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 …

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6 thoughts on “Can a new blog succeed?

  1. I don’t have a judgement either way on monetizing blogs, as in putting the odd ad here and there. I have been tempted, since I host my own blog, and my hosting charges are huge.

  2. Dennis – I don’t believe there is a problem in principle, given the caveats you mention. But for me, right now, money isn’t the reason I started this blog. If that changes it will probably be a separate blog, with a clearly stated purpose of attracting money in some way.
    Mind you, the line can easily be blurred – if I leave my current employment, and mention the fact that I am available for work on this blog, am I attempting to monetise it?

  3. Is there anything inherently wrong in monetizing a blog? I can see how it could be conflicting but if people understand the nature of the issue then it should not be a problem. Bloggers are pretty savvy people when it comes to BS.

  4. The monetizing of blogs will happen, because if you think back 10 years, we all thought the web would be open and dialogue-inspiring, before it was largely co-opted by big business at the top end. The early bloggers—we are still relatively early, because if one blog per second is started, that’s still not that many relative to the population of the western world—might retain their principles, but, mark my words, newer bloggers will one day soon be forced to adopt Google AdWords and other for-money additions.

  5. The Exclusive Interweb

    Hugh MacLeod is on a tear about blogging. Creating one punchy top ten list after another, and now the two immutable laws of blogging. A return to discussion of blogging for bloggings stake, since hes been away attending to suits and wine….

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