Interview W/ MyBlogLog CEO Scott Rafer
By Lee Odden
Article Date: 2007-02-01
MyBlogLog has been taking the blogosphere by storm the past few months, even before the acquisition by Yahoo.
However, MyBlogLog is not a recent phenomena, it started out as a blog statistics service by Eric Marcoullier and Todd Sampson in March of 2005.
I'm a fan of MyBlogLog (TopRank Community) and despite some of the infrastructure issues related to their increased popularity, am very optimistic about what the resources brought on by Yahoo will do for the community.
In order to find out more about MyBlogLog, I contacted CEO Scott Rafer through the MyBlogLog messaging tool and he surprised me not only with a quick reply, but a yes to answering a few questions. I was rather impressed and appreciative of this considering how busy he is right now. Most people active in the blogging world will know Scott Rafer's name from having previously founded Feedster.
In this quick set of questions Scott talks about how he got involved with MyBlogLog, the acquisition by Yahoo, future enhancements, fighting spam and advice for other budding tech companies with similar aspirations.
First, can you tell us about your background and how you made the transition from Feedster to MyBlogLog? Is it true you connected with Eric via LinkedIn? What was/is your vision for MyBlogLog?
There was 6 months between Feedster (left sept 05) and MyBlogLog (joined Mar 06). They were entirely disconnected. In Jan 06, an investor pal put the idea for a distributed social net into my head. I couldn't get it out.
As I was trawling around the net over the next few weeks, I kept running across MBL's click-tags. "AH HA!" It occurred to me how they did what they did, and I reached out to Eric via LinkedIn - we had Sean Bonner of metroblogging in common. I called him up; he got Todd on the phone; and I said, "Do you know what else you can do with that?" They quite reasonably said," Who are you?".
It all cascaded from there.
Offering the Feedster 500 a free MyBlogLog pro account was a clever marketing move. What kinds of marketing and promotion tactics were most successful?
The widget made us. From a non-automated perspective, commenting on other people's blogs relentlessly seems to be the most productive thing.
How many people have signed up so far?
A bit over 50k have profiles.
What rate per month?
The acceleration with Yahoo makes that tough to track. We grow at about 2% a day on average.
How did the acquisition come about?
We started chatting with happy next of Mybloglog users at Yahoo Search Marketing, and then BradleyH got excited at the Web 2.0 Conference.
Now that you're part of the Yahoo! family, will things change?
More resources, great brand, and more process. A huge net gain. The details are tough to figure out so soon.
I understand MyBloglog Will be part of the Yahoo Developer Network. Does that mean MBL will integrate with any other Yahoo social media services?
We've pulled in Flickr pix and will do all we can to keep integrating. Check out kentbrewster.com for a Del.icio.us prototype widget. He blogged about it. We're running hither and yon in the company, where people have been incredibly welcoming, to offer information and our help.
Are there any infrastructure updates in store? MBL is a bit slow at times.
The widget's was sucking wind over the weekend but we seem to have fixed that now. Yahoo ops guys are getting all set up to bring us on to their servers soon. From there, we should be in great shape.
What efforts are you making to keep spam out of MBL?
One doesn't share the details of these things in order to avoid road mapping for that crowd. However, we are continually active trying to remove the incentives to spam without ruining the system for more sincere users. It's a battle of inches that never ends.
Are there any feature enhancements planned that you can share?
Private label communities like community.techcrunch.com for everyone as soon as we can.
Any advice for other virtual companies with a cool idea that want to get purchased by Yahoo for millions?
Per Ed Sim and Josh Kopelman, companies are bought not sold. it's darn inconvenient, but true.
For more info on MyBlogLog, check out the Techcrunch profiles here, this post by Om Malik about the night the sell decision was made, these cool MyBlogLog tools from SoloSEO and Search Engine Journal's great post about what the acquisition means for MBL and Yahoo.
About the Author:
Lee Odden is CEO of TopRank Online Marketing, a digital marketing and public relations firm in Minnesota that specializes in search, social and online PR consulting and training for companies worldwide. Odden has been cited for his internet marketing expertise over the past 10 years by the Economist, Forbes and U.S. News and contributed a chapter to the book, "Online Marketing Heroes" published by Wiley. For the past 5 years he has also been the editor of TopRank's Online Marketing Blog, a Technorati 100 favorite blog and one of the top marketing blogs according to Advertising Age.