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Tuesday, October 12, 2004

What Powers the Blogosphere

From the Floor conducted a secret, semi-scientific study last week to determine what, exactly, fuels site traffic around the blogosphere.

Here's how this little experiment worked. While you were reading your art blogs and very kindly filling out the art blog readers survey, From the Floor took two inbound links from Modern Art Notes on two consecutive days. (This experiment was so secret that Tyler Green didn't even know he was participating in it. My power to control other bloggers' posting behavior without their knowledge is very strong.)

Last Tuesday, this link referenced my discussion of corporate-museum partnerships with Petra Arends of The UBS Collection. On Wednesday, this link referenced my announcement of Tyler's new position as art critic for Bloomberg News.

Wednesday's hot link was on the words "Todd Gibson leaked the news." Tuesday's was on "discussing corporate art collections with UBS curator Petra Arends."

Among the same group of readers of the same site during the same time period, the gossipy "leaked the news" link generated approximately ten times more clicks-through than the more serious, issues-based link did.

Even though 63% of readers said in our readers survey that art world gossip is of little or no importance to them, gossip really is what drives site traffic. It's a well known fact in survey design that people don't admit to behavior that they exhibit but aren't proud of. This instance, I suppose, supports that point.

With this new understanding of your preferences, I'm considering taking this blog in a whole new direction--one inspired by Gawker's coverage of the arts.

So here are some examples of what you can expect to read much more of in the future on From the Floor:

And, like Gawker, if we don't have good stuff to report on a particular day, we'll just make the stuff up!

I think this new direction is going to be a big win-win for us: easier for me to write and more interesting for you to read.

So, let the fun begin! I'm hard at work on a post for tomorrow that features the skinny Olsen, Harvey Shipley Miller's drawing collection, lap dances, a prominent art critic, and an artist's studio in Brooklyn. I haven't figured out how, exactly, to stitch all these elements together, so if you have any ideas please drop me a line. Who knows, maybe I'll even work you into the post somehow if you have a brilliant insight that can make this combination work.

(Update: If you're trying to follow the Gawker links this morning and are getting a "This site is under construction and coming soon" message, Greg can tell you what's happening. Looks like Gawker has made just the sort of screw up that they love to drill other people for making.)

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