The prolific Darren Rose posed an interesting question earlier today, Is there Room for Another Blog Network? Why yes Darren, I’d say (or rather write) that there is. There are a couple of different approaches when it comes to blog networks, each of which caters to different audiences.
The 9rules network appeals to those who already have their own blogs – the bloggers on this network don’t need the technical infrastructure of a blog network and don’t want a slightly varied look-and-feel. These bloggers want their own identity and they want people to read their thoughts – as stated by Darren, 9rules is shaping up to be more of a “club atmosphere” than a ‘we want to make money’ off of our writers.
Out at the BBS, I was interested to hear the weblogsinc approach to things. They create new blogs on their network based on how much revenue they can generate from those particular blogs. Seems somewhat dishonest and at the same time, the model works.
For example, the WIN network might do some analysis and realize that a blog on widgets could be quite profitable. There might also be who someone really wants to write about widgets because they are a widget expert or fanatics. Perhaps this potential blogger has little to no technical expertise and does not care about what the blog looks like, as long as they can blog about widgets. It is a win-win situation in this case.
While the WIN business model obviously works, it just doesn’t sit right with me. I like the idea of providing less techy users with the ability to blog with an audience, just not the monetizing of it all. But the bills must be paid – technical infrastructure and maintenance are not free.
The loaded question of course relates to b5media, a new blogging network that Darren seems to have a hand in. The approach of providing new voices on topics not previously covered (like Flightnest) is interesting but overall I don’t see it that much different from the other blogging networks out there. It is too earlier to tell.
That rather long examination leads me to this conclusion: if there is room for other blog networks, they probably will need to look more like the 9rules network. With Gawker, weblogsinc, and now b5media, I am not sure how many more times that sort of model can be replicated. One approach though is similar to what John Jantsch does at Duct Tape Marketing, as well as what I saw with wurk.net – the WIN type of model has real life when used to create vertical blogging networks.
The good news for 9rules is that their brand is established and they have a first mover advantage. Potential competitors of their approach would have to do some work to catch-up.