Is It Worth Spending $400 to Have Your Blog Reviewed At JohnChow.com? Here’s My Experience
Last modified on 27th July, 2007
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I had the privilege of having Sabahan.com reviewed by John Chow recently and I can tell you it has been an interesting experience for me. I know some of my readers have been waiting patiently for me write this post.
Wait no more, because I am going to dissect the result of the review as I reveal whether it’s worth forking out $400 (that’s a jaw dropping RM1360 in Malaysian Ringgit!) to have my blog reviewed by John Chow.
John, if you are reading this, I hope you won’t get mad at me for revealing too much information that may or may not affect your ReviewMe order in any way. I doubt it will though, the supply and demand balance will always be in his favour .
The reason why I waited for nearly two weeks before I post this is because I wanted to see how the John Chow Effect affects my blog in the longer run. Sure I received a surge in traffic while the review was on his front page but does it sustained over a period of time?
Has it increased my blog’s income and my feed subscriber count? Is it a good investment?
Why Did I order the Review?
I should mention that I didn’t order the review to make money right away, or expect an immediate return on my investment. It’s also not an ego boost as some people may think.
It’s also not because I wanted some Google juice from a PageRank (PR) 6 blog. In case you haven’t realised this, ordering a review from a blog doesn’t get you a permanent link from the high PR page which is typically the homepage. The boost is only temporary while your link is still on the front page. Once your review gets buried, its PR is worth whatever PR the inner page has.
So if you want some Google juice, don’t order a review, buy a text link ad instead 🙂
I did it because I wanted to promote Sabahan.com free domain name and free hosting for life contest and what’s better way than getting a review from a big name like John Chow.
JohnChow.com gets a good amount of traffic perhaps about the same level as that of ProBlogger.net. You can see ProBlogger.net Site Meter data here.
As one of the few five star rated blogs at ReviewMe marketplace, JohnChow.com offers one of the best value for money at $400 per review. Any higher, I would have to pass.
With the exposure, I hope to get more linkbacks from other blogs that would be kind enough to give the contest a mention in their blogs. My ultimate goal was to increase traffic to my blog.
Did I get More People Joining the Contest after the Review?
I did get a couple of new entries as a result of the review but I am actually quite disappointed it wasn’t more than a handful!
From John’s positive review and the comments that followed, I expected new entries would start pouring in but unfortunately that didn’t happen. There were many readers who thought the contest was interesting and would consider taking part but they didn’t.
I did ask John if he could highlight (good or bad) the contest in his review and he did. But that didn’t seem to encourage more participation either. Perhaps most of JohnChow.com readers find the prizes not very appealing especially if they don’t have any intention to run another blog.
Perhaps, the requirements are too much? But I think that’s unlikely.
Anyway, I’d like to thanks those who took part in the contest as a result of the review. BTW, the contest is still running. So far I’ve given 5 free domain names and one free WordPress hosting for life to one winner.
I need two more entries for Group 6 before I could start drawing the winner for the free domain name. Full contest details here.
How Many Visitors Came from the Review?
Here’s where it becomes interesting. While the review did increase my traffic level over the next couple of days while it’s still on JohnChow.com front page, it didn’t bring in as many visitors as I initially anticipated. At some point it made me wonder if the John Chow effect is overrated.
The review was published on Tuesday July 10, 2007. It stayed on the top post for about 12 hours and it was off the front page on the third day. Over the course of a week, JohnChow.com has sent me 535 visits as shown in the graph below. From this, 422 are new visitors while 113 are returning. At $400 a pop, I’ve paid a pretty expensive $400 / 535 = $0.75 for each visitor!
I don’t know if spending the same amount via AdWords on JohnChow.com would bring me more traffic because I haven’t tried it. What I know for sure is that AdWords doesn’t guarantee traffic. The amount of traffic generated from an AdWords campaign would depend on how targeted my ads are to JohnChow.com’s readers. In addition, the more advertisers bidding for the same spot, the more I would have to pay to win the spot.
