpenMic from all six other sites. But, there really aren’t any sites similar to PROpenMic, so I chose some that I feel are at least similar in some ways. The primary similarity is, of course, all seven sites have public relations as their focus, at least in part.
OK, sorry if some of that is redundant, but I feel it is important to retain that perspective. Read the following and let me know what you think. Is this surprising, or does it make perfect sense? The traffic and participation numbers / rate for PROpenMic seem to compare well to some other public relations sites. Some of them are social networks. The others are public relations news sites.
PROpenMic.org has only been online for six months (as of October 1st). The others have been online for more than a year. Some have been online for three years to almost a decade.
- MyRagan.com is at least 18 months old.
- SNCR.org dates back to July of 2005.
- Communitelligence.com dates back to May of 2004.
- HigherEdExperts.com dates back to February of 2002.
- HolmesReport.com dates back to at least February of 2001.
- ODwyerPR.com dates back to December of 1998.
Source for those dates is the Internet Archive Wayback Machine. Please also note that some of them may not have been operating as networks. For instance, I don’t think HigherEdExperts.com has actually been in operation for more than three years in its present form.
Over 50% of PROpenMic.org’s membership are practitioners or faculty members. So, we aren’t exactly a predominately youth driven site.
That’s one of the reasons why I’m a bit surprised at how well we stack up against such sites as MyRagan, O’Dwyer’s and the Holmes Report.
- propenmic.org: 6,172
- myragan.com: 6,100
- holmesreport.com: 1,900
- odwyerpr.com: 8,593
- communitelligence.com: 3,028
- sncr.org: 8,280
- higheredexperts.com: 2,035
Rank monthly from Compete.com. Compete ranks the top one million websites in the U.S. based on the number of people the domain attracts each month. Important: The lower the number, the better your site’s ranking. For instance, Yahoo’s rank is 1. They have the most traffic of all. (See graphs of these stats below.)
- propenmic.org: 216,328
- myragan.com: 218,496
- holmesreport.com: 570,293
- odwyerpr.com: 163,953
- communitelligence.com: 391,514
- SNCR.org: 169,221
- higheredexperts.com: 539,344
- propenmic.org: 8,954
- myragan.com: 7,062
- holmesreport.com: 2,176
- odwyerpr.com: 9,963
- communitelligence.com: 3,195
- SNCR.org: 10,979
- higheredexperts.com: 2,035
- propenmic.org: 16.0
- myragan.com: 4.5
- holmesreport.com: 3.9
- odwyerpr.com: 2.5
- communitelligence.com: 1.5
- SNCR.org: 3.2
- higheredexperts.com: 8.4
The number of minutes an average visitor spends on a site during each visit. (See graphs of these stats below.)
- propenmic.org: 05:30
- myragan.com: 03:15
- holmesreport.com: 04:12
- odwyerpr.com: 02:49
- communitelligence.com: 04:08
- SNCR.org: 03:26
- higheredexperts.com: 06:36
- propenmic.org – 268,760
- myragan.com – 294,649
- holmesreport.com – 1,177,977
- odwyerpr.com – 267,961
- communitelligence.com – 924,497
- sncr.org – 404,336
- higheredexperts.com – 1,140,315
The graphs below help illustrate the results above. I had to place them at the end because they are wider than my blog’s layout allows higher up in the post. Please note, both Alexa and Compete only allow you to compare five sites at one time, so that explains the missing results for SNCR.org and HigherEdExperts.com. But, you can follow the links in the stats above and search for those sites, if you wish.
In MarketLeap.com, I searched for the links existing to the sites. Here is the resulting link popularity check table. Note: The link popularity check determines the number of links to a site found in the search engines like: Google, AOL, HotBot, Yahoo!, FAST, AltaVista. Remember, PROpenMic.org is (a) only six months old and (b) only our first page, the front page, is indexed by search engines. (The other sites listed in the table are provided by MarketLeap so you may compare your site to others with similar link totals.)
Here is one Alexa graph from searches for the sites. We are the blue line. Look, I’m not trying to be cocky here, but note how we tend to spike way above the other sites from time to time. Some of that is due to the people that share the site with others, like Peter Shankman, for example, through his Help A Reporter (HARO) emails. Peter has sent us more members than anyone else. Many thanks for that, too.
The following five graphs are representative of results from Compete.com.
We have a very respectable length of time spent on the site per visitor. Remember, this is an average. Some stay longer, some scoot away quickly. We are the blue line, and as you’ll see, we’re ahead of all others. Pretty cool, huh.
For pages per visit, we are again way above the other sites. Our users visit almost twice the number of pages than the closest other site. We’re four times ahead of others.
Our number of unique visitors is exceeded by only ODwyerPR.com.
Our traffic rank is exceeded only by ODwyerPR.com and SNCR.org, and not by much considering the relative youth of our site.
Finally, our overall visits are higher than all other sites, except ODwyerPR.com. And, we feel compelled to remind you … they are a business with actual staff, writers and budgets. ;o) They pay people. What a concept.
First, apologies for the length of the post. Second, I think this is a good example of how an idea, with no funding behind it, can serve a niche audience and compare very well to other commercial sites.
MyRagan.com, HolmesReport.com, Communitelligence.com and ODwyerPR.com are businesses. They have enormous resources behind them. They pay writers. They have IT staffs. They have, um … what’s the word? Money! :o)
MyRagan.com doesn’t charge for you to participate in their site, but it has ads (for their own products/services, like their store) and they do use email to members to market their services. Essentially, they built the site to capture an audience and market the many fee based services, seminars and more offered by Ragan Communications, like: MyRagan, MyRaganTV, Jobs and Message Boards, eNewsletters, Newsletters, eTraining and Consulting.
The Holmes Report costs $50 a month, or $295 a year, for an individual subscription.
ODwyer’s PR/Marcom costs $25 a month, or $150 a year, for an individual subscription.
Communitelligence does not charge a fee for you to participate in their site, but it does have ads and they use the site to market the many fee based services, seminars and more offered by Communitelligence Inc. You’ll see examples of their family of Web sites at that link.
Hey, I’m not faulting any of those businesses for trying to make a buck. I’m saying that you don’t have to have all of those resources – in some instances – to build a site where many people will find utility and value.
Now, SNCR.org is the Society for New Communications Research. It “is a global nonprofit 501(c)(3) think tank dedicated to the advanced study of the latest developments in new media and communications, and their effect on traditional media and business models, communications, culture and society.” And, full disclosure required, I’m a founding fellow of the organization. Bless Jennifer McClure’s heart, there isn’t much of an infrastructure behind all of her work and efforts compared to those businesses. But, look at the success the SNCR site has garnered. Again, you don’t necessarily need money to attract an audience. True, SNCR does use its site to market publications and conferences, but hardly close to the level of those other sites.
HigherEdExperts.com is the baby of Karine Joly. It, too, does not have the wealth of resources behind it in comparison to the businesses above. It is also likely one of the most niche sites of all in this list of seven. Karine has, what – maybe 20-30,000 people in the U.S. to draw from (as in Higher Education Web practitioners?). I’m probably way too high in that estimate, actually. Karine does not run ads, but does promote her own Webinars and other offerings on the site and via email.
Karine has a Web designer, a graphic designer and … well, Karine. :o) She also has a great advisory board. Oh, and lest I forget … she has her great social network participants.
OK, that wraps up my overview of where we are, how we compare to other sites and, I hope, a persuasive example of how an unfunded project (I pay for everything, so I do it for as little as I can pay) can actually bring a lot of people together for a positive purpose.
What do you think?