Phil Sim

Web, media, PR and… footy

Blogosphere: The biggest, best beige box of all

One of the reasons I started Squash was so I could better understand the blogosphere. You see, I’m a media tragic. I spend every day of my working life analysing, critiquing, exploring media and how it works. So I thought it was kind of hypocritical for me to be opining on blogs and how they’re going to impact other media when I’d never run one.

I’m certainly glad, I decided to kick off Squash, because I think I’ve already got an infinitely superior understanding to what I had previously.

 For example, had I written a blog at the start of this week on monetising blogs, I would have talked about building a community and gone on to espouse how blogs need to look for new ways to monetise those communities. I still think a lot of blogs, particularly your very niche ones, are going to have to evolve into mini-portals whereby bloggers plug into all manner of widgets and services like social networking tools, specialist search capabilities, e-commerce services and so on into their websites so that they more effectively interact with their communities thereby opening up more opportunities to monetise. That’s what’s happening in traditional media. I haven’t talked to a single media company in the last three years and not had them tell me that they’re wanting to diversify their revenue streams and will examine every possible way of milking every last revenue-generating opportunity out of the community they have built via their core product. I’ll still write a blog on this next week, but I’ll be coming from an entirely different point of view.

What I’ve really come to understand during my four-day blogging career, is a lot of blogs, particularly those that operate in broader, mass-appeal areas like tech, is that their core asset is not a community. The community is “owned” by the collective blogosphere, not any one particular blog. So what is the blog’s core asset then? I think it’s the knowledge, reputation and credibility of the blog’s operator.

Therefore, what needs to be monetised then, is not the blog, but the blogger.
 
There are obvious routes here. Speaking engagements, external writing gigs, etc. Boring. Let’s think outside the square, for a second.

I personally think we’ve gone too far in expecting computers to do all our aggregating, filtering, selection of content. As an old editor, I’ll back my ability to outperform any computer in this regard and I don’t care how friggin good you reckon your algorithm is. Given the right set of tools that make it easy to select and position content, I’d be pretty confident I could out-Google News, Google News and out-memeorandum, memeorandum. 

I believe they way to get the best possible results is with man and machine working together. 

Let me give you an example. I run a sort-of-blog/news site for the football team I follow down here in Australia, the Parramatta Eels. As part of that I aggregate and summarise every news item I manage to find on the team. Google News Alerts are a god-send in helping me to track that content. I tag all that content by player, match and so forth, so if you came to my site and look up a certain player you’ll get an infinitely superior set of results than if you typed that player’s name into any search engine. 

Even more so, if you wanted to know the best 10 sites to visit to keep up to date with the Parramatta Eels, I could deliver you a much better set of results than you’d get with Google/Yahoo/MSN/etc. 

Now wouldn’t it be a good idea for a search engine to make use of this kind of knowledge that’s out there in the blogosphere to influence it’s search results. If I could do a search on Parramatta and as a trusted influencer, drag and drop results around from a search page, bin irrelevant links and add obvious missing pages, and the search engine learned from that and it subsequently influence all related searches, now wouldn’t that be a bloody powerful search tool. The search engine would of course, pay the blogger-cum-trusted influencer a commission on all related search results, giving said blogger another revenue stream on top of their AdSense/advertising revenue. All we’ve done here is just found another way to leverage off the same expertise that we’ve already ascertained is the blogger’s core asset.

It’s not that hard to imagine ways you could apply similar principles to social networking, e-commerce, etc. In actual fact, I’d argue that memeorandum employs this exact process in its aggregation activities, as it uses the reputation of its “white list” of bloggers to influence who it’s monitoring and how highly stories rate.

It appears to be all the rage to try and build the smartest possible big, beige box that you just stick in the corner and magically it generates money. But I’d posit the blogosphere, if it can be effectively tapped into, is almost certainly the smartest, big beige box of all.

Filed under: Blogs, Search

16 Responses

  1. Gabe says:

    Nah, human editors can’t keep up. They are useful, and maybe memeorandum would be somewhat better with them somehow, but the most informed kind of reading will increasingly need to rely in part on algorithms.

