How internet rock stars drive traffic.


Three big events rocked the web 2.0 universe this summer. Internet rock stars Guy Kawasaki (Truemors), Jason Calacanis (Mahalo), and Kevin Rose/Leah Culver (Pownce) launched new companies.

In the chart below, you see how all three have done extremely well thus far. Any startup would kill for these sort of results in their first two months. I know I would 🙂

Now you’re probably wondering, what actually drives traffic to these sites, right? Take a look at the table below. It details the top 10 domain level referrals to Pownce, Mahalo, and Truemors for August. This table will give you clues on how you may want to go about driving traffic to your own startups — perhaps even a launch strategy blueprint.

mahalo pownce truemors domain referrals

* % of total domain referrals


Jason knows a thing or two about leveraging social news sites to drive traffic. I know his team (Jason included) submit Mahalo links to Digg, Twitter, etc quite often. This strategy seems to be driving quite a bit traffic for them. I am however somewhat surprised Digg didn’t make their top 10.

Jason has also done a great job in getting some of Mahalo’s better listings (Write a Killer Resume, Get Better Sleep When You Fly, etc) written up on popular productivity blogs such as Download Squad and Lifehacker (btw – both are great blogs, check ’em out if you haven’t already).

Google as always is #1, and the most surprising entry here for me was Didn’t realize Michael’s Crunchbase was this big already! Congratulations Michael, Heather + Team! If you’re starting a company, you need to get listed on Crunchbase.


The presence of Facebook, Twitter, Jaiku didn’t surprise me one bit. The three play well together and compliment Pownce, and my guess is that a lot of it is users jumping back and forth between the services. Digg is also a no brainer, which I attribute to the Kevin Rose effect.

What is most interesting are the Google referrals. Take a look at the subdomain breakdown in the table below. As you can see, most of their came from Gmail. Looks like all those Pownce email notifications (*cough* spam 🙂 are working for them.

mahalo pownce truemors google referrals


All the usual suspects in the top 10 for Truemors. Guy’s blog is up there, as one would expect from a Technorati top-100 blog. Also, looks like Gnomedex was big for getting the word out about Truemors. Highlights the importance of actively participating in some of these influential forums to get the word out.

Truemors is in a great position to leverage SEO to drive traffic (just like Mahalo). It has a lot of potential. I know the Truemors team is working on it (and yes, they’re using Compete Search Analytics :).


All three companies have used the personal brands of their founder’s effectively to launch, and all are leveraging social networks. (Side note: It is very interesting that Facebook and Twitter made the top 10 for all three.) Mahalo is also doing a great job getting their content featured on other sites, and Guy is doing a great job evangelizing Truemors at conferences.

It will be interesting to see if Leah, Kevin, Guy and Jason can sustain their momentum over the coming months as the hype settles, and the product themselves become the real growth driver. It will most certainly be an interesting ride.

One thought on “How internet rock stars drive traffic.

  1. hi,
    Facebook has been impressing more than just Compete over the past few months. As we reported on Tuesday, for the month of August, the social networking rising star is now ranked third in terms of pageviews, and may have started to finally pull users away from MySpace.

    Get Website Traffic

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