The blogging bubble

Blogging is developing into this incestuous industry of bloggers writing about blogging and each other. The resulting spiral has the industry rapidly disappearing up its own fundamental orifice.

Fuelled by the vanity of everyone having their own soapbox, a money engine is emerging where blogging is seldom about anything useful or relevant outside of its own onanistic world. Bloggers are all busy selling advertising and affiliate programs to each other. Their content is on how to blog, or how to make money from the internet which usually involves ... wait for it ... blogging.

The only model offered by 90% of the good advice is to provide content sufficiently interesting to attract readers and thereby generate advertising and affiliate sales revenue. But so often that content is about the act of blogging and the readers attracted are themselves bloggers. Other times the content covers Web 2.0, the internet, and other topics that are really only of interest to those generating the industry. The quintessential example for me is ProBlogger but look at Technorati’s top 100 blogs to see the trend.

The model blog for how it is supposed to work is, for me, Manolo’s shoe blog. The writer had the genius (or good luck) to combine humour, celebrities and fashion shoes, and as a result reportedly makes a good living from it. But the results reported for such blogs are unaudited claims made by those with a vested interest in maintaining the blog frenzy. More importantly there are only a handful of Manolos at the top of a vast pyramid of 15 to 70 million bloggers scrabbling for another hundred readers of their self-absorbed posturing, all chasing the lure of easy money – write a blog and get the cheques.

Clearly this is a self fueling bubble no different to the Dutch tulip frenzy or the dot-com scam. Perhaps the human race will never tire of exposing their thoughts online to a disinterested world. More likely the fad will eventually die away (Who reads this stuff? And where do they find the time? Who actually clicks on the ads?) and with it the revenues, and a much smaller number of sites will remain who actually have a topic to talk about and something to say.


Blogging is a new way of publishing

You made some good points about the negative sides of blogging. But, you failed to realize that blogging is just the new way of publishing. Instead of waiting for some Editor to pick your writing and publish it on newspaper of a magazine, you can publish your throught immediately by yourself.

Eventually, your blog becomes the magazine or newspaper edited and published by yourself. The similar business model of publishing can be followed in blogging industry. As long as you have enough good stuff in your blog, people will come to read it like they would spend 50 cents to buy a daily newspaper. At least blog is free.

The wisely put ad won't hurt your blog as long as the ads are actually related to the blog content. When we think of the ad, we always think of something annoying. That's because of the old model of ad: mass marketing. Broadcasting the message to all the audience. We are smarter now. Just think of the google ad. It picks the ad most related to your content. We have to realize there is some need for the ad. When we would like to buy something or find something, we need information. Ad IS information. As long as they are put in the right place in the right time, they are useful information.

So, cheer up and continue blogging!

as if magazines were all about the publishing industry

I'm not sure you get my point. It seems that so much content out there on blogs is about blogging or the internet. It is as if magazines were all about the publishing industry.

This blog is already a mildly successful magazine (except commercially). When the bubble bursts and the frenzy dies down, people will still want to read about ITIL and IT. But the many blogs about "how to make money on the internet" and "how to blog" and "how to SEO" etc etc will wither and vanish.

With a bit of luck so too will all the blogs about "today Charlene said something so, like, you know..." or "I'm changing my medication because..."

why blog about blog

I see your point. It's a good one.

That makes me think why there a lot of blogs out there talking about how to use blog to make money. Like you said, there aren't many magazine about how to publish a magazine.

Reasons I can think of:

1. Blog is a new industry. Not many people know how to make money out of it. As you said, even your blog didn't make a lot of money. And making money is a major interest of many bloggers. There is a need, there is a provider.

2. Bloggers themselves are the largest body of readers of blogs, if not the only readers. That's sharply different than the publish industry. Editors and authors are far less than the readers.

After the business model of blog is mature and a wider audience can be reached by blog, we will see things change.

Aren't you lot blogging

Aren't you lot blogging about people blogging about blogging? Hmmmm.

Self referential tech

Interesting point, though you exaggerate a bit. I suppose that helps getting readers and bloggers to link and read your ads.

I've seen this phenomena several times in the past, especially when a new software type appears. For example, in the late 80's multi-media presentation software appeared: Aldus Persuasion, ThinkTank More, Microsoft PowerPoint. The main customer for these products (I was in the business) was other technology sales persons.

This was followed closely by media companies who where schlepping those new light (at 9 lbs, plus accessories or 16lb) laptops to sales presentations.

The multi-media features excited the media types and more and more capabilities were developed. For example, in 1992, QuickTime.

Blogging is annoyingly self referential, but it's not as bad as the rest of the social networking phenomena.

Since its all about narcissism anyway, why should this be surprising.

The only slightly odd factor is the expectation of making money from this.

I can't wait for that $1 check!

$1 cheque

You are exactly right about that $1 cheque, and I love the earlier example. I've described in the past how this blog is an experiment in web commerce and how spectacularly unrewarding it is. I'm working on more rewarding models.

So I don't exaggerate to get revenue, I just like to stir people out of their torpor :)

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