SoulCast is Growing Faster Than Digg?

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According to Alexa, SoulCast.com is growing faster than Digg at launch, with traffic doubling every month. SoulCast is like a Web 2.0 mash-up of PostSecret plus Blogger with RevShare.

Since its beta launch in May of 2006, SoulCast has taken the blogosphere by storm. Started by a small team of bloggers, SoulCast.com has grown to more than 20,000 new members, and boasts more than 600,000 unique visitors per month. A recent Alexa statistic shows that traffic has been steadily doubling every month, and at this rate, SoulCast is growing even faster than Digg did at launch. Only the behemoth of networking sites, MySpace, has had more exponential growth.

So what exactly is “SoulCast?” SoulCast is a global blogging community that provides free membership and allows people to blog in anonymity, without constraints or censorship, and get paid to blog. It’s that simple, and it’s the simplicity of it their philosophy that people are warming up to by the hordes.

But what’s the explanation for this phenomenal growth, especially when SoulCast isn’t the only blogging site out there? In fact, there are hundreds of blogging sites out there, so why is SoulCast among the few to be floating to the top? Marketing certainly doesn’t explain it, because according to SoulCast, they’ve done very little marketing since they are entirely self-funded. Aside from the small amount of search engine marketing they’ve done, growth has been mainly attributed to another simple concept: word-of-mouth advertising. SoulCast members tend to spread their user experience of truly connecting with strangers on a personal level to other potential members.

Another explanation is credibility. The growing list of testimonials on the website praising SoulCast is a nice draw for new visitors to sign up for the free membership that’s offered. One member thanks SoulCast for providing a forum for “inspired authors [who write about many topics] on every level.” Another satisfied member says “it's the sense of community that keeps me coming back” and one member claimed that “SoulCast got it right with their policy on anonymity and freedom of expression.” This type of real user validation makes SoulCast more compelling, and since it’s free, anonymous, and easy to sign up, what’s the reason not to?

Perhaps the most compelling reason of all is the content. SoulCast’s members remain anonymous, which makes it much less daunting to blog about things that are really on their minds. What you get is a mesh of PostSecret and Blogger, but with real conversations, which oftentimes makes the discussions even more intense. Topics include just about every subject matter out there, from politics, religion and relationships to taboo topics like addictions, racism, suicide, and miscellaneous daily ramblings. It’s hard to categorize any of the subjects because they are all so unique, both in content and in voice. The beauty of it all is that every single topic, even the category hierarchy, is created dynamically and organically by the community by the latest Web 2.0 trend called “tagging.”

Still, many people find the idea of blogging for cash an offer they can’t refuse, and this is a huge reason for being part of the SoulCast community. SoulCast partners with Google AdSense, and allows members only to place content-relevant ads on their free blogs. In order to get paid to blog, members must first add Google’s AdSense to their profile. Based on the number of clicks and impressions on a particular ad, the ad will generate a monetary amount, of which SoulCast and the members split 50/50. Though SoulCast claims that members shouldn’t be expected to make a living off SoulCast.com, it’s possible to make a nominal fee. And with the price of gas these days, this isn’t anything to complain about.

Though the idea may be simple, the buzz surrounding SoulCast is anything but. Their equation seems to be as follows: Simple Blogging + Compelling Content + Diverse Membership = Meaningful Community. And so far, the equation has been working. Will SoulCast continue to grow faster than Digg? In the web world, only time will tell.

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Yuri Yi
SoulCast
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