The elephant in the kitchen

Dare Obasanjo, of Microsoft, just pulled the ad hominem card. In debate class in high school the teacher would instantly award the other side a win if you ever pulled that card. Why? Because it demonstrated you lost your cool and couldn’t win through sheer logic or through a rational demonstration the other side was wrong. And, at minimum it just draws attention to your debating tactics rather than what we were supposed to be debating about anyway.

Hey, maybe that’s why Dare pulled the card out here and slapped it on my kitchen table.

To keep us from looking at the elephant in the kitchen! Brilliantly played sir Dare!

But, since I’m childish, narrowminded, and egotistical or whatever else Dare tried sticking me with, let’s just get back to the elephant in the room, shall we? 

What does Microsoft do when it says “we have the most blogs?” Or, when it says really ANYTHING about its Internet services?

It takes them to advertisers and says “pony up, we know you paid MySpace ‘XXX’ and we have the most now, so we want ‘XXX+y’.” See, the little game we’re all playing in this Web 2.0 world is advertising.

The other little dirty secret of advertising? Not all readers are the same. Unfortunately if you’re an A List blogger it’s egotistical (and elitist) to point that out. Since Dare pulled out the ad hominem card already might as well slap this elephant in the ass and make it sing!

Quick. Is Jeff Jarvis worth more or less to an advertiser than this guy? Or this? Or this?

I’ll tell you what executives from big companies (like Kraft, Procter and Gamble, GM, and others) who were at MSN’s OWN ADVERTISING CONFERENCE told me. An influencer is worth THOUSANDS of times more than a non-influencer (influencer is someone who tells other people stuff, which is why blogging is getting so much advertising attention lately). That’s why Google is charging more per click than MSN is (Google has more influential users). That’s why Federated Media is closing advertising deals left and right.

And, why Microsoft’s shareholders are totally uninterested in the fact that Live Spaces has 70 million spaces (you’d think that with such rapid growth that shareholders would be cheering and would be preparing for an advertising profit windfall and that they wouldn’t have balked with Ballmer told them “I’m spending $2 billion of your cash.”

You’re right Dare. Maybe I’m childish. But I’m tired of being told that bloggers don’t matter. Which is what the Live employee told me yesterday. And it’s what you and Mike are saying today. Mike even repeated it just today on his blog. Read his post very carefully. He is saying that bloggers don’t matter. Why did he do that? Well, he’s trying to take the high road and trying to tell people that his service is hip and for them, not like that lamo “MySpace” thing, which is for kids and musicians with weird hair. Not like that “blogging” thing, which is for those elitist “A listers.” He’s positioning Spaces for normal, everyday people.

Which would be great if his marketing department didn’t run counter to his positioning by showing up at BlogHer (totally explains why Live Spaces’ presentation was totally derided by people who were there) and by his executives who try to position Live Spaces to advertisers as “blogs” so that they can get the high CPM ($$$ per thousands of viewers) that bloggers are getting right now.

This is why I’m being called childish, narrow minded, and petty right now. I dared to not let them have it both ways. Either they have most of their inventory done by “normal, everyday people” that’s empty, like every single blog on their service I found today, or they have a “hip, cool, influential” service, like WordPress, SixApart, Flickr, Technorati, and Blogger have.

You can’t have it both ways. Well, actually, Six Apart is getting it both ways. They have Moveable Type and TypePad and they have Vox, which is aimed at “normal, everyday people.”

Well, this childish, narrowminded, egotistical blogger is heading off to bed. It’ll be a fun day tomorrow when I get more ad hominem attacks hurled my way.

161 thoughts on “The elephant in the kitchen

  1. Blogger is derived from Weblogger.

    A WEB LOG. Nothing in there about what you can or cannot log on your site. Photos, words, recipes, links, what have you… nothing in there about who might be interested in your log either.

  2. Blogger is derived from Weblogger.

    A WEB LOG. Nothing in there about what you can or cannot log on your site. Photos, words, recipes, links, what have you… nothing in there about who might be interested in your log either.

  3. There are already many different types of personall or subject-related logs on the Web now .. hundreds of thousands at least that are active, if not several millions .. that are updated somewhat regularly, that contain links, and / or photos or video clips or podcasts or mp3′s. Sifry parses and analyzes that kind of stuff, no ? 9as do many others). And as you point out there are many many logs that are empty of one form of symbol or another, but still may be communicating something to someone(s).

    And different people use them (logs) for different purposes .. to teach, to learn, to amuse, to avoid other things, to yell, to pontificate, to practice activism or advocacy, to connect, to have an aklternate social life .. and so on. It’s like Dave Weinberger has often said .. the Web gives new meaning to the question “what is a dociument ?” So too with logs on the Web.

    And yes, there is a large segment that is emerging where service providers are trying to find ways to make money. Since it is the content (ideas, concepts, info, links, images) that attracts many (but not all) readers, an important element of this new environment is the drive towards monetizing content through forms of online advertising (which are also morphing as advertisers learn more about the dynamics of online sociology and psychology)

    I also believe that what we call “blogs’ today will morph into various forms .. what I like to call blog-like derivatives .. where the derivation comes from purpose, usability, added-value functionality, etc. Different platforms and services will increasingly seek ways to offer services to important and / or lucrative niches .. but in a future of increasing (and dynamic) niches … what those niches are, how they behave and what they want is very very likely to keep on changing. And imo blogging and other personal publishing platforms will have to keep adapting in responsive ways.

    So, the definition(s) of what a blog is today may become different, or mutiple, a year from now, or 3 years down the road .. whatever .. and whenever.

