I have spent ridiculous amounts of time researching cameras over the years, and I very often found myself coming back to dpreview for the best reviews and detailed analysis.
What jumped out at me while reading the details on techcrunch, was the traffic #. Dpreview.com gets 7 million unique vistors a month ! Wow.
If you showed this site to most people and they clicked on a review, like the new casio ex-v7:
Announced back in January at the CES show, the EX-V7 is the latest in a long – and generally successful – range of slim, feature-packed Exilim models from Casio. As well as an impressive set of specifications (CCD shift image stabilization, 7x / 38-266mm equiv. zoom, MPEG movies and a wealth of features) and a super-slim all-metal body (under 21mm thick at its thinnest point) the EX-V7 boasts a new version of Casio’s image processing engine.
I think you could safely bet that most would people would click back and look for a review that is a bit less detailed, and more of a recommendation than a detailed analysis and inspection of the specs.
You could also bet that most people would think of this dpreview site as “niche” and probably not “mainstream”. But is it really niche at that level ? And more importantly, isn’t the takeaway that the way to grow an audience is to actually go super niche ? How many general, high-level camera reviews sites do you really need ? maybe one or two at most. But it’s much easier to envision a camera review site aimed at hobbyists, another for those who cover sports, a third for new parents who want to capture the first ‘swim class’, a fourth for travelers, and on an on.
For comparison sake: at 7M unique users/month dpreview is only 900K visitors/month smaller than the washingtonpost (7.9M) according Neilsen ( we don’t know if the 7M is Neilsen or from logs — but you get the idea ), and is bigger than all entertainment sites except TMZ (7.9M for TMZ, 4.2M for people.com, and 3.2M for E!)
Aggregators of content, search engines, and social networks may gravitate towards a winner take all model ( still not clear, but perhaps ) — but content may in fact be going in the other direction. Dpreview, dogster, drudge, and of course the explosion of UGC/blogs (those who love the mets all read metsblog.com religiously) are proving out this model that people who are passionate about a topic will find like minded people online.
Embrace the niche ! 🙂