Pete Cashmore was at Mashable’s New York headquarters this week, sitting out the rainy afternoon. “Some people say this has been a cruddy weather, but I’m from Scotland, so it doesn’t bother me,” Mr. Cashmore told Betabeat.
While he has called San Francisco home for the past few years, Mr. Cashmore is increasingly spending time in Silicon Alley as Mashable looks to significantly expand its footprint in the city.
For a long time the company relied on co-working spaces and many staffers clocked in from home. But just last fall Mashable moved into their first full time space on East 24th and Park. Now they are in the process of getting a new office downtown, five times larger than their current digs. “Intimacy is great, overcrowding is not,” Mr. Cashmore said.
Part of the change is that Mashable left Federated Media and took over its own advertising, which means building a sales team based in New York. While a lot of sites have been rocked in recent months by the changes underfoot at Google search, Mashable has always seen the majority of its traffic arrive directly or from sources like Facebook and Twitter. “We got an audience that is keenly interested in using the megaphone of social media and that has been a strategic advantage for us,” Mr. Cashmore said.
It’s not uncommon to see a story on Mashable receive thousands of tweets within minutes of being posted, before readers even have the time to finish reading or comment. The company recently rolled out a new service, Mashable Follow, that turns the smorgasbord of widgets for sharing content into one button. After setting their preferences, many users post stories to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn with a single click.
“I think our traffic is underreported in a certain way,” Mr. Cashmore said. “Pageviews are one thing, but your presence on social sites is a better measure of mindshare. Advertisers are still adjusting to this, moving from measuring raw traffic to engagement. It will take time, but new metrics are coming that will better reflect the reality of the web.”
According to their internal metrics, visitors who arrive through Mashable Follow spend three times longer on site than the average user.
New names are starting to become increasingly important to the social flow. “I think Stumble Upon gets a lot less hype, or attention, than it deserves. Maybe that’s because it can be unpredictable, but it is a really powerful service,” Mr. Cashmore said. “Among our audience, which is a lot of folks working in social, strategy or marketing, LinkedIn is taking off as a way to share news.”
The expanding focus on live events is changing Mr. Cashmore’s relationship to Mashable. “We just spent the weekend in Disney World, and I came away thinking their is a ton of value to that more human experience,” he said, before quickly adding. “Of course, people were putting lots of great content about it online too.”
Having built up an enormous following on the web, he often finds himself explaining the difference between his digital persona and real life existence. “In my Twitter photo I’ve got short, brown hair, so people often have a hard time believing its me when I meet them.” He shook his head, now covered in long, blonde locks that he frequently brushes out of his eyes. “I really should get that picture changed.”