Re: Will the Register lead the way?
The Register is a site/publication that has been around long enough that it has probably built up a good reader base over a long time through word of mouth. There is a lot to be said for "first mover advantage". I think I first heard about The Reg when someone posted a link to an interesting article, on a usenet newsgroup, and I found it useful and interesting enough a site that I added it to my browser bookmarks, like you say, but every new website starting up, or wanting to attract new readers, still needs to get its message out somehow.
Word of mouth (or social network sharing, as it more commonly is nowadays) helps a lot, and is probably the most useful way (people are more likely to trust links passed on by other people whom they already know), but it still never hurts to have your site indexed by search engines, to possibly pick up new readers who might not otherwise already know about a site, but who come across an article in the search results for a topic of interest that they were searching about.