First, the traffic from our blog was dwarfing the traffic (and engagement) on our price guide. We originally started our blog just to get links to drive SEO to our price guide. But, it turns out we love blogging so we really put our hearts into it.
Second, we started getting a lot more revenue from helping companies acquire and structure data than we were making from the price guide. All those blog posts we write were we crawl the web and do analysis based on the data? That was testing this out. We'll be writing more about that soon, so stay tuned.
The result is that we decided to focus on helping businesses get data and writing about data via our blog. About a month ago we started depreciating the consumer price guide.
Happy to answer any questions!
On startups aspect, I'm surprised to hear that they aren't just using readily-available tools like Mozenda for basic crawling/scraping. Guessing you're able to provide either the scale or deep data that those tools are lacking? There's of course the legal implications with selling someone else's data / marketing leads / etc to be mindful of which can definitely get tricky as times. Yelp is notorious for pursuing with legal action those who scrape + sell their data. Yet everyone in the SMB marketing world still craves it.
It would be interesting to know more! What data are companies crawling? A blog post about what you do would be great! ;-)
I've always been a curious follower of Priceonomics for two reasons. One: the sheer research/depth of your posts that hit HN frequently. It's rare to find blogs that deep dive into such a diverse set of topics while writing eminently readable prose. Would love to read a post on how you find experts/how they research topics sometime.
Two: your name - Rohin Dhar - is a deprecation of my name - Rohin Dharmakumar. You've also been quicker than me in signing up with the @rohin usernames on most web services, HN included :) Glad to make the acquaintance!
I am still sad for the loss of priceonomics as it was. I would be more sad to hear the business was not working out so this news is better. Still could the pricing engine continue to be a feature of priceonomics? Maybe remove the auto-generated image and the ads thus stripping the pages down to just the engine's pricing? Please?
I don't understand how you're turning this into value for yourselves. Where is this all heading?
I understand you're collecting data but how? How does that help you and other companies specifically?
Would love to learn more about the direction you're taking.
PS - Do you take guest bloggers?
Somewhat relatedly, the managers I respect the most are the ones who continue to hammer out software themselves -- they don't just think they know the problems that software development faces, they're suffering them every day.
In both cases, it shows.
As such, I'm curious how you're planning to keep a healthy business helping other companies if you're not keeping your skills sharp on your own forge. I ask this in the nicest way possible. :)