    To pretend that YOU know all about what blogging is somewhat arrogant, I think. Even though you may read 1,000 or more blogs via your RSS aggregator (something you used to proclaim proudly about). That only leaves hundreds of thousands or several millions that you haven’t looked at, haven’t read and never will .. in all sorts of areas, addressing all sorts of topics and issues. There are by now many many people who have been blogging regularly for as long as you have .. they may not be blogging about the kinds of issues you have been, or for the purposes you address, but I consider those I know who have been at it for quite a while and who have grown or refined their blogging, just as “expert’ as you.

    And as communities (whether of 5 regular readers or 20,000 regular readers) form and de-form they will define (sometimes or often dynamically) their purpose, their context and how they relate to the logs on the Web that for whatever reason they enjoy. I have seen blogs that had thousands of regular readers die quick deaths when the changes the author made were not well thought through or were condescending to important parts of the audience / community.

    I also think there may very well come to be ways to monetize, although not in large amounts, many different forms of “blogging” even if they are not pulling enough regular eyeballs to attract high-paying CPM’s or utilize the highest paying keywords for PPC.

    It’s a vast area, and people are an intrinsic (or the fundamental) part of it .. to define it narrowly and introduce some relatively arbitrary standards based on a few high-profile peoples’ opinions about how things should be is narrow-minded and short-sighted. There’s so much more that can, and should, and will be done by the vast diversity of people who decide that they will work at sharing something .. even if it is stupid fart jokes or obscure extinct-plant-based vegetarian recipes .. with people who may just be interested by that tiny stupid topic.

    I honestly thought you would know better than to proclaim yourself one of “the” authorities, when so much has been written about the turbulence and changeability of network dynamics (ssshhh, even in your book).

  4. There are already many different types of personall or subject-related logs on the Web now .. hundreds of thousands at least that are active, if not several millions .. that are updated somewhat regularly, that contain links, and / or photos or video clips or podcasts or mp3′s. Sifry parses and analyzes that kind of stuff, no ? 9as do many others). And as you point out there are many many logs that are empty of one form of symbol or another, but still may be communicating something to someone(s).

    And different people use them (logs) for different purposes .. to teach, to learn, to amuse, to avoid other things, to yell, to pontificate, to practice activism or advocacy, to connect, to have an aklternate social life .. and so on. It’s like Dave Weinberger has often said .. the Web gives new meaning to the question “what is a dociument ?” So too with logs on the Web.

    And yes, there is a large segment that is emerging where service providers are trying to find ways to make money. Since it is the content (ideas, concepts, info, links, images) that attracts many (but not all) readers, an important element of this new environment is the drive towards monetizing content through forms of online advertising (which are also morphing as advertisers learn more about the dynamics of online sociology and psychology)

    I also believe that what we call “blogs’ today will morph into various forms .. what I like to call blog-like derivatives .. where the derivation comes from purpose, usability, added-value functionality, etc. Different platforms and services will increasingly seek ways to offer services to important and / or lucrative niches .. but in a future of increasing (and dynamic) niches … what those niches are, how they behave and what they want is very very likely to keep on changing. And imo blogging and other personal publishing platforms will have to keep adapting in responsive ways.

    So, the definition(s) of what a blog is today may become different, or mutiple, a year from now, or 3 years down the road .. whatever .. and whenever.

    To pretend that YOU know all about what blogging is somewhat arrogant, I think. Even though you may read 1,000 or more blogs via your RSS aggregator (something you used to proclaim proudly about). That only leaves hundreds of thousands or several millions that you haven’t looked at, haven’t read and never will .. in all sorts of areas, addressing all sorts of topics and issues. There are by now many many people who have been blogging regularly for as long as you have .. they may not be blogging about the kinds of issues you have been, or for the purposes you address, but I consider those I know who have been at it for quite a while and who have grown or refined their blogging, just as “expert’ as you.

    And as communities (whether of 5 regular readers or 20,000 regular readers) form and de-form they will define (sometimes or often dynamically) their purpose, their context and how they relate to the logs on the Web that for whatever reason they enjoy. I have seen blogs that had thousands of regular readers die quick deaths when the changes the author made were not well thought through or were condescending to important parts of the audience / community.

    I also think there may very well come to be ways to monetize, although not in large amounts, many different forms of “blogging” even if they are not pulling enough regular eyeballs to attract high-paying CPM’s or utilize the highest paying keywords for PPC.

    It’s a vast area, and people are an intrinsic (or the fundamental) part of it .. to define it narrowly and introduce some relatively arbitrary standards based on a few high-profile peoples’ opinions about how things should be is narrow-minded and short-sighted. There’s so much more that can, and should, and will be done by the vast diversity of people who decide that they will work at sharing something .. even if it is stupid fart jokes or obscure extinct-plant-based vegetarian recipes .. with people who may just be interested by that tiny stupid topic.

    I honestly thought you would know better than to proclaim yourself one of “the” authorities, when so much has been written about the turbulence and changeability of network dynamics (ssshhh, even in your book).

  5. Blogging has other values than how much money it earns, mostly, it has the virtue of connecting to other people. All of the flaws of blogging are exemplified by this post and the post that it refers to. It is what we used to call “flames” — stupid, thoughtless attacks on others, online.

    If there were any question whether or not Robert Scoble was childish, narrowminded, egotistical, and bullying to boot, I think this post and his comments effectively proved that he is all of those things.

    That an A list blogger would engage in such childish, narrowminded and yes, egotistical behavior demonstrates only that the quality of the A list is low, as it belongs to those who yell the loudest.

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