ESPN’s really dumb blog strategy


ESPN’s constant Yankee bashing should bother me – it doesn’t because I know they are all biased BoSox fans. What totally bums me out is their weblog strategy that is most confounding. They are putting their weblogs behind a wall, and offering it as a premium service you pay for. Weblogs, as I understand them are about open media, and are about sharing. I think it is time they stopped using the term “weblogs” if they don’t get the concept. Brian has a more detailed critique, which frankly I did not want to do. Thanks Brian




Having worked on Insider for 7 months and being a believer in web2.0, I feel qualified to respond.

I think Brian’s points are more accurate than yours. Our blogs are encouraging the spirit of openness–there’s nowhere else on our site where writers like Karabell, Ford, etc. express themselves as frequently or candidly as on their blogs. You are insinuating that charging people to read interesting content that happens to appear on a blog is a karmic violation of the unwritten laws of the blogosphere.

Let’s get serious for a second, and examine Brian’s criticisms.

Actually, I’ll just cut and paste from my comment on Brian’s blog:

I wholeheartedly agree with your critique about missing features on our Insider blogs. The idea was to launch without some key features (ones which I believed we should–and will eventually–have), see what kind of feedback we got, and modify accordingly.

Like most big-media companies, we’re dipping a toe in the blogging water. I can say two things: first, that we are paying attention. And second, when a big company moves, it tends to move in a major way.

I would love to discuss further if you like…


Om Malik


not sure what they’re going to do, but what they are doing is making me crazy.


I agree with you. blogs is fast becoming one of those most over used overhyped words and most people don’t have a clue. its just amazing how people are trying to reinvent everything as blogs, as if they are the panacea of all the ills


Dude, just wait until you see what they do with ESPN Mobile.


They’re not really making you pay to read their weblogs, they’re charging for all the premium ESPN Insider content of which the blogs are a relatively recent addtion. It’s the same type of content as their other Insider stuff, just shorter and more frequent.

That being said, I do have a ton of problems with their “blog strategy” as you put it. For one thing they have no RSS feeds. (ESPN offers feeds for each writer, but no Insider content shows up in them.) If you have a site that is updated on a regular basis and has time-sensitve information, than you have to let me know when it’s been updated. I’m not going to check in every couple of hours, by the time I read the latest injury updates it’s already old news.

My other big issue is their idea of “feedback” that appears to be for each entry, but it isn’t. All it does is link you to a generic email the writer form. This would be a great opportunity for them to create some interactivity and community and they’re whiffing big time. Plus it would be pretty easily moderated considering the content requires a paid account. A commenting system with writer response would be a huge selling point for me when it comes time to renew my Insider account in a couple of months.

I think overall it’s just a case of latching onto a buzz word without really getting the concept, the only thing that makes these “blogs” different from any of their other articles is that more than one might appear on a page.

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