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Archive for July, 2006

The Long Tail makes big waves

Posted on July 30, 2006 by Roland

A few days ago, I wrote about The Wrong Tail, an analysis by Slate of Chris Anderson’s last book. Since then, there were hundreds of other comments about this book, including the own Slate’s long tail which confirmed Anderson’s views about the distribution of cultural contents. But, in It May Be a Long Time Before the Long Tail Is Wagging the Web, Lee Gomes, from The Wall Street Journal gave some strong arguments against the Long Tail. And of course, this started another controversy…

So let’s start with Julia Turner’s analysis of Slate’s readership on July 18, 2006. This online magazine is now 10 years old, and the 33,000 articles in their archives are freely available to everyone — including to search engines. And this is explains why the traffic at Slate follows a long tail scheme.

On that day, Slate got about 1.9 million hits, but Turner reduced this number to 659,378 page views after eliminating specific hits on the page. And here is what she discovered.

I figured out that 8,903 articles attracted at least one page view that day. The 13 most popular articles accounted for 50 percent of Slate’s traffic, and the top 100 articles accounted for 86 percent. But our least-popular stories got plenty of notice. Seventeen percent of our traffic was generated by pieces that got fewer than 1,000 hits, 8.7 percent was generated by pieces that got fewer than 100, and just under 3 percent was earned by pieces that had fewer than 10.

If you read Turner’s article, you’ll see a diagram showing “a nice-looking tail.”

But if the concept works fine for Slate and its large catalog of old indexed articles, it doesn’t seem work so well for other companies mentioned by Anderson in his book. Here are some excerpts from the article mentioned above from Lee Gomes.

Let’s start this discussion where Mr. Anderson starts his book, with his discovery of what he calls a paradigm-changing statistic. In the introduction, he tells how he learns from Ecast, a music-streaming company, that 98% of its catalog gets played at least once a quarter — much more than most would predict

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But this “98 Percent Rule,” as Anderson named it, is far to be “universal,” as he notes in his book. Here is one Gomes’s comment about it.

Ecast told me that now, with a much bigger inventory than when Mr. Anderson spoke to them two years ago, the quarterly no-play rate has risen from 2% to 12%. March data for the 1.1 million songs of Rhapsody, another streamer, shows a 22% no-play rate; another 19% got just one or two plays.

And here are two other examples showing that the Long Tail phenomenon — or at least the “98 Percent Rule” are not always valid — to say the least.

Bloglines, the widely used blog-reading tool, lists 1.2 million blogs; real ones, not computer-generated “spam blogs.” The top 10% of feeds grab 88% of all subscriptions. And 35% have no current subscribers at all — there’s clearly no 98 Percent Rule in the blogosphere.

At Apple’s iTunes, one person who has seen the data — which Apple doesn’t disclose — said sales “closely track Billboard. It’s a hits business. The data tend to refute ‘The Long Tail.’”

Of course, this article, published by one of the most prestigious newspapers – and not by a blogger – was heavily commented. But as I don’t want to be too long, here is one from Ed Sim, at BeyondVC, “How long is the Long Tail?” Not only Sim delivered his own comments, but his post contains links to an Anderson’s reply and a long comment from Gomes.

After reading all this, do you think that the Long Tail concept is valid — even for contents distribution? Please tell me what you think.

Source: Julia Turner, Slate, July 24, 2006; Lee Gomes, The Wall Street Journal, July 26, 2006; Ed Sim, BeyondVC, July 26, 2006

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A fresh look at French blogs

Posted on July 28, 2006 by Roland

In France’s mysterious embrace of blogs, Thomas Crampton, from the International Herald Tribune, tries to understand why there are at least 3 million French bloggers. Instead of drowning us under an avalanche of statistics, Crampton chose to talk with some well-known French bloggers. So his article is more entertaining than a Gartner survey — and probably as accurate. But read more…

If Crampton’s ‘qualitative’ approach is interesting, it also have some limits: he didn’t talk with the average French blogger who might also have something to say. But obviously, it’s hard to talk with 3 million people…

So here are some short quotes, starting with Loïc Le Meur, from Six Apart, a company which sells blogging software and services.

“With so many blogs, I’m hoping for fewer protests and strikes in Paris this fall,” said Loïc Le Meur. “If people can express themselves online, then maybe they don’t need to block the streets.”

This is a good line, but a real explanation of why French are blogging might be cultural and related to the French national character.

