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Hank Campbell had no journalism or media experience, but he is now the founder of scientificblogging.com. – a science website, not a blog, that gets a million readers a month and has articles written by Nobel Prize winners, professors and science authors. Based out of Folsom Campbell, a business man, saw the potential in a website like this and started it just as something he knew he would enjoy reading.
"I didn't know enough to know that I didn't know what I was doing," he said "The site took off in a way I hadn't expected."
In two years it has gone from being an unknown science site to being on the top-25 scientific publications list.
Getting started took Campbell looking up the top six scientists in different science areas including; physical, earth, life and medicine and simply calling them up. He explained the concept behind the site and let them know he was not backed by a major media company. All of the scientists were on board and pleased with the idea that it was not a typical science publication.
The site offers ideological free news straight from the scientists and influences people who may be trying to make a decision on topics like global warming or stem cell research. The scientists who write for scientificblogging.com have data to back up their content. Campbell said he likes to think he is taking out the middle man by providing direct scientific knowledge to the reader without a publication name brand coming in between the facts.
As the site grew bigger, it got an excellent response from the readers and the contributing writers. Campbell soon added community features such as commenting on articles, instant messaging and member profiles. Still, operators haven't spent any money on formal marketing, and Campbell quickly realized that large media companies’ reaction was to imitate his site. "A lot of them have tried to do the same thing now, but they don't have the same enthusiasm. They wanna knock you down so you cant get big," Campbell said.
Although he knows that it will be tough competing with publications that have been around for long and that are in print, Campbell is confident that his website will continue to be successful. Knowing that his website doesn't have to panic about things like money and advertisements, he can purely focus on content. Contributing writers are always willing to talk to readers and explain anything science related. Anyone can leave a comment about the articles and start a conversations without being a member.
In the beginning, there were not any resources – he funded it himself and had enough programming experience to build the site without investors or venture capital. Now scientificblogging.com is on the list of top 25 science publications in existence. "I knew it would be a while before people found us, now if you Google world’s best scientists, were going to be right there at the top. We literally have the best scientists."