Read My Weblog, Feed My Weblog: It was only a matter of time before somebody jumped on this idea: a subscription clearinghouse for weblogs. As the weblogs have exploded onto the mainstream consciousness, many industry experts have posited on their business or revenue generating potential. But barring a few standalone exceptions such as IWantMedia.com, AndrewSullivan.com and a few others, revenue through weblogs have been miniscule.
But the Blogging Network hopes to change that, at least in theory. The network was launched last week by Shaycom Corp., a San Fransisco-based tech startup. Here’s how it works: people can subscribe to the network for $2.99 a month, and can read any of the weblogs in the network. For that amount, a user can also start a weblog on the network, which will then be accessible through subscription as well.
Of money gathered through subscriptions, 50 percent goes to Shaycom as its costs and the rest is distributed to the weblog owners in the network depending on their popularity. More specifically, here’s how the Blogging Network describes the payment process on its site:
“Every month, Blogging Network keeps track of the number of times you read each writer. At the end of the month, Blogging Network divides your writer payment between all of the writers, based on how often you read each one.
As a simple example, say you only read Jack’s blog during the month. At the end of the month, Blogging Network will send your entire writer payment to Jack.
Let’s say you now start reading Jill’s blog half of the time, while still reading Jack’s blog the rest of the time. In that case, Blogging Network will send half your writer payment to Jill and the other half to Jack.”
Till now, about 19 premium weblogs have been started through the network. But the launch of the network has started a raging debate among the weblog community. Cons cited in these debates include the high (50 percent) usage cost that Shaycom keeps for providing the service. Other say that walling much of a premium weblogger’s work would means that blogs would not be able to link to each other, a key sustenance mechanism of the “blogosphere”.
Among the factors which may lead to the success of such a network, as discussed on Blogroots discussion site, are: convincing the top read weblogs to abandon their current sites and readers, asking them to move over to the paid hosting/reading environment; and creating new weblogs with must-read content.