“It is clear that in France we have very large egos and love to speak about ourselves,” Le Meur said. “If you look at Germans or Scandinavians — offline and on the Internet — they really don’t talk about themselves.”

Then Crampton turns to the utilization  of blogs by French politicians.

“You cannot be elected president of France without a blog,” said Benjamin Griveaux, director of Web strategy for Dominique Strauss-Kahn, a former finance minister who in 2004 was among the first politicians to start a blog. “Blogs have not replaced traditional media, but they are absolutely necessary for every politician.”

Crampton also looks at Ségolène Royal, who might be a candidate in the next French presidential elections.

The French Socialist presidential hopeful Ségolène Royal started a blog in February that has had more than half a million visitors and 20,000 comments, and it has been credited with lifting membership of the Socialist Party. The blog includes a draft version of her political platform, which citizens are invited to comment on before it is completed.

Here I must say I disagree with Crampton. Désirs d’avenir, the so-called Royal’s blog, is more a collection of forums than a blog. In fact, this is a small company, with a six-member editorial committee and about 60 persons participating to the life of the web site.

But even if it’s not really a blog, it gives Royal a new way to communicate with the French population.

So I have a question for you: do you think that “Désirs d’avenir” is a blog or not? Please tell me what you think — and enjoy Crampton’s article.

[Note: for an unknown reason, the direct link to Crampton’s article doesn’t return the full contents with Internet Explorer even if it’s fine with Firefox. This is why I chose to give you the link to the printable version.]

Source: Thomas Crampton, International Herald Tribune, July 27, 2006

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The Wrong Tail

Posted on July 23, 2006 by Roland

When Chris Anderson, the Wired editor-in-chief, wrote about the Long Tail in October 2004, many of us realized that some business models have changed — and even disappeared. The fact that companies such as Amazon were making money by selling only a few copies of millions of different items was a revelation at this time. The old model of best-sellers was disappearing because of the collective power of online buyers worldwide. But now, Anderson has published a book about the Long Tail and Tim Wu has analyzed it for Slate in The Wrong Tail. Of course, I couldn’t resist to use such a title. But more seriously, Wu argues that Anderson has turned “a great theory of inventory economics into a bad theory of life and the universe.” Read more…

First of all, Anderson was probably so happy with the catchy expression he coined two years ago that he tried to use it for everything. But in fact, the “long tail” phenomenon is only valid for cultural goods, such as books, music tunes or digital movies. And why? Because this phenomenon has limits. Here are Wu’s explanations.

What are the Long Tail’s limits? As a business model, it matters most 1) where the price of carrying additional inventory approaches zero and 2) where consumers have strong and heterogeneous preferences. When these two conditions are satisfied, a company can radically enlarge its inventory and make money raking in the niche demand. […] It doesn’t cost much to add another song to iTunes—having 10,000 songs available costs about the same as having 1 million.

So, the Long Tail phenomenon can be appropriately applied to the distribution of cultural products. But what about other distribution sectors? Would we like to have several thousands types of gasoline available at our service stations? And would we benefit from a million operating systems for our computers? Certainly not. And the oil companies and the software industry are certainly not ready to invest in a project that will bring them a thousand customers but will cost them billions of dollars.

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Wu also uses the example of eBay to show how the Long Tail concept can be misused.

Anderson says that eBay “is both the Long Tail of products and the Long Tail of merchants.” But eBay is easy to understand without picking up The Long Tail: It lowers the transaction costs of buying and selling used goods, whether they’re niche products or not. If you call that a Long Tail, then the word means nothing more than “make easier to buy.” And then everything from the Yellow Pages, to paper money, to my real estate agent has suddenly grown a Long Tail.

As a conclusion, the concept of the Long Tail is valid for some distribution sectors, but not all. As notes Wu, Anderson has turned “a powerful idea into a dubious theory of everything.” Do you agree with him? What’s your take on this subject? Please tell me what you think.

Sources: Tim Wu, for Slate, July 21, 2006; and various other web sites

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Interview: Howard Rheingold

Posted on July 21, 2006 by Roland

Howard Rheingold is the well-known author of Smart Mobs and many other books describing the evolution of our societies. His last book predicted the transformation of our society into a mobile one. Four years later, and with thousands of posts published on the collective blog organized around this theme, his forecast is more than confirmed. As one of the futurologists who can detect the emerging technology trends behind our daily lives, I wanted to know what Howard is thinking in 2006. And he was kind enough to agree for an interview which was conducted by e-mail in mid-June. Below are large excerpts from our exchange.

