1 Year With Liliputing – An Interview With Brad Linder
If you’re into netbooks (you know, those small laptops that keeps popping up every 10 seconds and making the computer industry shake) you probably have Liliputing in your feed reader, and if you don’t, well you should! It is one of my daily reads and quite a success at that. Since the launch in April 2008, Liliputing has clocked over 6 million pageviews (not counting the forum) and 4 million unique visitors, all according to Sitemeter statistics. That’s really impressive, and something I didn’t know when I initiated this interview with Brad Linder.
Liliputing is truly a success story.
Congratulations on Liliputing turning 1! How has this first year been?
Liliputing has come a long way in a year, as has the netbook space that it covers. I attribute this to being at the right place at the right time. I was one of the first people in the US to purchase a netbook and I was just so excited about it that I decided to start blogging about my experiences right away. As netbooks started to increase in popularity, so did Liliputing.
The site was pretty popular right away, because I launched Liliputing out of the ashes of a similar blog called Eee Site. But a year ago I was lucky to get 100,000 page views in a month. Now I regularly get over 800,000.
Liliputing wouldn’t have come this far if I was the only one writing about netbooks. There’s a great community of bloggers that have been writing about mobile computing for years, and we’ve been regularly linking to one another, riffing on each others’ ideas, and generally engaging in discourse about the state of mobile computing. Along the way, more mainstream publications have taken notice from time to time. Liliputing is regularly cited by big tech blogs like Engadget and Gizmodo, as well as more traditional news sources including The Guardian, Wired Magazine, and Computer World. I was even quoted in the NY Post once.
I also like to think of Liliputing as a community resource and not just a news and information blog. With the help of Chippy from UMPC Portal, I launched the Liliputiing Product Database in 2008. It’s probably the most detailed and comprehensive list of netbooks available today. And while the Disqus comment system I’ve had implemented on Liliputing has helped encourage discussion since day one, I also launched forums last year to give readers a way to share their own ideas.
And it all seems to be working. Not only are my sheer traffic numbers up, but Compete.com recently discovered that Liliputing was one of the top 10 sites that people visit after conducting searches for netbook related terms on major search engines. As a friend pointed out, Liliputing is the only site on that top 10 list that isn’t a major corporation. (The others include CNet, Amazon, Dell.com, and Engadget – list here).
The name Liliputing is obviously a nod to Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels. What made you pick the name, and how do you define it?
As I mentioned, I started a site called Eee Site after picking up my first Eee PC. But by early 2008 it was becoming clear that the mini-laptop revolution wasn’t just about the Asus Eee PC. At the time HP, Everex, and a handful of other laptop makers were getting ready to introduce new models. And shortly after I launched the new site the marketplace exploded. Today almost every major laptop maker sells at least one netbook model.
So I knew I wanted to launch a site that wasn’t just focused on one specific brand or model. My colleague at Download Squad Grant Robertson and I spent a little while brainstorming, and he suggested Liliputing. I honestly can’t remember the other names we discussed because this one just seemed right.
Liliputing embodies the idea behind the site. Not only are we talking about computers that are Lilliputian in size and price, but they also tackle the idea of what we think we need from a computer. For years computer companies convinced us that we needed the latest, greatest, bleeding edge technology. And sometimes we do. But we’ve reached a point where a smaller hard drive, screen, keyboard, and slower processor are sufficient for many day to day computing activities.
My only regret is that the name is kind of hard to spell and works better on paper than in person. When I meet people in person and try to tell them about my web site, I find it’s helpful to have a business card to hand them. I also registered Lilliputing.com a while back and had it redirect to Liliputing.com because a lot of people want to spell it with the extra L that you find in Lilliput from Gulliver’s Travels.
I’m sure people are curious to know wether you’re making any money to speak off from Liliputing?
I’ve been surprised at just how profitable Liliputing has been. When the site launched, I was happy to make any money at all from advertising and affiliate marketing.
Without getting into too many details, let me put it this way: In addition to publishing Liliputing, I write for several other blogs and do some freelance work as a radio journalist. But sometime around 6 to 9 months ago Liliputing stopped being just one of the projects I was working on and started to be my primary source of income.
Which “liliputer” is your own favorite blogging machine?
I’ve been using an Asus Eee PC 1000H as my primary netbook since August of 2008. It has a relatively large and comfortable keyboard for a netbook with a 10 inch screen, and a battery that runs for 4 to 5 hours. Like most netbooks available today, it’s got plenty of power for running a web browser with multiple tabs, a word processor, and playing web video, making it an excellent machine for blogging on the go.
Asus has since phased this model out and replaced it with the Asus Eee PC 1000HE, which has a better keyboard, a slightly faster processor, and an even better battery which is good for 7 to 9 hours. But there are similar netbooks from Samsung, HP, MSI, and others that offer similar features. I don’t think there’s a one size fits all netbook, but anyone who’s looking for a good comparison can check out our database at products.liliputing.com.
What are your goals for Liliputing’s second year?
I made a trip to CES in January this year, which was a great way to meet up with fellow tech writers and representatives from the computer companies I cover. And of course, it gave me an opportunity to publish a bunch of original articles about new and upcoming products. I hope to be able to attend more trade shows and get some more hands on experience with new products this year.
I’ve also recently started fleshing out the reviews section of the site with a number of in-depth reviews of products from Asus, HP, and CTL. I’m hoping to get my hands on some more netbooks from additional manufacturers to build out the review section further for year two.
I’d like to thank Brad Linder for taking the time to do this interview. Be sure to check out Liliputing for your netbook needs.
Thord Daniel Hedengren is a designer, writer, and blogger, and also the former editor of The Blog Herald. He used to be a hotshot in the gaming industry in Sweden, but sold everything and went International. Most recently he wrote a book called Smashing WordPress: Beyond the Blog, and does loads of kickass design.
1. Battery Life – It really is that good. I can get a real world value of 7.5 to 8 hours with the WLAN on under the power saving mode. I can’t even see a difference with the performance when in this mode.
2. LED-lit screen – I was expecting a basic screen that didn’t look particularly great. I was surprised with the look of it, even at the low, netbook standard resolution.
3. Keyboard – The so-called chiclet keys are very comfortable, and the placement of the shift key in the correct spot really separates this model from the rest.
1. Windows XP – Yeah, I know. Most would say this is a pro. However, I passed the XP life-cycle on desktops and I’m now having to learn the intricacies of this OS. I wish I could have have them put the Windows 7 beta on it before shipping because I did not get it in time to download, but I digress.
2. Performance – Not technically a con, but I expected a little more of a boost from the bus increase to 667 Mhz. Still, it serves its purposes as a netbook, and the upcoming performance boost in Intel’s chipset will probably decrease battery life by 2-3 hours.