So a guest blogger over at Boingboing.net who I’ve never heard of decided to take Weblogs, Inc. Network down a couple of notches, however the guy never talked to me and clearly doesn’t understand our model. Here is what he says:
Can one actually monetize blogs? Hard to say. Weblogs Inc. is attempting one model. As someone who cut their teeth on the bloated ideology of the fabulous Net 90’s, I’ve learned that the business model one gets funded with is rarely the one that you survive upon. Bloggers suffer fools lightly, and in my opinion, the hardest battle for Weblogs, Inc. will be treading the line between credibility and hype. Blogs build an audience because the relationship between blogger and reader is one to one. Trust. Do you trust the manor The Machine? Freedom is an illusion in the corporate blog.
Blogger => Machine => Reader => Machine => Blogger => Repeat
Blogger => Reader => Blogger
Flat out wrongif you talked to me or any of our bloggers you would know that we are not inserting ourselves into the relationship between the blogger and reader. Instead we are support the blogger and the reader by managing the technology and advertising sales but we do not tell the bloggers what to blog, how to blog, when to blog or get involved with their editorial in any way.
We are not a machine and we are not “the man.” We are the advocate of the blogger (aka the little guy). We aim to serve the blogger and help them make a money! Think of us like an outsourced tech and advertising firmthat’s it. That is the model, you should have asked me if you didn’t understand it.
Now, Nick Denton’s model is more along the lines of what you’re saying because he uses the traditional model of hiring writers. However, you’re still wrong if you applied your logic to Nick. I know most of the bloggers who work with Denton and even though he is paying people in a traditional way he is NOT inserting himself heavily into the editorial process. Do you think he could tell Spiers, Choire or back in the day Rojas what to blog? Nick gets it, we get ityou don’t.
You’re also insulting the bloggers in our network in a major waydo you think I could tell people like Peter Rojas, Mark Cuban, Judith Meskill and the rest of the 30 bloggers how to blog?! Are you blogging drunk?
The guest blogger I’ve never heard of goes on to say:
Then we have Kinja, which works as (hopefully) trusted aggregate tool for readers. Their task is similar, provide a resource for great content, but the mechanism is very different from Weblogs, Inc. Why create content? Just discover it (as I did). I believe that Kinja has a much better chance of becoming a reliable source for content, because they are a tool and not The Machine. With all of their properties, at some point Weblogs, Inc. will face a credibility issue, so they need to start addressing that inevitability now. One scandal will not only kill traffic to one blog, but could damage all their blogs. Imagine what happened with the NY Times and Jayson Blair occuring at a Weblogs, Inc. property. And can Weblogs, Inc. properly shelter themselves from possible litigation for something said on one of their blogs? I’m not saying Weblogs, Inc. can’t work, I’m just posing some items to think about.
This is even more flawed then the first argument. Again, if you called me or talked to any of our bloggers you would have understood our model.
Sure, a Jayson Blair could show up at WIN, Corante, Nick Denton’s shop or in BoingBoing.net. Heck, you’re pulling a Jayson Blair of sorts right now writing something so ill-informed! However, the New York Times did not die from Jayson Blair, BoingBoing.net is not going to die because of this flawed and inaccurate post of yours. Gawker.com would not die if Nick hired the next Jayson Blair. This is just a silly argument.
Additionally, there are a number of other reasons blog are more protected from Jayson Blair scandals then traditional media. Let’s run through them:
First, the reason Jayson Blair took so long to get caught was because unlike blogs, the New York Times doesn’t allow comments under their stories. Can you imagine if the New York Times let people post comments? The people in Jayson Blair’s pieces would have went to town on the inaccuracies. So, WIN and all blogs have a safety valve that traditional media doesn’t have.
Second, the blogosphere polices itself heavily. It is not like we are blogging in vacuum where no one can challenges us. There are thousands of blogs in our space and they act as a safe guard against a Jayson Blair.
Third, we have around 30 bloggers today and will have 100 by the end of the year. These bloggers police each otheragain we have the advantage of a self-policing team which the New York Times hierarchy does not.
Fourth, people have a different expectation of blogs. They look at them as the opinion of one person and treat them with knowledge that blogs move fast and take risks. BoingBoing.net is not fact checked, Gawker.com is not fact checkedthey don’t need to be because the reader doesn’t take these publications as literal facts. They look at blogs as a discussion and treat the information as such. Haven’t you noticed the frequent use of strikethrough on boingboing.net and other blogs?! Correcting as you go is the whole concept of blogshow could you not grok that?
That where you argument really falls apart: blogs are discussions as much as, or more, then they are publications. When you discuss something with someone you don’t expect it to hold up to the scrutiny of the New York Times (or what you hope would be the scrutiny of the New York Times).
Finally, we are a service provider and we are protected the same way Yahoo, AOL or any service provider is from libel. If someone posts to our “message board” aka blog something that is a problem and we are notified about it we would take steps to fix it.
Really, I’m shocked Cory, Mark, Xeni and David would let you post something so wrong on a blog I love so much. I woner if my response will get as much placement as your post did.