    On search: I think you’re onto something. I have my own related idea, which I believe is more general and powerful. I need to blog about it!

    Hey, when you put “white list” in quotes, who were you quoting? Not me. I never decribe a white list, because it doesn’t exist. Right now “Opera Watch” is on tech.memeorandum. I never heard of that blog, and never told my system it could or should pay attention to that site.

  2. Dave Winer is undoubtedly the prime example of blogger self-monetisation. He has parlayed his position at the pointy end of the blogosphere into a huge amount of influence and the odd million-dollar payday.

    I’ll be fascinated to see what you think of Tinfinger’s Parramatta Eels news page (which will be found in the NRL category by doing a subsearch for the parramattaeels tag).

    I wouldn’t be so quick to make claims of your out-Memeoranduming powers. No one “gives” you those tools, you have to build them yourself, as Gabe has done. Show some respect!

  3. Phil Sim says:

    > I wouldn’t be so quick to make claims of your out-Memeoranduming powers. No one “gives” you those tools, you have to build them yourself, as Gabe has done. Show some respect!

    Monty, that’s my whole friggin point. There needs to be a whole, new generation of tools that empower the blogger to provide a deeper, more diverse set of services.

  4. Phil Sim says:

    > Nah, human editors can’t keep up. They are useful, and maybe memeorandum would be somewhat better with them somehow, but the most informed kind of reading will increasingly need to rely in part on algorithms.

    Gabe, I’m not denying that algorithm’s have a place, it just seems to me there is an all or nothing approach when I hybrid approach; ie editors empowered by smart tools, would work even better.

    > On search: I think you’re onto something. I have my own related idea, which I believe is more general and powerful. I need to blog about it!

    Look forward to reading about it!

    > Hey, when you put “white list” in quotes, who were you quoting? Not me. I never decribe a white list, because it doesn’t exist. Right now “Opera Watch” is on tech.memeorandum. I never heard of that blog, and never told my system it could or should pay attention to that site.

    I only put white list in quotes, because I couldn’t quite think of a better phrase to describe the list of bloggers that memeorandum is based on. I’m sure I picked up that phrase around the conversation somewhere..

  5. Blame me for the whitelist thing. I’ve been throwing around that phrase thinking that Gabe had created one, although from what he has said in various places recently I gather it was more of a case of defining an algorithm, pointing it at no more than a handful of sites and letting the algorithm discover and dynamically update its own whitelist. If so, that only increases my respect for what Memeorandum has achieved – although perhaps it says something about the cyclotronic nature of the tech blogosphere that it can be so coherently defined by mere algorithm.

  6. Christopher Coulter says:

    For every good blog set of links, you have zillions of bad ones. It won’t scale, you are talking utopia already, the key to good info-cleaning is always either a database-like query search on good vetted original full-text material, aka Lexis/Nexis, or human-edited material. Having Google or some other search engine spider around and harvest that blog content is the path to global thermonuclear noise generation. Getting blog content OUT of the ‘search engines’ is the first place to start in making ‘search engines’ better.

    But what you call ‘search engines’ are anything but, they are advertising engines, search is just a by-product. And the only way for it to work, is for search engines to have a structure to search for. Your call for toolsets is just a call for structure. Sorry, won’t happen, not in the wild wild web. Always just one more toolset away from perfect utopia, that song and dance is really getting old.

    Human editors can’t keep up? Sorry, but I call that one out, I know many that can, it fact one of the biggest in terms of hits, Drudge is all human. Plus the key is not always in just linking or searching out said material, the key is in original programming and/or reporting. Half the real news isn’t even searchable. Bloggers are just using search engines and tools to avoid hard work, it’s all about being spoon-fed. Finding real info is time-consuming, requiring grand effort, it becomes a profession, aka journalism.

    Gabe created a but a small sample toolset, clunked the self-appointed A-Listers together, playing weight games. If you don’t firewall or “white-list” it, or whatever term you decide, you will quickly end up in a spamfest tar pit. And then another downside, it becomes ‘news’ as everyone just assumes it is, the incestuous nature of blogs just now has an algorithm. And the thing that bugs me, you are jumping into a middle of the “conversation” and it takes a link-nest to get back to the orginial sourcing. It’s like playing that kids game of telephone, coming in the middle, having to work your way all around forwards and backwards to find out the real story. Weighing someones comments on said story as higher than the source material itself is pure chaos.

