Kent Newsome has some words to say about how difficult it will be in 2006 to get a "successful" new blog started, and he seems to think because all the A-listers have grabbed the early space it will be difficult for somebody not established to make an impression. There are some very good point made in the comments, so check them out, too. Most of the responses were "good point, BUT …", which is about where I am as well.
Kent’s view SEEMS (and maybe only to me) to be that the blogosphere is a zero-sum game – that the only way, for instance, for me to get traction with this blog is to displace some of (for example) Hugh McLeod’s readership (I got the Newsome link via Hugh BTW). Part of what Kent says is probably true – as people monetize blogs, there will be an element of self-interest in keeping the audience to yourself. I don’t believe that such an approach will work in the longer-term, assuming that people who write blogs, and the people who read them, continue to show an appreciation for the ‘openness’ and conversational aspects of personal publishing (sorry about using the ‘conversation’ metaphor again, Hugh!).
Will there be business blogs that intend to (ultimately) make a sale? Absolutely, but they are likely to find that the results are indirect, and because of some internal changes (what Hugh calls internal disruptions, or the porous membrane, and what Sig means when he talks about transparency).
But when I think about why I blog, it has more to do with self-expression. While it might be exciting to discover that half the Western world was hanging on my next post, I suspect that a lot of the joy would disappear in a flurry of expectations. I think that there a lot of bloggers out there who are doing it for their own reasons, and that only a few of them relate to reaching a large audience, and/or making money.
There are certainly some blogs that seem to have serendipitously become financially valuable in their own right (i.e. beyond any advertising revenue) – but it’s a happy accident rather than a plan.
I think the "success" or otherwise of any blog depends entirely on the blogger’s own definition of success …