"State of the Union" Report 2008-2009
As we come to the end of the third year of the publication of
RARWRITER.com, it seems an appropriate time to take stock in what we
have and where we are, and to talk about plans for the future.
RARWRITER.com, which began life as a personal website and to
date has not been a commercial or advertising-supported venture, has
never been heavily promoted outside of a monthly announcement to those
on our email distribution list. In February 2009, I posted a YouTube
video promoting the February issue, but we have been quiet outside of
those bits of outreach. The site has rested almost exclusively on “word
of mouth” promotion.
Given this passive stance, the 2008-2009 results have been
encouraging, with viewership more or less remaining at mid-2008 levels.
RARWRITER.com has viewers in more than 100 countries, with approximately
85 percent coming from the U.S., France, United Kingdom, Canada, China
and Germany (in that order).
The plan for the coming year will be to experiment with
different forms of promotion and on
expanding readership through the development of new offerings.
RARWRITER.com is expanding with the following sites (some
already established as of this report):
RARWRITER.com has not really been a music review site, with the
occasional exception, but we have reviewed enough CDs over the past year
that a new section has been created for this purpose. We anticipate
growing more “reviewish”.
RARWRITER.com has begun to dip into indie cinema and will continue
that practice, reporting on film projects, producers, directors and
actors, etc., outside of the industry mainstream, using the model that
has been used regarding the music independents.
RARWRITER.com is launching a Media page, in which we will take some
critical assessments of the mainstream media.
– Expansion will include pages devoted to the art scenes in
Chicago, Boston, Atlanta, Miami and Seattle stateside, and others
Presently, RARWRITER.com’s literary page focuses exclusively on the
works of yours truly and that is being expanded to include serialization
of my novels. I am exploring doing the same with the works of other
writers. Ditto the Poetry
page, which has been under-utilized but may be opened to other writers.
– RARWRITER.com is interested in exploring arts arenas not often visited
by new media, including local opera and symphony. We are also interested
in expanding our focus on Jazz and Gospel artists.
RARWRITER.com has become a large and ungainly thing, and
efforts will be made to archive profiles of artists who are no longer
active or who have gone into politics (that’s a joke). The existing
Archives page is one of the most popular features on the site and it
will continue to exist with updates from previously published Artist
News page pieces.
RARWRITER.com has dropped schedules of events, outside of the
Bohemians in your Town! section on the Artists News page.
Artists listed there are specially noted and that practice will be
expanded, resources permitting.
RARWRITER.com needs resources in the form of contributors and
many expansion plans will rely on our ability to attract additional
One of the most vexing aspects of the site, for me
personally, is the need for a copy editor to catch the grammar and
spelling errors that occasionally sneak through. Were such an asset to
be gained it would no doubt force a discipline upon us that has not
previously existed and we would need to work through a process for
managing that. One model might be to establish a virtual team, with
editors being sent copy for review prior to publication.
Monetization of RARWRITER.com was not a part of the site’s
initial focus, but has become more so over the past three years. The
development model has been to first build a sleek machine that attracts
viewers, develop a range of products and merchandise, and develop a
sponsorship or advertising base.
RARWRITER.com will expand our email distribution list over
the next year and form alliances with web-based services to automate
delivery of promotional communications. We will also do regular monthly
YouTube videos promoting each month’s edition.
* * * *
Below are selected stats from RARWRITER.com traffic reports
over the past year.
1) Artist News homepage is the most requested page, followed by
2) RAR Music (RAR’s page for offering original tunes), 3)
Archives, 4) At Large Links page, 5) Austin, Texas Links
page, 6) Colorado Links, 7) San Francisco Links, 8) Los
Angeles Links, 9) Features Index page, and 10) RAR’s Essay
The feature on L.A. punk rocker Tamra Spivey, which first ran in
February, 2008, was the most requested feature over the past 12 months.
The features on Martian Acres songwriter Dennis Wanebo was the
second most requested over the past year, followed closely by the
Johnny Vernazza feature. We have really backed off on features over
the past months, due to manpower shortage, and all of these most popular
articles are…well, not recent.
