The challenge was to Guess the Topic of the Blog simply by viewing the last month’s statistics.
The guesses began honing in on the right answer almost immediately with two bloggers actually suggesting the right topic within hours of the competition starting.
The idolblog phenomenon started back in November of 2003 when two friends of mine, Rachel and Regan, in New Zealand saw what happened when I started blogging about the first Australian Idol series on one of my personal blogs. My posts generated massive visitors as I did weekly opinion pieces on the show.
Rachel and Regan started to dream of a blog that would be solely dedicated to the idol shows and started idolblog up in the lead up to the first NZ idol series. They started the blog on another domain but were asked to move it by the producers of NZ idol (the start of the show being quite difficult with them). Luckily I had already registered idolblog.com and they were easily able to swap it over (if only I’d negotiated a % cut of earnings in return for the domain instead of just gifting it to them!).
The blog was a massive success and Rachel and Regan became quite famous in NZ, regularly appearing on television, radio and in News Papers as experts on the show. Idolblog became something of a household name and their traffic towards the end of the series got quite out of control large with 8000 visitors a day.
The site is a combination of blog commentaries of each show, news and opinion pieces as well as a very active forum area (idol fans are obsessive). They also run very popular polls which are usually pretty good indications of who will be eliminated each week.
The next idol series that they covered was Australian Idol’s second series when they ran a similar site with some Aussie writers commentating on the show. Traffic grew into the 11,000+ per day range.
More recently they’ve been blogging on American Idol. Not actually living in the US has presented some challenges for Rachel and Regan but as you can see by their traffic graph they’re actually doing pretty well with the show still a few weeks out from the grand final when traffic usually peaks.
Income Streams – Idolblog has a number of income streams including Adsense, private ads, impression based ads, affiliate programs with Amazon and iTunes. I suspect that the next season of NZ idol (just announced) will see the blog attract some very decent advertising through ad agencies who watched the site’s success last year and will want to capitalize on it. Idolblog was generally accepted by most fans of the show as a better resource than the official site.
Technical Specs – Idolblog utilizes PMachine to run it.
Idolblog.com is a wonderful example of what can be done using blogs to build community around a common obsession. It’s also a great example of how to build profile using a blog – Rachel and Regan are now well positioned to start other NZ blogs of a similar nature and have successfully launched partnerships with a number of other TV programs and production companies to build blogs.