Blog Post

Of Bubbles And Spin

Yes, I’m late in reacting to this Monday NYT story by our former colleague David Carr (both Staci and I worked at, as did David)…while others bloviate about a bubble (in digital media and in blogging), we’re hard at work, as you can see.
Nick, buddy, much as I respect what you have achieved (and you know it), the next time I bump into you, try and run away. David, shame on you for being spun so badly, and just sheer ignorance of issues (and no, it wasn’t our first mixer, it was our sixth).
Anyway, since I’m biased (and more than slightly miffed) here, I’ll let other more less-attached people take it from here, and clear the air on our NYC mixer, the supposed blog and digital media bubbles (all of them are separate issues, so read carefully):
Donna Bogatin: “First off, the party was funded by corporate sponsorships, not by VC money that ought to have been ear-marked for company operations…Second, while Silicon Alley parties of the 90’s celebrated companies for merely obtaining venture capital, paidContent’s inaugural NYC mixer comes after several years of success as a self-sustaining “independent media and information company covering the business of digital media.”…Third, while 1990’s NYC Internet parties were only about “fun,” last evening’s paidContent party was about “content.” Content does not get much better than a live, one-on-one Q & A with Arthur O. Sulzberger….Thanks, in part, to paidContent’s emphasis on meaningful business networking from the get go, many of those ‘500 people signed up and sold out the place in three hours,’ came armed with print-outs of targeted business contacts to connect with, gleaned via paidContent’s online pre-party attendee networking tool.”
Rex Hammock: “I was at the mixer and the vast majority of attendees were wearing nametags that suggested they work for the digital divisions of traditional media companies. These were NOT blogger types. They were mobile phone types. They were HBO and MTV and New York Times types. They were Reuters and AP and McGraw-Hill and Time, Inc. types. Indeed, I must have seen a couple dozen name tags with New York Times on them, including the publisher (although I don’t think he was wearing a name tag). My point: there may have been some bubbling at the mixer, but it had little to do with blogging.”
Stowe Boyd: “What about the new breed of mainstream media types — like Denton — who have embraced the trappings of the blogosphere but none of the edge sensibilities (except for a studied disdain for superficial conventions of traditionalism)? I predict they will struggle along, living in the middleground, neither the new or the old. But the breakout media plays will be based on individual voices, building brand based on participation and purpose, not by hiring post-adolescents and handing them a style manual and a seven posts a day mandate. No wonder Denton is moving things around: the model is no more satisfying than reality TV, and after the third or fourth season people are hoping for something fresh, and they will turn off the TV. So I don’t accept the “end of the party” downbeat messages from Denton and Co as any more than self-universalization”.
John Blossom: “I don’t think that it’s any secret that the Gawker portfolio was designed from its outset to be a high-flying set of media properties, not built around any one particular personality (even Wonkette alter ego Ana Marie Cox proved to be expendable) but around pumping out content that could sustain a robust revenue stream. To that end, many of these properties focus (obsess?) on the usual mass media stuff: sex, toys, cuss words and gossip. Not exactly long tail stuff, for the most part.”
OK, I’ve cleared up my head now…