Dave Winer has a post today in response to the Slate article that talks about the pending demise of blogs. The Slate article says, in a nutshell, that blogging as a business has been co-opted by the same frenzy that led to the last dot.com boom and bust, so it’s only a matter or time until those blogs crash under the weight of their over-sold worth and exaggerated influence.
Well, it’s that and the market equivalent of the Sports Illustrated cover curse.
I expect that the whole blogs as a business thing will either implode or deflate, since blogs as a business is simply a low barrier to entry chapter in the greater fool theory book that I talk about all the time.
The slate article contains one passage that makes me want to stand up and cheer wildly:
In the end stages of any investment mania, the clueless and the greedy flood in. You know things are really poised for a fall when people who have no management experience and feeble business plans somehow manage to raise cash for ventures.
Amen, brother. When people who don’t know a blog from a baseball card start trying to buy blogs and leverage them for some easy money, you know it’s time to head for the hills. Last time around it was anything related to fiber (the non-thread kind) or computers. Now it’s anything that might have some eyeball, since as I have yelled about for months, the current volume in the greater fool theory series is founded almost completely on ad revenue- which as I have also screamed from every available soapbox is not a sustainable business plan.
The people who are in the pipeline don’t want to hear that, at least until they get to the front of the line and get their money from the greater fools. But it’s true and I’m not the only one who knows it.
Dave’s point, which I love, is that all of these blogs set up to make some greater fool dollars aren’t really blogs at all. He correctly calls them “professional publications written by paid journalists that use blogging software for content management.”
Which is exactly what they are. They believe the citizen media movement is about to topple the old media (newspapers, network news, etc.) empire and they want to rush in and fill the void long enough to make some easy money and then move on to some other con. If Sawyer wasn’t lost on the island with the rest of the Lost cast, I guarantee you he’d be trying to make some money by starting a blog.
Just because it looks like a blog and calls itself a blog doesn’t make it a blog.
If all these pseudo-blogs magically fade away, there will be plenty of real blogs to take their place. And as Dave says, some good ideas will spring from the real blogs, because those blogs are not merely online substitutes for the old media, where all that matters are eyeballs. And those ideas and the products that result from those ideas will be standing by to fill the covers of all the magazines that are currently so enamored with the pseudo-blogs.
At the end of the day, the real blogs will be the only ones standing.