Before starting this interview, you need to know Howard. Here is a recent picture of him talking with his students (Credit for photo: Justin Hall).

Howard talking with his students

Now, let’s listen to Howard.

Roland: Can you tell us about the major changes you saw during these four years?

Howard: On the mobile front, we’re seeing explosive diffusion of the basic technology, the mobile phone — close to three billion of them now, in a world with six billion people. More than 100 million of the phones are also cameras. A trillion SMS messages in 2005.

And of course the use of these technologies to mobilize collective action continued after my book was published — the citizen journalist service OhmyNews coordinated a last-minute online get-out-the-vote campaign that tipped the Korean presidential election, and the Spanish elections were also tipped by a phone-to-phone text message campaign.

The rise of the blogosphere, the Howard Dean campaign, the emergence of Wikipedia, continued growth of open source software, the success of James Surowiecki’s book “The Wisdom of Crowds,” the publication of Steve Weber’s “The Success of Open Source,” Pierre Levy’s “Collective Intelligence,” Yochai Benkler’s “The Wealth of Networks,” the rise of citizen journalist and citizen news-sharing sites like Digg and Reddit, the role of text-messages in breaking news of the SARS epidemic in China, the dramatic cameraphone images sent directly to the Web from the site of the London tube bombing, the collective emergence response online to the Asian tsunami and Hurricane Katrina disasters, the role of blogs and SMS in the civil disturbances across France in 2005, the success of YouTube and Google Video, del.icio.us and Flickr, are all evidence that smartmob phenomena continues to grow.

The power of the technologies packed into mobile devices continues to multiply, the diffusion of devices to all parts of the world and socioeconomic strata broadens, the spread of knowledge about how to use technologies to organize political, economic, social, cultural collective action quickens.

It is in the convergence of the technical, cognitive, and social forces generates that the real power of smart mobs — for both constructive and destructive.

Roland: Do you think that some parts of the world are left behind this (r)evolution? And is there anything we can do with things such as $100 PCs or $20 phones?

Howard: Inexpensive phones and pay-as-you go services are already spreading mobile phone technology to many parts of that world that never had a wired infrastructure. In terms of the people who had been left behind by previous technology revolutions, the mobile phone has already reached more people from more different walks of life than the PC or Internet did. As chips grow more powerful, even the least expensive phones will become cameras and Internet terminals.

The most important benefit of affordable PCs, phones, and bandwidth is encouraging the growth of literacies in the use of ICTs for the purposes of the poorest people in the world. The diffusion of the physical technologies is already being driven by the market.

Roland: Do you have any recipes for a better world, regarding such issues as energy, environment, education or even politics?

Howard: Pay attention. Practice compassion. ;-)

Of course, I believe that open technologies like the Internet promote innovation and provide political, economic, and cultural opportunities to entire populations that used to be reserved for elites, and I fear that the current efforts by incumbent wealth and power holders might successfully enclose what was once open.

Extension of copyright into every realm, digital rights management building control into cultural products, trusted computing baking control into the hardware itself, the death of net neutrality recentralizing control of the formerly radically decentralized network — all these battles in political arenas, financed by huge amounts of money, are going the way of the powers-that-be.

I don’t think there’s anything inherently democratic in new media. Many-to-many communication and commons based peer production will produce social and economic capital only if large numbers of people understand what is at stake in these esoteric techno-regulatory conflicts and take the power that is temporarily theirs into their hands and do something with it.

Roland: Where will we be in 2010? Do you see a new massive trend emerging (or more than one) affecting the whole world?

Howard: This business with climate change is going to be a lot more obvious, the odds of very big terrorist or natural disasters goes up, and it isn’t at all clear whether authoritarian states will be able to use the surveillance powers of our otherwise wonderfully empowering and democratic communication network to institute systems of control far more effective than Orwell’s obsolete visions. Much will depend upon which way the battle for open systems goes.Openness and participation are antidotes to surveillance and control.

Roland: What is the future of your blog? and of the blogs in general? Do you see something new coming?

Howard: I maintain more and more blogs every year. ;-) I am the cheerleader for two communities of bloggers (including yourself, of course): smartmobs and cooperationcommons. I use wikis for the courses I teach in participatory media at University of California and Stanford. I use social bookmarking and phototagging and video sharing services every day. I certainly hope something new doesn’t come along too quickly. I still need to get into podcasting and web video. Anything more will require doubling the number of hours in my day.

Roland: Can you give us some tips or advises about the immediate future?

Howard: The enlightenment is under attack. Wake up to the necessity for preserving democracy, science, and open access to the means of cultural production and distribution.

