Disclaimer: Time is TimeWarner company and so is AOL. Weblogs, Inc. (my company) is an AOL company.
Jeff Jarvis thinks he’s right about everything–it’s part of his charm. He speaks in an absolute tone, and today he takes on Andrew Sullivan’s move to the Time.com domain in that fashion saying “they (Time) got it backwards. They should have left Sullivan right where he was and sold advertising there. That would have extended their reach to a new audience.”
That’s not exactly correct.
Andrew’s audience can easily follow him over to Time.com with a redirect of his existing site. In fact, no one will even skip a beat, not even RSS readers who can easily be redirected. Additionally, Andrew will get the Time.com audience flowing to his blog.
Now, the only issue I can see is if people would prefer the grassroots wrapper of his current blog vs. the corporate nature of a Time, Inc. blog/blog network.
Jarvis adds “They’re thinking the old way: trying to draw people to their site and brand and buying content to do it.”
Yes, and the old way works really well Jeff! You can always tell one of Jeff’s posts because it goes something like this “someone old is doing something new with blogs,” “they are idiots and don’t get it,” and “the old way is never going to work wake up people how many times do I have to say this!” Then add a, “I’m available as a consult to tell you how to do it right.” Whatever.
Listen, I’m all about the Long Tail (my company is based on it), but having a bunch of contributors under a trusted, polished brand is going to be much more attractive to advertisers at this point and Andrew will make a better living because of it. Rock on!
Trying to sell an individual blogger is very, very hard. Trust me, we’ve been at it for a loooong time. It is much easier to sell TVSquad than an individual blogger on a small site doing TV coverage. Now, this is where Jarvis will say something like “you’re thinking old, there’s a new way to do this,” and I respond “OK, go for it…. but it’s not going to work as well as the old way so have fun suffering.”
This is the same problem for John’s Federated Media. Representing a single, named blogger is just never going to result in a big business. Now, that’s OK if you’ve got a lot of folks, or you’re willing to lose money representing individual bloggers. However, the path of least resistance is the group blog with a nice brand. John knows this of course, and Boingboing is a good example from the Federate Media umbrella. Four bloggers bonded together under a fun brand name makes for a much easier sale than the Cory, Pesco, Xeni, or Mark blog. This is exactly what Time seems to be doing and that’s a great idea–it will make more money, get more audience, and be easier to market. Just because they are MSM doesn’t mean they are not getting it or not doing it right–they are (it seems) doing it just like Gawker, WIN, and BoingBoing. So, I think they are getting it very, very right.
Yeah, yeah…. it’s not like the old days when everyone had their own URL, but who cares. People can still keep their old URLs for their *highly* personal stuff and put their more marketable vertical stuff on the professional–and monitizable–blogs. They are still going to be blogging in the same style, because the second someone like Time or Weblogs, Inc. tries to edit or filter bloggers they will run back to the warm comfort of their personal blogs.
I’ll wait to see the execution before doing the executing.
Second Disclaimer: Weblogs, Inc. is an AOL company. AOL is a TimeWarner company, and Time, Inc. is a TimeWarner company. I know a couple of folks over at Time, but I have no idea what this project is, who’s doing it, and what the details are. In fact, I haven’t met with Time since before we did our deal with AOL. So, if someone at Time wants some help/support on this project let me know! We can give you the Blogsmith software if you like. 🙂