February 14, 2006

while we're on the subject of blog inequality...


New York magazine has just published a very long article about blogs and the whole inequality thing: "Blogs to Riches- The Haves and Have-Nots of the Blogging Boom."

But if you talk to many of today’s bloggers, they’ll complain that the game seems fixed. They’ve targeted one of the more lucrative niches—gossip or politics or gadgets (or sex, of course)—yet they cannot reach anywhere close to the size of the existing big blogs. It’s as if there were an A-list of a few extremely lucky, well-trafficked blogs—then hordes of people stuck on the B-list or C-list, also-rans who can’t figure out why their audiences stay so comparatively puny no matter how hard they work. “It just seems like it’s a big in-party,” one blogger complained to me. (Indeed, a couple of pranksters last spring started a joke site called Blogebrity and posted actual lists of the blogs they figured were A-, B-, and C-level famous.)
Ok, so you're wondering why your plan to copy other people's formats hasn't been that successful. Hmmmm... maybe you should blog about it.

Posted by hugh macleod at February 14, 2006 8:54 AM | TrackBack

Isn't this just life, how many corner shops are there compared to big supermarkets, one or two person software companies compared to MicroSoft or Oracle.

Posted by: Tony Edgecombe at February 14, 2006 12:41 PM

Yes - sometimes it only has to work for the author to be worthwhile

Posted by: Ric at February 14, 2006 12:58 PM

Feels like an innovation problem to me. How interesting can the 972589th marketing blog be?

Then there is first mover advantage and all that. Hugh's strength is time in the game and relative consistency.

And, you just gotta know there are a lot of resentful B, C, D level journalist bloggers who are pissed they have no vig in the blogosphere.

Ironic that they whine about in a newspaper column. Also ironic that bloggers would care about what is said in the newspaper.

Posted by: MarkN at February 14, 2006 2:24 PM

It happened to web sites, and it’s unsurprising that it’s happening to blogs, too. I’m patient, or at least patient enough to know this takes time. No one who starts a new blog today can expect it to be an overnight success. I should know, having begun my one on January 21 and still finding it frequented by between 70 and 150 people a day.

Posted by: Jack Yan at February 14, 2006 2:32 PM

Agreed, Jack. I only wish blogs and PCs had all been invented 20 years earlier.

Posted by: hugh macleod at February 14, 2006 4:05 PM

Would like to join.

Posted by: Larry Smith at February 14, 2006 7:08 PM

What's unfair...

1. When Telefonica lies to me - every time I COMPLAIN about their crap service - a near daily occurrence
2. When tech companies establish walled gardens inside which favoured hacks - like those at NYT/WSJ get briefed in advance of the rest of us who have an interest in what those companies do
3. When Landrover sends out a seriously crap car and ignores people who COMPLAIN about it despite the safety implications
4. When packaged application providers raise their maintenance costs at a time when my need for support is in decline - but when their sales models are collapsing...read Oracle/PeopleSoft/SAP
5. When the London Times misrepresents a blogger as racist and then fails to issue an unequivocal retraction.

If those things are of interest to you, talk about them on blogs, with passion and authority. Who knows, someone like Scoble might agree with you, make a fuss and attract attention on your behalf. Or not.

And let's just be very very cloear here. You try getting an unequivocal retraction out of mainsrteam media? It just doesn't happen. I should know, I have been part of that world for many years. It's repugnant. It's arrogant. It's shameful.

At least there is a 'list' however unfair it may seem where YOU can have your say - mostly at least.

Here's one Hugh - it's virtually impossible to successfully copy a plan. I have no way of knowing what goes on in another person's mind and never will. It's my secret desire to be a genuine mindreader yet so many of us try and do that every day.

It's really that simple. It's one of the reasons your ideas surprise me from time ot time - even if I do think some of them are barking. But then I won't profess to 'get it' first time around on most things.

And Jack's right on. I made a total balls up of my first attempts at this medium. Because I ASSUMED certain rules I knew applied in one world would apply in another. Doh. I learned.

Posted by: Dennis Howlett at February 14, 2006 7:20 PM

Nobody blogging on the lower lists should really be surprised or complain that life in blogging turns out to be just like life outside of blogging.

The article does talk about the "power-law distribution" which is real, but all it means is that as a race we behave like sheep because we're cowards most of the time.

Posted by: Verne Gripes at February 14, 2006 7:23 PM

Write something interesting and people will read it. Simple to say, hard to do.
Has everyone given up on coComment yet?

Posted by: Patrick Dodds at February 14, 2006 11:05 PM

@Patrick - no - as a matter of fact I'm having lots of fun with CoComment.

@Hugh - I don't know whether it's something Laurent has done, or something that always worked, but when you open a post from a full link (i.e. the "permalink") the comment form is in-line, and CoComment can pick it up (like this one ...).

Posted by: Ric at February 15, 2006 7:59 AM

To me, and I'm writing only about what's interesting to me (music and design), getting a few people every day reading my blogs is great. I live in a nation of 300.000 and here 80 unique hits a day is considered a lot. If I had an audience of a few hundred thousand I'd quit blogging and start a cult.

Posted by: Egill at February 15, 2006 8:43 AM

This is a really interesting article, in same ways it is easy to say some blogs will be more popular than others but surely there are ways we could improve the visibilty of the smaller blogs? BAPI has been set up to look at exacly this sort of issue and we'd be pleased to get your views on this.

Posted by: Rob - BAPI at February 15, 2006 9:42 AM

Blogs are created like men. Some are more equal than others, thus the inequality. Yes, does size matter?

I am already drowning in all sorts of interesting stuff out there, and what may interest me, may only interest a handful of people. I do not read the A-list blogs anyhow, whatever the A-list is. I filter a lot and I may miss a lot of good stuff. The good mining tools are still missing.

Some people inspire or entertain me, others do not.

Blogging is just a publishing tool available to every half wit with a PC and Internet access. I am still experimenting what good this is going to be for me, but the jury is till out.

Inequality is sort of a good thing.

Posted by: Cairo Otaibi at February 15, 2006 1:18 PM

Any blogger who obsesses with link pop, authority ratings, traffic, blog site stats, A and F lists, clinking (clique/cul-de-sac linking)...is a moron.

Hardcore Bloggers don't give a fig about number of comments posted at their blog, nor how many RSS subscribers they've got, or lost after posting a controversial article.

Hardcore Bloggers blog because, like all great artists, they *must*.

They are in no popularity contest.

Hardcore Bloggers persist, and watch the flakey bloggers fall like flies.

Posted by: steven e. streight the Vaspersian Humachine Arche-blogger at February 15, 2006 7:19 PM

Amen to that!

Posted by: Egill at February 16, 2006 9:34 AM