And by machine, I mean he is a powerhouse, not that his writing is stiff and robotic. Good grief people!
Yesterday I saw that Darren Murph’s 17,212 Engadget-related blog posts had snagged him a Guinness World Record. My first thought was, “Now that is a staggering number of blog posts.” Between this blog, Blogstakes (from back in 2003) and a bunch of Weblogs, Inc. blogs like The RSS Weblog and TV Squad I have done roughly 900 blog posts. I don’t think I’ll ever even reach 17,000 tweets, much less blog posts.
So do these blog post count numbers matter? Yes they do.
Back in the pre-AOL Weblogs, Inc. days we had special reporting screens in my Blogsmith CMS that would show how many posts our bloggers had done in the last 24 hours, 7 days and 30 days. If a blogger had failed to do a blog post in the last 30 days — and that blogger was not named Mark Cuban — we would lock them out of the system and even have our editorial director Judith Meskill re-interview them before allowing them back in. So blogger post counts have always been a critical business metric.
When we sold our company to AOL, Jason and I gave all of our active bloggers bonuses. I created a spreadsheet with all of the total blog post counts and we divided up a large pile of cash based on who had done the most blogging. Even a blogger who had just joined us and had only done 4 blog posts got a check for the minimum $500 bonus. So again, post counts mean a lot.
The Engadget post mentioned Darren Murph passing Ryan Block’s Engadget post count. I did some searching in Gmail and in my bonus spreadsheet Ryan Block was 6th on our list after Deidre Woollard, Brad Hill, Erik Olsen, Michael Sciannamea and Barb Dybwad. Peter Rojas had more posts than all of them, but he wasn’t in my money list since he was a co-owner.
My second thought was, “Those Guinness people just wanted to get on Digg.” So I tweeted:
Why did I think that? Well, I’m pretty suspicious of companies that try to get attention from the blogosphere. When a dictionary chooses “tweet,” “unfriend,” “woot,” or “blog” as its Word Of The Year, I think they’re link pandering.
When Jimmy Fallon has Joshua Topolsky on his Late Night show, part of me is thrilled he picked Engadget over Gizmodo and part of me thinks Jimmy Fallon just guaranteed himself a blog post about his new show on one of the most popular websites on earth. But what do I know? Maybe Jimmy truly loves cell phones and he and Joshua are close friends who text each other all day long.
When someone on MySpace does a 20 Hottest Geeks list, you know they just want Jolie O’Dell, Ashton Kutcher, Shira Lazar, Kevin Rose and Veronica Belmont to link to it from their massive Twitter accounts. And — oh look over there — it has 20,000 Digg votes. Mission accomplished. Yeah, that bothers me.
Current Engadget leader Joshua Topolsky asked if I was being serious:
@brianalvey What is the point of this tweet? I mean, are you serious?
@joshuatopolsky Totally serious. I’m thrilled for Darren/Engadget. I just think someone at Guinness created this category to get on Digg.
A few tweets later I found out from Justin Glow and Joshua that Darren was the one who reached out to Guinness to see if such an award existed. Guinness checked around and couldn’t find anyone with more blog posts and created the award. No link pandering this time. Good for them.
Congratulations, Darren Murph. Thanks for inspiring my little trip into Weblogs history — and my first blog post since July. It was wild to see that spreadsheet again and reread a lot of the email conversations with many of the bloggers as we made our transition into AOL.