Roland: Do you plan another book? If yes, what will be the subject?

Howard: Not yet. I’m concentrating on continuing to catalyze an interdisciplinary study of cooperation and collective action, and creating curricula for teaching young people about civic engagement through the use of participatory media. I think I have another couple of years to go before I’m satisfied in either of those realms. But you never know!

Roland: Thank you Howard. And I sure hope to read your next book before 2010!!

[Disclaimer: I’m a member of the editorial board of the Smart Mobs blog where I wrote a weekly press review.]

Sources: Howard Rheingold, June 15, 2006; and additional links

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The first blogger ‘dooced’ in France

Posted on July 19, 2006 by Roland

We all know that bloggers can be ‘dooced’ — or fired — because of their blogs. Until now, this phenomenon was pretty much limited to the U.S. and the UK. But yesterday, the Daily Telegraph reported that a 33-year-old British secretary working in Paris, France, ‘petite anglaise,’ had been sacked by her company because of her personal blog. She will sue her employer, British accountancy firm Dixon Wilson, and ask for a financial compensation of up to two years’ salary. Read more…

Before looking at the Telegraph report, here is how ‘petite anglaise‘ announced that she was fired.

I was “dooced” today. Suspended without pay, pending a dismissal meeting in ten day’s time. Asked to collect my belongings together and leave the building immediately. The words “faute grave” were used. Translated into English: gross misconduct.

In fact, even if the punishment is largely disproportionate, she was aware of the risks. In October 2004, she wrote about what could happen if her boss was reading her blog. Here is an excerpt of a post titled risky business.

As for my own boss reading this blog? It is my worst fear. He’s an expat it the land of the Frogs, as is his wife, so you never know whether one day their internet surfing might wash them up on these shores. I imagine the main issue my employer would have with my blogging would be to establish whether I post on company time.

And this is what she did, at least occasionally, according to Colin Randall, who wrote about ‘petite anglaise’ both in the Telegraph and in his own blog.

She admits that she sometimes worked on her blog in office time but only when she had no work to do. “Other employees would often read books at their desk if things were quiet.”

Catherine[, her Christian name,] also admits twice taking half a day off work, after citing nanny problems, when she had arranged to meet a boyfriend. But she said there had been no complaints about her work.

And Randall adds that she never named her employer. However, But partners at [her company] alleged that she made herself and therefore the firm identifiable by including her own photograph on the weblog. So they sacked her and gave her five minutes to pack her belongings and leave the building where she worked. After the initial shock, she decided to sue her former employer.

Her lawyer has lodged a claim, one of the first of its kind in France, with the prud’hommes — a French employment tribunal — claiming compensation of up to two years’ pay, or about £54,000.

Will she win? I don’t know, but the reasons for firing her seem weak. However, it reminds us that even if you use a pseudonym, it is always better to tell your management that you’re having a blog.

Sources: Colin Randall, The Daily Telegraph, July 18, 2006; and various other web sites

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Do you know your ‘Page Strength’?

Posted on July 17, 2006 by Roland

The Google PageRank is a good indicator of the popularity of your web site or of your blog. But this metrics changes sometimes. So, SEOmoz, a company based in Seattle, WA, and which provides search engine optimization services, decided to release a new tool named Page Strength. This tool uses various indicators, including Google Pagerank, to give your site a note between 0 and 10.

The Page Strength tool aggregates various pieces of information about an URL you submit, such as the number of links found in Wikipedia or at Yahoo! pointing to it, and gives you back a unique number. Unfortunately, SEOmoz, like Google, doesn’t release the algorithm it uses to compute this note.

In Page Strength versus PageRank: Why care?, Michael Martinez, who also wrote PageRank: Where it helps, where it doesn’t help, and other facts, comments on the Page Strength tool. Here are some short quotes.

If PageRank is not the universal eye-on-Google many people want it to be, will Page Strength be a universally useful tool that can replace it? I don’t think so. PageRank was devised for the purpose of helping to organize the data of a specific search engine. It is generally assumed that Yahoo!, MSN, and Ask all embrace some aspects of PageRank’s core citation-philosophy, each with the intention of helping to organize their own data.

Page Strength doesn’t influence your search rankings. But it provides a snapshot of what your general coverage in terms of visibility, connectivity, and overall Web Presence seems to be.

Of course, I checked the Page Strength tool for my blogs.

This one, that you’re currently reading, has a Google PageRank of 6/10 (today), but got only a 3/10 note with the Page Strength tool, which also sent me this comment.