Update: As John Chow points out in the comment, the analysis doesn’t take into account the readers from his RSS feed. Since half of the readership comes from RSS, I would have received more traffic than the 535 visits. I agree.
Come to think of it, I might do that next. So when the results are in, I’ll share my experience in this blog for your reading pleasure. Just be sure to subscribe to my blog feed to keep you updated 🙂
Fortunately, the somewhat depressing traffic level sent by the review was only part of the story. Barely a few hours after the review was published, one of my posts got stumbled upon which brought in an extra 36 visitors, still not too exciting.
Now for the first time ever, I am going to reveal the number of visitors Sabahan.com gets daily to see the big picture, I think it’s important to be aware that while the number of visitors sent by the review is relatively low, the overall increase in traffic is quite significant.
While Sabahan.com traffic level is still relatively low after the increase when compared to other more established blogs, if you could attract around 800 visitors to a relative new blog dedicated to making money and blogging, I would say that’s quite an accomplishment by itself. As you can see below, my average traffic level has increased to about 50% more over the course of the same week.
These new visitors seem to come from anywhere. My posts got mentioned more from other blogs too. In addition, I’ve also seen a small increase in direct traffic and search engine traffic.
So if we can attribute this increase in traffic as a result of the review, I would say I am effectively paying much less than $0.75 per visitors.
How Has It Affected My Blog’s Income?
As I mentioned earlier, getting an immediate return on my investment is not my goal when I ordered the review, building traffic is. The increase in traffic has a positive effect of increasing Sabahan.com AdSense income. While it’s nothing to shout about, the increase is still nice to have.
Obviously there are some visitors from JohnChow.com who click AdSense, let’s find out who they are.
I find that 7.08% of the returning visitors from JohnChow.com click on my AdSense ads while only 2.37% new visitors click my ads.
The following are the top 10 AdSense clickers segmented by Country. I was surprised to see countries like Australia, the US and UK are in the top 10. This is in contrast to the digg traffic that I’ve analyzed previously.
It’s no surprise that the Firefox users are the best AdSense clickers as shown below. They account for 58.88% of the total visitors. On the other hand, Internet Explorer was used by 34.95% of John Chow visitors.
As for my other advertising program such as Kontera, ReviewMe.com and Text-Link-Ads.com, I didn’t see any meaningful increase in their income during the same period.
How Does It Affects My Subscribers Count?
Before the review, the number of subscribers to Sabahan.com hovers around 195 – 210. After the review, it increases to around 282. I had expected more but it’s nice to see the increase anyway. As you can see below, the number has increased gradually over time after the review was published.
Was the Review worth The 400 bucks?
Since I am making more than $400 dollars from AdSense per month from several websites, I didn’t look at the ReviewMe spent as an out-of-pocket expenditure. I usually reinvested all my monthly AdSense income anyway in AdWords to promote my own products and make more money from affiliate programs.
However, I think paying $400 to have Sabahan.com reviewed anywhere is the most I am willing to spend unless I can be sure I could get a good ROI. So John, please consider this before you decide to increase your price :). Your new price could become unaffoardable to many more people which could reduce the number of orders. (On the other hand, a higher price tag could possibly make John more money even with fewer reviews).
Is there a better way to spend 400 bucks than getting a review at JohnChow.com? Perhaps there is but I wouldn’t know whether ordering JohnChow.com ReviewMe is worth it if I didn’t try it in the first place.
If all you are looking for is to have someone to critic your blog constructively, there are other bloggers that could do that for you at a much lower price. But if you are also looking for some exposure, I would say, ordering ReviewMe from JohnChow.com is a good move. I can’t say for sure you’ll get the same result as me. Different blogs would get different results, it all depends on what you have to offer and how it relates to JohnChow.com readers.
I guess the question anyone should ask is that, how you could leverage the initial influx of visitors. Well, after you get the attention, be sure to follow that up with some higher value content that will turn the one time readers into subscribers.
So to answer the question, yes I think the review worth the 400 bucks.