The Myth of Permalinks: Links (Organic Links, At Least) Are Never Set In Stone

What do sites and blogs in the long tail online really look like?

Just to paint the bigger picture, Zemanta recommends content to a wide range of online publishers. From bloggers who published their first article today to blogging veterans who have been active for over a decade to some of the largest online publishers in the world, Zemanta supports a diverse community of publishers and bloggers. These publishers actively use Zemanta for its semantically-relevant content recommendations, which help make their posts and articles more vibrant, robust, and authoritative.

People frequently ask me, what does the long tail of online publishing (sometime people used the term blogosphere) truly look like. Our perception of what sites and blogs are (and should be) is primarily influenced by a handful of the incredibly successful publishers that we read and share with our friends every day, as well as the leisurely blogs that our friends and colleagues write in their spare time. For example, the site I regularly follow is TechCrunch, now one of the leading sites for breaking news and updates for the tech industry and which started as a personal blog for Mike Arrington. On the other end of the publishing spectrum of sites I read is my friend’s wife’s blog where she regularly shares her recipes and homemade crafts.

However, this view of professional news sites and personal bloggers is quite different from what our data shows. The organic long tail of publishing is in fact much more diverse than those two stereotypes. In reality, people often try blogging by writing a couple of posts and stop there. Companies and organizations blog about trends and events in their industry, and then the person who managed that company blog leaves, and so the organization suddenly stops publishing articles. The end result is a once-prolific blog that quickly became an archive of quality content and information.

30% of sites are off-line less than a year after starting

At Zemanta, we’ve been aggregating millions of blog feeds for years, so we’re able to analyze a wealth of blogger behavior data. For example, of all new publishers and bloggers we see, about 30% of them are off-line less than a year after they launched. The reasons for this drop-off vary widely. Some bloggers may stop publishing, domains migrate elsewhere, other bloggers simply become bored or ashamed by their older posts. The biggest takeaway is that while many publishers and bloggers are in it for the long-run, others may lose interest and let their sites fall by the wayside.

Why I am writing this? Mostly to say that if your writer & blogger outreach campaign is truly organic and not pay-to-play, then looking at the results three, six or twelve months later, you may be surprised to see that a portion of the articles and posts have vanished into the vast sphere of online publishing. The organic, real world of online publishing is disorderly and chaotic. Mentions, links, inclusions will come and go.

So when thinking of campaigns to build online influence through those mentions and links be prepared to be in it for the long term as those sites you so proudly included you six months ago will likely need to be replaced with new ones.

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  • zemanta

    Hey, big sorry for the late, too late reply, we somehow totally missed this blog posts comments section! Our fault that won’t happen again!

    As for your inquiry — Zemanta works either as a plugin or as a browser extension, so it really shouldn’t be any of a problem for our Linux users, but I’m afraid it really cannot work with any other program / software, I’m afraid to say.

    Have you given it a chance afterwards? Any questions, insecurities, irregularities? Let me know, I’d love to help you out! Here’s my email address: support[at]zemanta[dot]com

    Again — sorry for the super late reply & I’m looking forward to your reply! Take care!


  • Danni Gohemi

    I have a number of blogs I started a few years ago, wrote articles monthly but then, fizzled out because of either boredom, change of interests, or the dreaded writer block. Truth is, everything new, that includes blogging, sharing interests, insights and discoveries is interesting at first, but once you run out of material (or switch focus) it can get old pretty quickly. I think I have at least 5-7 dormant blogs and a few stale websites after 14 years of doing it for so long.

  • Him Again

    There is a mouse in the haystack for me…. maybe two! :-)
    1. Adding “takeaway” links means that the reader is now gone from your Site.

    2. I’ve just come back to look again, because I lost the use of Zemanta anyway when I finally got away from Windows products altogether.
    I’m wondering now that I’m going back to direct writing myself, can I get it to work under Linux and most importantly LibreOffice ?
    There is a program in Linux called PlayOnLinux, which apparently makes running Windows Microsoft programs work very well!

    It would round out my work wishlist perfectly since I found out that even the most cantankerous program of all, Nuance’s DragonDictate will run PlayOnLinux !

    I’l be baaack – if it all works. But NOTHING will get me back to the Microsoft clutches….

  • Chase C

    I am in line with the post and the comment included

  • Julien

    This is very interesting. There is sort of common acknowledgement that once you published something, it stays up forever and then people will find your piece years later thru search engines. It’s probably not true and shows that it’s extremely important that we fix content discovery to increase the short term benefits. One of the ways I see is to make sure people can follow your content easily so they give you feedback easily too!