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The 10 most-read posts of 2011: “I’d pay Zaarly to hire me” tops list

In 2011 we picked up the pace, publishing more than 1,400 blog posts. That’s nearly double our post output from 2010, when we published about 850 posts. A majority of our content is focused on the core of our mission: the Silicon Prairie community. It’s because of the individuals and companies that make up the community that our content volume has increased – please keep the story leads, ideas, pitches and feedback coming. (Have one? Email editor@siliconprairienews.com.)

So here’s our list of the 10 most read posts of 2011, representing news items or announcements of the Silicon Prairie community – excluded from this list are Silicon Prairie News-related posts, such as our Big Omaha 2011 schedule or our hiring announcements, as well as the local business record/journal’s “40 Under 40” posts, which are posted as short announcements.

Top 10 most-read posts of 2011

1. Jeff Morris: ‘I’d pay Zaarly to hire me for a two-month contract’

April: Former San Franciscan Jeff Morris authored a guest post on how he landed a job in Zaarly‘s Kansas City office, an office he’s since moved out of as he was relocated to New York to focus on Zaary’s user-base in the city.

Why No. 1? It was a well-written story and, as the title suggests, it was an unusual story. These factors drove a high number of social media mentions and postings on social news websites, like Y Combinator’s Hacker News.

2. Looking to scrobble Turntable.fm? Kangas has you covered.

June: On the heels of the Turbtable.fm summer explosion, Omahan Gabe Kangas created a Google Chrome extension that allowed users of Last.FM to scrobble their Turntable.fm activity to Last.FM. For those unfamiliar with the term, scrobbling is the act, as Wikipedia describes it, of “(publishing) one’s music-listening habits via software.”

Why No. 2? Though it didn’t receive a notable amount of regional traffic, the Google searches for “Turntable.fm scrobble” brought in a high amount of traffic.

3. Dwolla unveils ‘Instant,’ immediate access up to $500 for flat monthly fee

December: On a Thursday morning, Des Moines-based Dwolla unveiled what it had been saying would “change (Dwolla) as we know it.” The news, Dwolla rolling out a line of “Instant” credit of up to $500 to its users, was picked up by more than a dozen news outlets and blogs.

Why No. 3? As mentioned above, we were one of a dozen outlets to report on Instant, but our story hit the popular tech news aggregator Techmeme as the featured headline, which helped result in our highest single traffic day yet.

4. Bitcoin: What is it and how is Dwolla involved in its marketplace?

June: With talk of Bitcoin, a peer-to-peer currency, heating up on tech blogs and finance periodicals, we published a post explaining Bitcoin and how Dwolla was being used in its marketplace, primarily as a platform to add and withdraw funds from Bitcoin exchange sites, such a Mt. Gox and Tradehill.

Why No. 4? The Bitcoin currency became a major news story in June – coverage included the Economist, Forbes and Gawker – and we provided a needed look at how Dwolla was involved, which included an exclusive interview with Dwolla co-founder and CEO Ben Milne.

5. Former Husker football players help athletes get paid for tweets

August: Two former University of Nebraska-Lincoln Cornhusker football players founded an ad network around the social media accounts of professional athletes, mainly NFL players, who get paid to tweet a brand’s product or service.

Why No. 5? Nebraska loves Husker football. It was posted on a Husker football message board. Need we say more?

6. As Bitcoin exchanges drop Dwolla, Milne says company stays focused

July: Tradehill, a popular Bitcoin exchange platform that encouraged its users use Dwolla to bring money in and out of their Tradehill accounts, made claims that Dwolla had reversed a payment made to its service.

Why No. 6? Like No. 4, this was a story of high interest to Bitcoin users in the U.S. as Dwolla had become a part of the Bitcoin marketplace. After it was published it made its way to the main Bitcoin message board, driving a high number of readers to our site.

7. Zaarly closes $1 million seed round, Bo Fishback going full-time

March: Just two week after pitching the idea at Startup Weekend Los Angeles, Bo Fishback and his two co-founders went all-in on Zaarly, each quitting their full-time day jobs – Fishback then at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City – and raising $1 million for their startup.

Why No. 7? Zaarly was the national tech media darling much of 2011, as it was product of Startup Weekend, a 54-hour event run by a Seattle-based nonprofit, and was attempting to tackle a major problem. When word of the funding broke, we were one of the first to report the story and with Fishback’s Kansas City ties, it was highly read in our region.

8. Guest Post: The virtual currency debate, exchange and hysteria

June: Dwolla co-founder and CEO Ben Milne authored a guest post on Dwolla’s involvement in the Bitcoin marketplace and expressed his opinions, frustrations and outlook of Bitcoin and virtual currency.

Why No. 8? Like No. 6 and No. 4, the Bitcoin message board was all over our coverage of Dwolla, posting links multiple times and driving droves of traffic our way.

9. Zaarly team adds three, looks to launch in next 90 days

March: Following a soft launch at South by Southwest Interactive, the Zaarly co-founders began assembling a team to build out their product and marketing strategy. Two of its first three hires were Kansas Citians, one of which, Adam Coomes, is no longer with the company.

Why No. 9? Again, Zaarly proves to be the media darling in 2011, both regionally and nationally. Also, Coomes had made a name for himself in Kansas City as a co-founder of Infegy, a social media analytics statup.

10. Zaarly turning ecommerce on its head, set to launch at SXSW (Video)

February: Though he said he didn’t plan on pitching an idea on his way to Startup Weekend Los Angeles, Bo Fishback, then president of Kauffman Labs at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City, not only pitched an idea, Zaarly, but his team won the competition.

Why No. 10? After catching wind of social media buzz from the pitch at Startup Weekend Los Angeles, we were the first outlet to report on Zaarly, which included an explanation of the original app, video of its Startup Weekend pitch and an interview with Fishback.

The next 10:

  1. January: Xuba, a ‘well-funded’ social commerce startup prepares to launch
  2. June: With a quick click, QRinkle creates QR codes with Google Analytics
  3. January: 30 days after launch, Deal Garden sees profit, opportunity
  4. March: Behind the scenes of Zaarly’s SXSW launch
  5. May: Wired cover story includes a look at Omaha’s downtown revival
  6. January: Startup Weekend Des Moines: March 4-6, early bird prices until Feb. 12
  7. January: Guest Post: How Oregon uses Hudl to prepare for BCS Championship Game
  8. October: Zaarly raises $14.1M Series A, adds former eBay exec Whitman to board
  9. July: Guest Post: Starting a business in Iowa … isn’t hard
  10. March: Archrival co-founders deliver a must-watch keynote: ‘FLYOVER’ (Video)

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