Although not a considerable presence, your site/page is making inroads online. Visitor traffic and search engine visibility is within your grasp.

My other blog, Roland Piquepaille’s Technology Trends, was luckier. It got a Page Strength index of 7.5/10 while its Google PageRank is 7/10. And SEOmoz sent me the following comment.

You’re running with the big brands and sites, making content that engines and visitors can’t help but gobble up. All that’s left now is to leverage your power and push ever onwards, towards utter ubiquity.

Now, if you read this, try the tool with your site or your blog, and send me the results. It should be fun!

Source: SEOmoz, July 2006

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Russia had 5 million bloggers once

Posted on July 14, 2006 by Roland

According to the Moskow Times in “Proletarian Bloggers Celebrate a Milestone,” the newspaper Sovietskaya Rossia recently celebrated its 50th birthday. Its motto, “Talking with the people in the people’s own voice,” says it all. Even if the newspaper’s circulation is now around 300,000, down from 4.5 million at the end of the 1980s, half of its contents is written by its readers. So were they bloggers, writers, or informants?

Please note that the full article is no longer available online in its entirety. So here are some short excerpts about this phenomenon from the past.

The tradition of the people’s correspondent — a kind of proletarian blogger — has survived the Soviet collapse thanks largely to Soviet stalwarts such as Sovietskaya Rossia and Pravda, which welcome letters, essays and poetry from the amateur scribes. Around half of Sovietskaya Rossia’s content, for example, is penned by readers and people’s correspondents.

And this tradition is pretty old. In fact it started shortly in 1919…

The tradition of people’s correspondents — including “worker correspondents,” known as rabkory, and “agriculture correspondents,” known as selkory — began shortly after the Bolsheviks seized power. In 1919, Vladimir Lenin told Pravda to organize a network of rabkory, and by 1926, Leon Trotsky was addressing 580 delegates representing around 500,000 rabkory and selkory at the Third All-Union Congress of Rabkory.

“These are journalists who can report exactly what is happening on the factory floors, and since they are workers themselves, they know more about the subject than a normal journalist would,” said Sergei Rudakov, a people’s correspondent and Communist official from Voronezh. “The only difference is that they don’t get paid.”

And there were lots of contributors to Russian newspapers at this time.

Several million people worked as people’s correspondents in their heyday. At the 17th Party Congress in 1934, Stalin said there were more than 3 million worker and agriculture correspondents.

This gives some new lights about what is called now “citizen journalism,” isn’t? Of course, you can argue about the value of an information sent to a newspaper when Stalin ruled Russia… So what do you think of these millions of “people’s correspondents,” as they were called?

Source: Carl Schreck, The Moskow Times, July 3, 2006

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Some reasons why businesses don’t blog

Posted on July 12, 2006 by Roland

In The 12 reasons why UK businesses don’t blog, the UK firm E-consultancy.com looks at why businesses and brands are reluctant to use blogs. Many of these top reasons are valid for other countries as well. For example, you might be the CEO and be afraid that your employees start to write inappropriate things. Or simply, your PR agency or yourself don’t understand what a business blog would bring to your company. But read more for my favorite reasons…

Chris Lake, the author, writes that to the contrary to what happens in the US, UK and European marketers are ignoring blogs. And he decided to find why. Here are two of these reasons.

You think it is too risky to allow your colleagues to write blog posts.

Maybe it is. But it probably isn’t, with appropriate guidance and a little prior training in the arts of SEO and copywriting.

You set the guidelines, the subject matter, the overall content framework. They will abide by those rules, because that’s what employees are generally good at (the ones who aren’t good at obeying rules tend to become ex-employees rather quickly).

Well, this is pretty straightforward. But let’s jump to the final possible motive for not starting a business blog.

You think blogging isn’t right for your business.

You might be right. But at least be aware of the benefits of blogging before you make this call. Remember that you do not have to talk exclusively about your business on your blog, nor give away any trade secrets. Nobody cares that you got a new printer for your office, and that it makes a whirring noise that is annoying everybody. They do care about what you have to say about subjects relevant to your business, your products, your policies…

Lake also links to a list of British corporate/brand blogs compiled by Suw Charman from Corante.

What do you think of these reasons for avoiding business blogs? Are they valid in your country? Do you know about additional ones preventing a company or a brand to start a blog?