Recently added pages, particularly the Music Review page, have
shown strong followings and would be expected to enter the top 10 in
next year’s report.
the past year, the “Hollyweird” page featuring some of L.A.’s more
outrageous costume acts has been the page where individual viewers spend
the most time. Stats have been skewed by the recent additions (in the
past week) of the Cinema and American Idol pages, where
people are hanging on three times as long as on the third most intensely
read page, but that would seem an anomaly spurred by their “newness”.
Google remains by far the most important search engine for
RARWRITER.com, sending the most viewers to the site. TAGOO, a
Russian media search engine, is our second biggest referrer, which is
intriguing. SEEQPOD, the Emeryville, California media search
engine that has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and has been shut down
and then restarted as recently as the day of this report, has been the
third biggest referrer. SOSO, the Japanese search engine, has
been the fourth biggest referrer for RARWRITER.com over the past year.
Latin American search engine TARINGA ranks fifth among our
referrers. Interesting, to me, that 3 of the top 5 engines are foreign
(to the U.S.). My amateur’s guess might be that the American
entertainment industry is of interest abroad and RARWRITER.com benefits
As was said in last year’s report, reading the "city" stats can be a
little confusing as they tend to indicate where server farms, rather
than viewers, are located. The top “city”, according to my site
analyzer, is an “Unknown” and it accounts for 20 percent of all
referrals. Hard to know what to do with that. The West Coast city stats
seem under counted, so maybe those are a big part of the mysterious 20
RARWRITER.com's Top 10 “identifiable” Cities: 1) New York City, New York, 2) Chicago,
Illinois, 3) Sunnyvale, California, 4) Mountain View,
California, 5) Beijing, China, 6) London, England, 7)
Paris, Ile-de-France, France, 8) Orange, Provence-Alpes-Cote
D'Azur, France, 9) Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 10) Miami,
That list fascinates me at least 10 different ways, because
we don’t really have much presence in New York, and none at all in
Chicago in terms of featuring artists from those places. I am
endeavoring to change that. The California cities are understandable,
but Beijing, China really fascinates. I noticed a big up-tick in
viewership there during the Beijing Olympics and that has really held.
RARWRITER.com has some presence in the U.K., but none in France and yet
there are draws from Paris and Orange. Why? Don’t know. Maybe it is all
the Cajun and Creole music we feature. Toronto supports RARWRITER.com
well and we should do better by the Canadians and intend to. But Miami?
No presence at all in Miami – it is a city I know all too little about –
but somehow we have caught on with some viewers there. And I am
interested in exploring that, if we can find a writer.
The RARWRITER Top 10 Region list by number of readers: 1) California, 2)
New York, 3) Illinois, 4) Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur, France, 5)
Arizona, 6) Beijing, China, 7) Texas, 8) England, 9) Virginia, 10)
The RARWRITER Top 10 Country list by number of readers: 1) United
States, 2) France, 3) China, 4) United Kingdom, 5) Canada, 6) Germany,
7) Netherlands, 8) India, 9) Brazil, 10) Australia.
DAY: In last
year’s report, Sundays and Tuesdays saw the most traffic to
RARWRITER.com, but what explains viewing patterns? Over the last year,
viewership of RARWRITER.com has become a steady, 7-day per week thing,
with just a slight peak mid-week.
again, there is a shift in viewer patterns that I can only guess at
explaining. In last year’s report, 1 p.m. was the most popular hour, and
there was this observation: “most RARWRITER readers check the site
between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m., but the ‘weird hours’ from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.
show remarkably strong and consistent readership through the night,
which probably reflects the lifestyles of our readers, i.e., musicians
who stay up all hours.”
Over the last year, RARWRITER.com has been visited most
between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m., with the busiest hours being 10 a.m. to Noon.
There are slightly more viewers at 9 p.m. than at 6 a.m., but there
isn’t much of a dip through the night. We may be attracting more general
interest viewers but the night owls are still with us too.
Thanks to all of you for your continued support of