    And personality? That’s what we have now. Blogs that are little more than biz cards for the branding and marketing of said ego or said company. The key is when the information becomes bigger than the personality, which is already happening in the Nick Denton-style blog networks, “blogs” with regular publishing and update schedules. It’s just the latest wrinkle in internet content generation and gathering, slapping buzzwords on it and calling it a revolution is crazy. Blogs are good for quick hit summary material and great for speed, but in-depth analysis is usually found elsewhere, behind pay “firewalls”.

    Smartest, big beige box of all? Well heavy R&D, Academia, Commercialised Science, Researchers, Historians and Authors are far far smarter than the ego-fed blog scribblings and rant outbursts. Now you have gone wacky. And what it only took 6 posts?🙂

  7. Gabe says:

    Chris, admit it, you’re addicted to my site. You can’t stop talking about it! It’s OK though, you can stop any time.

  8. Christopher Coulter says:

    I have about 75+ direct sources of info that I consult, yours could indirectly vaguely be considered one of them. I am only talking about it, as the blogosphere thinks it’s the best thing since freeze-dried fruit. So a critical analysis of one site, turns into “can’t stop talking about it”? I guess I see things differently. All the best nevertheless.

  9. Phil Sim says:

    Christopher, just to take up one point:
    > Well heavy R&D, Academia, Commercialised Science, Researchers, Historians and Authors are far far smarter than the ego-fed blog scribblings and rant outbursts.

    I think increasingly you’ll find a lot of these people will increasingly become bloggers. As you’ve also said: “Blogs that are little more than biz cards for the branding and marketing of said ego or said company.” None of the above people are the type to shy away from promotion of themselves and their work..

    As you would have read, I think the overall quality of blog is pretty ordinary – there’s endless crap you need to wade through to find a gem. But that’s not to say its always going to be the case and this post was somewhat a little forward thinking…

  10. […] Почему в воздухе? Сегодня же читаю новый рекомендованный Scoble’ом блог, где речь идет примерно о том же и о стратегиях “монетизации” для тех самых экспертов. […]

  11. […] I like what Squash said: What I’ve really come to understand during my four-day blogging career, is a lot of blogs, particularly those that operate in broader, mass-appeal areas like tech, is that their core asset is not a community. The community is “owned” by the collective blogosphere, not any one particular blog. So what is the blog’s core asset then? I think it’s the knowledge, reputation and credibility of the blog’s operator. […]

  12. FotuCCC says:

    Рассылки по форумам
    ICQ 499435203
    EMAIL fmessage2006@mail.ru
    !!!! 5 у.е. тыс. !!!!
    Зачем это нужно:
    Рассылки по форумам – эффективный способ рекламы в
    Интернете на сегодняшний день.
    Сообщение на форуме прочитают от 10 до 25 человек на каждом форуме (а может и гораздо больше).
    И соответственно оно будет повышать ТИЦ И ПР Вашего сайта,
    за счет оставшейся ссылки на Ваш сайт. Также можно произвести только
    регистрацию пользователя что даст также эффект повышения рейтинга сайта.

  13. VeriMigearere says:

    Ðåãèñòðàöèÿ â Áåëûõ Êàòàëîãàõ 8931 êàòàëîã – 30$
    Ïî âñåì âîïðîñàì ñòó÷àòü â ICQ 374551957

    Registratsija v Belyh Katalogah 8931 katalog – 30$ ICQ 374551957

  14. MoreNarodyNaSait says:

    Programma dlia rassilki obievlenii na forumi i blogi baza 170 000 forumov i blogov RU programma Xrumer 4.0! Stoimost 50$ ICQ 374551957

  15. nextna5 says:

    .AVI
    DVD
    100% . 24 ,
    2007 2008 , - !!! http://www.pornonext.ru.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: