Do you remember those things that we called Blog Networks? You might have paid attention or you might have went about your life like nothing changed and that’s one of the reasons why they failed. ‘Failed’ might be a harsh term to use, but of the hundreds of blog networks that started in 2005 and 2006 which ones are thriving and by ‘thriving’ I don’t mean staying above surface?
But why did they fail? Were they just cool because anyone could start one and it was a sweet buzzword to associate yourself with for a while? It is not that hard to understand why they didn’t live up to the hype that they created for themselves. All you have to do is look at what makes a single blog successful:
- Great content. Great can mean insightful or great can mean entertaining, but if you lack it then you will lack an audience. This is the basic principle of any great blog.
- Interaction. Some of the greatest blogs have an interaction between the writer and the audience that don’t make the blog a site anymore, but a community.
- Luck. It does take some timing and luck to make it big as well. There is no sure fire success plan. Arrington hit the wave at the right time.
Most of the blog networks lacked these basic qualities. If you can’t get one blog to become a success how can you expect to make a lot of little blogs a success? How many blog networks can say they make as much as TechCrunch or boingboing in a month or hell maybe even a year? The Long Tail definitely serves a purpose here, but only if you are to become part of the fat end.
If you are to make money off of these sites you need them to make it big. When AOL began dropping WIN blogs it shouldn’t have come as any surprise because they have to look at the bottom line. Same can be said when b5media closes a site although I’m pretty sure they said they would never do such a thing. Point is, if you start a blog network and its intention is to make money you have to do it the right way and there is simply no money in tiny blogs that require resources just like there is no big money in investing in penny stocks.
But in all honesty what average person even cared if a site was part of a blog network when most of them have no meaning? For example, if you have a 9rules leaf on your site to some people that means something. It could mean:
- Great content.
- Quality site.
- Leader in niche.
- Member of a highly elitist clique who are full of themselves.
Either way the leaf means something and even then many of the readers of our Member sites could care less if they are part of 9rules or not because they care about the site. How can a blog network make its readers care about the network itself though? I’m not so sure it can. People don’t care about WIN, they care about Engadget. People don’t focus on Gawker Media, they focus on Gawker the site.
All the blog networks after WIN and Gawker spent so much time trying to make something from little bits and pieces that they forgot to evaluate what might be important to them. You can build 100s of sites, but what does that change? It just means you have 100s of sites to micro-manage now which takes away your resources.
Many blog network owners knew this yet they continued to push on and add more sites before making any of the previous ones relevant. Almost like how project managers add more coders to a project thinking it will get done faster.
So why did blog networks fail? If you haven’t figured it out yet you probably still run one yourself.
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Originally posted on February 21, 2007 @ 7:07 pm