Sphere It: I Appeared on the Wall Street Journal

By Ian Fernando

Well not as an article, but as a related articles and blogs. When I was viewing my Google Analytics this morning, I usually look at it on a weekly basis. I found a high amount of traffic for 2 days! Most came from online.wsj.com, when visited it was the Wall Street Journal! I was very surprise to see this and I was happy at the same time that I appeared on the WSJ.

Below is the screen shot I captured at the bottom of the article about Business.com being sold. I came up as a related Blog Post about this topic and I came up right before TechCrunch! This flow of traffic was beautiful I can say as it provided me with lots of traffic for 2 days.

Wall Street Journal has a high Alexa ranking and traffic, view their rankings here. They are well established and have a constant flow of traffic; always up to date and providing fresh information. Which I tend to do as well provide fresh information on my blog as well as trying to keep up current news and information about making money and blogging.

How was I gather to gain this traffic and appear on WSJ? Well first I know I appeared on a widget at the bottom of the article that was written. This widget is powered by Sphere.com. What is Sphere It? From their about us page they describe themselves as:

Sphere is a startup from a handful of people passionate about connecting mainstream and conversational media content. So far we’re best known for our Sphere Related Content Widget but we have a lot of other interesting things in the pipeline as well.

The four of us (Tony Conrad/ CEO; Martin Remy/ CTO; Steve Nieker/ CIO; and Toni Schneider/ Advisor) are strong believers in conversational media. We believe everyone has a voice, and our mission is to create exposure for each of them. By creating connections between contextually relevant mainstream media and blog content, we're exposing a broader set of Internet readers to blog content, fundamentally giving more power to the people.

Their widget finds blog posts and media articles related to your content. It gives your readers additional info on the things you like to write about, and they like to read about; making YOU look like a hero. The Ajax widget appear right in front of you too, by simply just clicking on the sphere button on a current article it will pull related information about the current topic.

I can say this is just like networking as it provides n easy access to other popular articles/blogs online. Networking without really actually networking. Sphere searches related articles and blogs to the current post. Helping the reader read more in depth or discuss what others have to say about the current topic they were reading.

WebLog Tools Collection has a mini review about Sphere it:

I like the plugin. Many of the big boys are using it and Sphere is less gimmicky and more useful. A click on the Sphere icon opens up a new AJAX window with a few related posts from other bloggers talking about the linked topic and a set of related articles from the blogosphere and news sites. Of course, TechCrunch has their own modified version of the plugin but the net effect is still the same. I really like the fact that the plugin does not weigh down the main page with dynamically downloaded content until the supplemental content is requested by a user.

But how did I appear on Sphere and on WSJ? That I do not know, I have yet to find out how Sphere actually works in terms of finding related article. What are the algorithims? How does it know if it will be good or bad content? I would like to know how this actually works and how I appeared on WSJ, if you know let us know by simply talking about it below. But I enjoyed that burst of traffic for the 2 days!

As I can see it is about publishing current information fast, I assume. Since TechCrunch has posted about this topic as well, I also do not think it is about traffic both because I appeared before TechCrunch and my traffic is no where near TechCrunch. I would like to do a case study but I am trying to think how hard it would be to track where I am appearing and how I appeared on Sphere. Again all base on assumption, and I would like to know how Sphere actually works.

Has anyone gained experience from Sphere?

Ian Fernando
Involved in the internet space since 2002 and have been through the ups and downs of this online industry. I am a traveling digital nomad, media buyer, online strategist, and many more online titles.

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