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Blog News Aggregators: What’s the Point?

The Great Echo Chamber:

In typically contrarian style I’ve been struggling a long time with a conundrum that has been spinning round and round in my head. So this time the Bloke has a question of his own to ask.

I’ve been grappling with why a-list blogs are so popular, and it seems to me that many of them are little more than what I would call blog news aggregators (no I don’t mean newsfeed aggregators, aka newsreader software either).

I mean, all they do basically is just collect the news from various sources and regurgitate it. So I have to ask myself, can’t I get the same information by subscribing to the original sources like CNN, Yahoo News, Google News, Reuters, et al? (Rhetorical question).

In fact, isn’t that where these a-list bloggers are getting get their information from? Of course it is. (For a complete list of news sources you can check out the Bloke’s News Blog and TECHBloke).

Now some might argue that these blogs don’t just regurgitate, they also filter the information. Well, my comeback might be something like… can’t I do the same thing with the filters in my newsreader?

Answer: Of course I can.

Some are also what I would call web information scrapers, cutting and pasting bits and pieces that can be found by googling the net according to their particular niche. Whilst others are just dusting off old books from their bookshelves and throwing their own spin on it. And then to add injury to insult they aggregate their best posts and make a book out of it.

Another rhetorical question: Doesn’t this remind you of the good old days when during an insomniac attack you watched those late night paid-for TV shows selling their booklets chock full of information that is readily available at the local library?

Everything old is new again. It’s kinda like the Beatles regurgitating the same old songs every time a new technology came out. First it was LPs, then it was remastered and direct-to-disk records, then it was tape, CD, DVD, MP3 and so on and so forth. Paul McCartney laughed all the way to the bank (and now it’s Heather Mills turn who is determined to take a big chunk of that change, so who is laughing now).

Every time a new technology comes along somebody thinks of a way to recycle money out of the unsuspecting’s pockets. Now it’s the blogosphere’s turn.

So the million dollar question is if I can find the same information (like I know that I can), why then are these blogs so popular? What’s the point?

Is it perhaps because their subscribers don’t know where to find the information for themselves? Just wondering.

It’s no wonder why they call the blogosphere the Great Echo Chamber. But even better perhaps we should be calling it the Great Regurgitator/Recycler?


Filed under: instabloke, blog, blogging, blog resources

Written December 22nd, 2006 by | 6 Comments | Filed under: Miscellaneous Blog Tips ,

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There are 6 Comments so far to “Blog News Aggregators: What’s the Point?”

  1. Well, I’m a filter. I read 436 feeds a day right now (which is how I found your post, since I’m subscribed to you). But, that takes time. So, I build a link blog by “Shift-S’ing” only the interesting stuff in my Google Reader. That ends up to be about 50 posts or so, out of hundreds I read.

    So, I end up saving time for my readers. Oh, and sometimes I post my own news as well thanks to my contacts in the industry.

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  2. Hi Robert. Your point is well taken. I was actually thinking along the lines of the TechCrunch types when I wrote this (I wasn’t referring to you, honestly :)

    Now that I know you are a subscriber (ditto for me as well), I’ll be sure to keep on my toes. BTW, I got you beat on the newsfeeds. I literally subscribe to thousands (filtered of course).

    A very Merry Christmas to you and your family.

    P.s.: In the spirit of Christmas giving, when can I expect a link? (grovelling, grovelling)

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  3. I prefer to do my own filtering.

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  4. I agree, Blog Bloke. As a blog consumer, it is very frustrating.

    Again and again, I find an interesting, honest, and trigeminal blogger (iHOB) with original content, subscribe, and witness the idea flow get cluttered (and eventually choked) with guest posting on similar blogs, inane top 27 lists, regurgitated linkspotting, and whatnot.

    I assume the iHOB enjoyed a couple of bumps in traffic, and like a crack addict, obsessing with the supply became more important than the high. There is a point where it becomes clear that the iHOB is spending more time enacting guidelines from some linkbaiting manual, rather than being the iHOB that drew me to him.

    I wish I could open a hole in the Great Echo Chamber and call in, “Talk amongst yourselves, echoes, echoes, echoes, echoes…” and then let them send only the iHOB-worthy posts out the hole back to me.

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  5. TYPO!!!

    Oops. Sorry. That first sentence in the second paragraph should read:

    Again and again, I find an interesting, honest, and original blogger (iHOB) with original content,

    (I have no idea what “trigerminal” is, or how it infected my post. Please edit if possible. Sorry.)

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  6. No prob. Unfortunately I can only delete comments. Your comments are great and I hope you will drop by again soon.

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