Source: Chris Lake, for E-consultancy.com, July 5, 2006

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Blogging takes lots of time

Posted on July 9, 2006 by Roland

This is one of the conclusions of a survey published by Nora Ganim Barnes, from the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth. Her report, Behind the Scenes in the Blogosphere (PDF format, 60 pages, 1.32 MB) suggests that blogs will make or break your business. Here are the major — and somewhat unsurprising — conclusions of this report which was conducted with the help of of 74 business bloggers: Blogs take time and commitment; Blogs must be part of a plan; A blog is a conversation; Transparency, authenticity, and focus are good, but bland is bad.

Before going any further, here is the introduction of this long — but very interesting — report.

Blogs will make or break your business. They have the power to disseminate information and host global conversations on any topic. Every publication from Business Week, Forbes, and the Wall Street Journal […] warns businesses that blogging is not an optional endeavor. Those that don’t will not survive.

As it’s pretty difficult to summarize such a dense report, I’ve decided to include only two images extracted from this survey. The first one shows you how much time a successful business blogger spends on his/her blog on a average day (Credit: Nora Ganim Barnes).

Time spent on a blog per day

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This second diagram is even more interesting because it tells you that the vast majority of the bloggers interviewed for this survey don’t see any downside for having a blog — except that they spend lots of time to manage it(Credit: Nora Ganim Barnes).

Downside effect for having a blog

And from the conclusions of this must-read report, here is a short quote from the author which summarizes her thoughts.

Blogging takes time, commitment, and honesty. In return connections are made that are personal and strong. Blogs are not a fad. They are no longer even an option. Those businesses that choose to remain outside this online conversation, will be sidelined. Eventually they will become extinct.

Do you agree with these conclusions? Does your company or organization have a blog? And if not, why? Please tell me what you think.

Source: Nora Ganim Barnes, Chancellor Professor of Marketing, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, June 2006

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Gunfight at Gawker Media Corral

Posted on July 6, 2006 by Roland

Last week, Nick Denton, the founder of Gawker Media, a mini-empire of blogs, made some announcements which shocked the blogosphere. He decided to sell two of his fifteen sites, to reorganize others and to fire some editors. Even the New York Times took notice in “A Blog Mogul Turns Bearish on Blogs.” Now that the dust has fallen, it’s time to realize that blogs are just another publishing medium. And like other medias, they have to listen to the market — the readers. But read more…

Before going further, Nick Denton is the man who founded very well-known blogs such as Gawker, Wonkette or Gizmodo. But some of his other properties were not performing as he wished.

Let’s turn the New York Times article for some details.

As of last Friday, Sploid, a tabloid-infested site built on screen shots, and Screenhead, an aggregator of video clips, were put up for sale. Editors at Gawker, Wonkette, Gizmodo, and Gridskipper were moved or replaced. At a time when mainstream media companies are madly baking their own piece of blog pie, Mr. Denton was summarily executing underperformers.

“We are becoming a lot more like a traditional media company,” Mr. Denton said last week. “You launch a site, you have great hopes for it and it does not grow as much as you wanted. You have to have the discipline to recognize what isn’t working and put your money and efforts into those sites that are.”

As you can guess, this kind of article drew many comments, interesting or not. Here are a couple of sources you might want to read. The first one is from Donna Bogatin, a fellow blogger at ZDNet, “The business of blogging vs. the hype of blogging” who wrote that “Denton is a straight-forward, professional take on the need to adapt to the ever changing blogging business.” And here is one of the business reasons who led Denton to rationalize his blogging business.

Operational costs are increasing. For editorial talent, we now pay within the range of mainstream media. Technology expenses are growing even faster. The open-source publishing systems, upon which most weblogs depend, cannot handle larger and more sophisticated sites. The expansion of internet media is inflating costs for services such as ad-serving…

Now, it’s time to look at a comment about the New York Times article itself. This one comes from the Good Morning Silicon Valley blog, “Grouchy, maybe; bearish, no.”

Would you call Denton bearish on blogs, specifically for-profit publications? Nah. Gawker’s part of the blogosphere is now more like the magazine biz with a touch of TV, but without the barrier of huge entry costs, and that means cutting titles and shuffling lineups are likely to be regular occurences and fairly brutal. And bulls can be brutal, too.

In a way, Denton concurs. Here is the last line from the New York Times article: “The barrier to entry in Internet media is low,” he said. “The barrier to success is high.”

So have blogs become mature enough to enter the mainstream media world where reorganizations are considered as normal? Please tell me what you think.

Source: David Carr, The New York Times, July 3, 2006 (Free registration, permanent link); and other web sites

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