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Blogging Networks

Posted on Sunday, Jan 7th 2007

At the conclusion of my post Blogging: Time vs. Money, I said that I would write about how I see blogging networks evolving in the future.

It seems to me that many of us are in this zone of time versus money trade-off wrt blogging,
and don’t have the time to do all the functions in running a mini media company: writing, readership building, monetization.

My hypothesis is that this will lead to some of the larger bloggers or main stream media players
leveraging their traffic and monetization ability, and bring the smaller blogs into their fold as part
of a network.

The only formal effort I have seen so far, is the Washington Post Blogroll program, which is
courting me for my blog, and I just agreed to play with their program, while the rest of the
eco-system organizes itself. I am also talking to Om Malik, about doing something with him along these lines.

I would also think that companies like Federated Media should consider leveraging the traffic access they have due to their authors, to bring additional authors into their fold, scaling up their traffic volumes by making them a part of a network that aligns with the target audience (mine with Om’s, for example), and thereby creating a win-win-win formula. In our case, if the deal happens, the revenue split would be a 3-way deal, with FM (monetization), me (content) and om (traffic) splitting the proceeds.

So, I exchanged emails with a number of bloggers on this issue over the last few days. Here are some of their responses:

::

Ross Mayfield, Serial Entrepreneur, CEO of SocialText:

Independent blogs are all about ME, as in monetize elsewhere. This could be consulting or another line of business. Or it could be joining up with others that will take a risk. What I haven’t seen but hoped for is plays like OM’s doing a true rollup strategy, buying out blogs and instead they are getting people to contribute on a per hire basis. I’d say being in the employ with stock from one of the micropubs would be a decent play.

FM is trying to establish a premium brand, so it isn’t about quantity, but higher quality within a given demographic or two. I’m not sure an ad network would get into a three way split and instead you may find yourself only working with one of them directly.

John Batelle, Chairman of Federated Media: I agree, and it’s happening in more places than you might think.

David Hornik, Venture Capitalist, August Capital:

It all depends upon why people are blogging. If you are blogging for the money, you may well blog differently than if you are blogging for the publicity. Blogging has to be motivated by something and it isn’t always the maximization of revenue.

Anonymous Venture Capitalist:

I don’t have any interest / desire to become a part of a publishing system. I blog for personal reasons that are not about monetization. I prefer to stay completely independent. If my traffic stays at 50K uniques/month, that’s perfectly fine for me.

Paul Kedrosky: Entrepreneur, Venture Capitalist, Blogger:

Great comments, Sramana. Couldn’t agree more. Writing blogs with the kind of traffic successful bloggers get is sort of like writing checks you can’t cash: You’re making promises about continuity, availability, and content that are not economically met in the current model.

::

I will write more on this topic as I explore further and decide upon the destiny of my own blog. Meanwhile, you can refer back to my earlier post: Micro Media to Media Empire, which discusses a similar line of thinking as Ross indicates above, about blog network roll-ups.

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