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Do Blog Networks Offer Value to the Blogosphere?

Recently an InstaBLOKE reader naveen made the following comment after my rant on blog networks yesterday:

a common reader doesn’t care if any blog is a part of a blog network or not. This is one of the biggest flaws of current blog networks model. Currently they offer no incentive to the readers.

Naveen currently writes for a blog network and I think his comment is a valid one.

It got me thinking about the blog networks in general. The reason that I’m so fixated on blog networks lately is because I recently applied to join the 9rules Network and it’s forced me to reflect on my intentions for doing so.

So I would like to pose the question out there… do the Blog Networks offer any real value to the blogosphere? (I’m speaking about the blogosphere in general here — not just the networks).Or are they just a bunch of self-serving opportunists out to make a fast buck and looking for the big buyout?

In other words, who really benefits? Or perhaps you might think that the issue is entirely moot and this says it all?

Personally I’m in a quandary over this. The only value that I can see is to the greed of individual blogpreneurs and not to the benefit of the blogosphere in general. Not that making money is a bad thing, but I’m not certain if carving up the blogosphere into more a- (b) or (c) lists is necessarily a good thing either.

Do we really need more elitists and big business in the blogosphere? And where will that leave the rest of us commoners? Just readers on the outside looking in?

Then again, every media seems to have its moguls who want to control a bigger piece of the pie. It seems that the blogosphere is no exception.

We are living in interesting times. I would really love to hear what you think about it so please leave us your thoughts.

Filed under: blog, blogging, blogosphere, blog networks, instabloke, business

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  • Written November 6th, 2006 by | 8 Comments | Filed under: Blog Tips, Business Tips, Make Money Tips , ,

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    There are 8 Comments so far to “Do Blog Networks Offer Value to the Blogosphere?”

    1. I think blog networks really benefit… blog networks. If you are a well known blogger, you’d get traffic to your blog anyway. If you are not, probably you won’t participate in one.

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    2. ditto for the above

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    3. I’m with you guys. After the owners take a buyout, the writers who made the network successful will be hung out to dry without even a golden handshake. Maybe perhaps they might get an almost sincere thank you from the soon to be millionaires as they laugh it up sipping margaritas on a tropical beach.

      It happens every time.


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    4. “Do the Blog Networks offer any real value to the blogosphere?”
      Yes, many blog networks do offer great value, and many don`t. This is same of any kind of network or business. Instablogs network, of which I am a part of, does provide a great value to bloggers, readers and blogosphere.

      I totally agree with you that we don’t need elitists in the blogosphere.
      This is one thing I would certainly like to see get changed. These elitist are nothing but early adopters. Most of the times they are just aggregating news from other small blogs adding their small opinion here and there. This is like taking new media back to old media path. I would like to see author of the best story king of the day. Blog networks, social networks can certainly help in this. For eg, Digg , but Digg itself is again suffering from elitists tyranny.

      Making money is not bad; it’s actually good for everyone. Most web 2.0 startup fails because they don’t have any revenue model. You will be surprise to hear that most, I mean 90% of the blog networks are not making any money either for themselves or for other bloggers. Only a handful are able to do so, and if the blog networks owners are being opportunist, they should be , that’s why we join their blog networks.

      Well, for an individual blogger, it’s quite tough to publicize himself or herself as we are witnessing the birth of so many blogs everyday. And, it’s comparatively easy to join under an umbrella since you will get the valued guidance and can easily grasp the on-going trend, which you call SEO, or advertising deals, Pagerank etc. This helps us getting steady revenue and while concentrating on things we enjoy best, i.e. writing.

      One thing more, I am a guy, so you should use “him” for me, not “her”

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    5. As always with these types of questions, it really varies by the network and the model. 9rules was the first “blog network” to do things a new way, sort of re-invent the blog community & aggregator portal, and because of that we focus on much different things than everyone else. We concentrate on building value internally which drives readers to 9rules.com, which in turn drives readers to our member sites. We have to continually turn up the notch on 9rules.com with innovative new features, new ways of browsing content, new ways to engage our audiences because that’s the real core that builds our brand preception. With WIN and other WIN-model networks, they are managing 50 or 100 mini-brands that they’re trying to grow in parallel, so it’s tougher from a brand-building standpoint. They succeed if their individual blogs build a large readership and we (and our members) succeed with 9rules as a company growing in readership.

      Quote from jessie:

      “After the owners take a buyout, the writers who made the network successful will be hung out to dry without even a golden handshake.”

      One of the things I thought was cool about the Weblogs, Inc. buyout (the only blog network buyout that’s happened yet) is that the editor of their flagship blog Engadget had an equity stake in WIN as a company, and was made a millionaire instantly. I don’t think many networks can say that their writers are given shares in the company ;)

      “So I would like to pose the question out there… do the Blog Networks offer any real value to the blogosphere? (I’m speaking about the blogosphere in general here — not just the networks).”

      I can’t speak for other networks, but providing value for readers around the world is the #1 focus of 9rules. We’re not constantly building the 457th gadget blog or the 234th gossip blog, we’re finding good blogs that are already out there and giving them the spotlight and the audience they deserve. Most of the sites we bring into 9rules have a tremendously small audience (but an amazing amount of quality articles) and our goal is to give them the ability to reach more people. 9rules was started because it’s tough to find great blogs out of the millions out there, and that’s what we wanted to do. We don’t create new blogs, we don’t slap 3 AdSense boxes on our stuff, we don’t try to trick or fool our readers, we just try to get great content in the hands of people who appreciate it.

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    6. Naveen: Fixed “her” is now a “him”, and my apologies.

      Thanks for dropping by Mike and being a good sport. So what’s up with my application. ;-)

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    7. I think Mike ought to be running for public office. Reading between the lines of his carefully worded comment I think the obvious answer to the question is what the first commenter said:

      “I think blog networks really benefit… blog networks.”

      Nuff said.

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    8. You can read more of the conversation over at Darren Rowse’s blog (starting at comment #24).

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