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Summary:

In last six months, something strange has happened in the blogsphere – the increased marginalization of the individual blogger. There was a time, when having a blog with your domain name, or even a blog-spot or TypePad account was the way to go. Your readers would […]

In last six months, something strange has happened in the blogsphere – the increased marginalization of the individual blogger. There was a time, when having a blog with your domain name, or even a blog-spot or TypePad account was the way to go. Your readers would find out through word of mouth, through blogrolls or perhaps through RSS. But that was then… today we are in the era of where big get bigger.

Let me explain. Yahoo garnered a lot of good will when it started including weblogs into their My Yahoo content reservoir. Great stuff, because it was the next wave of traffic boost, for my blogger friends. Or so I thought. I have looked high and low but I don’t find many individual blows represented on Yahoo. Instead dominating the list are more “pro” blogs like Engadget, Gizmodo and scores of others from say the Weblogs Inc, stable. (They added Buzzmachine.com to the list of lifestyle blogs, but I wonder if JeffJarvis.com would have made the cut, all things remaining equal.)

Here is a list of Tech Weblogs on Yahoo. No mention of Scobleizer or Russell Beattie’s or for sake of argument my own weblog. Google News will willingly bring in news from known blogs, like the ones mentioned before, but not from individual blogs, even if they are breaking news stories, and have more content than some of the aggregator-blogs. Google News rejected my big to get included in their Google News program, even though they include other blogs with more “pro” names.

Advertising networks like Tribal Fusion decline ads on individual blogs, like mine for instance, but are happy to put their ad-network to work for EHomeUpgrade, which is actually a blog, and often uses my content. But what got to me today was the 2004weblogawards.com – absolutely bogus list if there was any. Here is their best media/journalist blog. Oh really! How come WSJ.com’s best of the web, which is more email than blog is included in this list? I did not see Mark Evans’ name, or JD Lasica’s blog, or Doc Searls. For heaven’s sake, he wrote the blogging manual for journalists. Media Bistro??? And no Doc Searls?

I think what you are seeing is the marginalization of the citizen blogger in favor of more corporate brand names. Pity, it has to be this way

John and Jeremy are having interesting conversations about this very same topic.

  1. Interesting take on the state of personal blogging. I agree with you that the sites who are getting the most publicity are the ’Äúpro’Äù or ’Äúcollaborative’Äù style blogs. The only explanation I can give you for this underrepresentation is that personal blogs tend to cover a wide variety of topics, dashed with personal biases and emotions, which may not be as attractive to the corporate types. On the other hand, blogs by analysts and industry folks should be recognized as quality information outlets and be regarded as alternative news sources. The only trick is for these types of sites to come across as legitimate Web properties, like GigaOm ;)

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  2. Jonathan Schalliol Monday, December 6, 2004

    Waaah! Whaah! Whaah!! Poor baby. Suprise, no one wants to read your personal stuff. Perhaps the plague will finally end. Sure, if you’re Stephen Hawking or some other famous person people care about, you’ll get readers in quantity, but why would someone expect that the whole world would be interested in “some guy.”

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  3. Jon you clearly miss the point. its just that if a blog has a professional sounding name, it is okay to be indexed by news sites, while its not okay for a personal blogger site. I mean there has to be a similar standard. I could not care less if they list me or not – i have my own audiencce, thank you very much and I have acquired them the hard way: writing stuff that matters. I think what I am trying to bring up is a legitimate issue that faces the blogsphere, as it grows up.

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  4. Om,

    What would be your solution? It seems that trying to decide who fits into what category is very subjective, especially due to the many variations blogs have taken.

    I also agree that award sites like 2004weblogawards.com and the Webby Awards are crap. If they really wanted to do a good job in selecting blogs for a particular category, they should:

    1.Let readers submit their favorite sites

    2.Let users rank the final list and narrow it down to the top 10

    3.Poll the users to decide who the winner is (’ÄúReader Choice Award’Äù) and have an in-house panel pick their winner from the top 10 list (’ÄúCritics Choice Award’Äù).

    FYI – the Webby Awards charge Web Publisher $195 to have a single site considered ($150 for additional sites – http://www.web
    byawards.com/entries/new.php).

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  5. Sorry, but I have to ask the obligatory, “So?”

    Who cares if your blog shows up in Yahoo or not? Or Google News? I’d be probably safe in saying that a very, very high percentage of bloggers could care less where their blog shows up in whatever directories are out there.

    You say it’s the “End of the Personal Blogger”, but what do you really mean? Do you mean, “It’s the End of the Personal Blogger Who’s Goal is to be A-List”? Or, “It’s the End of the Personal Blogger Who’s Trying to Make a Living off Blogging”? If so, your take on why people blog is pretty skewed. I don’t have the definitive answer on why people blog, and nobody else does either, but I can guarantee that it’s not to get themselves listed on Yahoo or Google News.

    Why does there have to be a “standard” for what kinds of blogs get indexed by news sources. Blogs got where they are by people doing whatever they want and specifically not conforming to a standard. Trends exist, yes, but they are fluid just like so many other aspects of blogs.

    Lay down a standard for what gets indexed by news sources and all you get is another fixed media construct. People will break away from it and “do their own thing” exactly the same way bloggers have broken away from the long-standing corporate media constructs.

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  6. Perhaps it could be the fact that the number of personal bloggers has exploded so much that somehow people have stopped trusting them as sources – and so the news sites in response have stopped indexing them? I know that it’s just a veneer, there’s no real difference, but for some of those people looking at the ‘source’ of the info, it matters.

    Or maybe it’s just that these news aggregators assume that corporate-run blogs are filtered through an editor, and are wary of hearsay? Again, an assumption that may not be true, but that may still underlie the preferences.

    What’s weird to me is that many media corporate brand names are actually just personal names: Bloomberg, Reuters, the Associated Press (okay, kidding on one of them).

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  7. Dylan and Daryl, thanks for your insightful comments. I think you make valid arguments, but since I can speak from my perspective, here is what I think. So for news aggregators to get link some and leave others doesn’t make sense. either they make a standard policy around it – blogs okay, blogs not okay – and stick to it. but the issue and perhaps i was not clear is that blog with a pro-sounding name but of inferior quality is all right, and other with an am-sounding name with better content is not good enough. that pisses me off.

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  8. I’m a personal blogger and I’m not real interested in being found in a google search or what have you and I probably have 2-3 readers at most…so what? I do it for me and it’s pretty neat to have a place to write about things that interest me.

    Most blogs I read are of the personal nature. There are a few “pro” blogs I read like Scoble (how I got here).

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  9. Most of the content we see on the web will eventually get streamed in some capacity, and the big guys will definately be able to show big numbers, but that doesn’t mean the individuals will be less important. Volume isn’t the only name of the game–relevance and proximity are important, too. Blogs are key tools for networking and the sharing of individual wisdom… in the same way that when you go to a tech conference, somtimes the most useful information you get is from the guy sitting next to you in the audience, not necessarily the CTO of a big tech company. You can’t replace the value of shared wisdom among practicioners in a particular industry, especially industries and niches where scale won’t justify a dominent entry into the space from the content perspective.

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