I’m not kidding. I want this. (I know I’m behind the times on this, but I just found it.)
Really interesting article from the Chicago Tribune about the stagnation of blog readership. And tons of interesting discussion about it. It seems like whenever anyone suggests that the blogging phenomenon is waning, the whole community comes out and bashes something with a collective large blunt object. Only human nature, I guess.
I’ve actually had many issues with the hype around the blogging phenomenon. I didn’t understand why it was such a big deal, and the posts from Scott Karp and Rex Hammock both suggest to me that blogging wasn’t worth the hype (though I’m sure both of those guys would disagree with my interpretation).
Scott Karp writes that blogging is not a business but just a tool that helps people publish. I totally agree with that. I think he’s totally right. But a lot of the hype around blogging early on was that it was a business. There were and still are a lot of start ups that are trying to make money on it. There are a ton of bloggers today that are trying to make money from their on ramblings.
Rex writes that we shouldn’t compare blogging to traditional media. He lists reasons why people should blog, including “because there are two or three people who actually matter in your life or work, or who share your passion for a particular topic”. (But if there are only 2-3 people who care, shouldn’t that be email?) The blogging hype came with the fantasy that anyone could be a publisher, a journalist, a reknowned scholar on things that they know. Rex and Scott know that that’s not true. And the blogging community is now saying that they never thought that in the past. Yeah, right.
Blogging doesn’t create an audience. Streaking to the 50-yard line during the Super Bowl and setting yourself on fire creates an audience. Blogging helps people who have an audience (whether you’re a journalist for CNN speaking to thousands/millions of people, or you’re sock-darning expert speaking to two people) speak to that audience more efficiently. (OK, and yes, it does help grow an audience a little bit.)
So if very few people are making money on blogs, and very few people are reading blogs, and a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?
Michael Arrington unwrapped the cover from 3bubbles today on his blog. 3bubbles allows bloggers to easily integrate chat sessions on their blogs.
Arrington seems to love the idea and predicts that 3bubbles will really successful, but I think that’s incredibly short-sighted. He claims in his blog that chat was really successful on TechCrunch and he even took the time to respond to comments saying that “it is an amazing tool for me and I think it will be extremely popular based on prior experiments.”
But I agree with many of the comments on his blog; for the vast majority of blogs, there aren’t enough concurrent users to get a decent conversation going most of the time. Yes, chat may have been successful for him, but he must realize that he’s one of the most successful bloggers in the world. If he doesn’t realize this, then I guess I appreciate his humility, but it’s probably more likely that he overestimates the power of random people blogging.
Yes, this is a great feature for sites like TechCrunch and Memeorandum, but it will be useless for the vast majority of bloggers (myself included). Even worse, none of the smaller bloggers who even try this feature will stick with it when they see “chat(0)” at the bottom of every post.
Basically, if 3bubbles is going to make it as a company, it either has to sell a ton of licenses (or generate a ton of ad revenue) from the little guys, or sell a few licenses to the big guys (like TechCrunch and Memeorandum) for lots of money.
I think the first method is going to fail and the technology is so easy to replicate that the second thing isn’t going to work either.
You know, I’m really unclear why people insist on believing that Google is so pure and wholesome. I know that they claim the tenet of “Don’t be evil”, but c’mon, it’s a business and there are things they have to do.
Case and point from today: Google is paying Dell a LOT of money to pre-install Google Toolbar and Desktop on Dell PCs. The street hit them for it because it will add a ton to their customer acquisition costs. OK, I see that. Is it a smart move for them? Actually, I still think so; Microsoft is still in a great power position because they can get to the user before almost anyone else. This move is a direct attack on that position.
But Nathan Weinberg wrote:
We can say all we want about viral marketing and how great the Google brand is, but if Google has to pay a billion freakin’ dollars, then maybe that whole word-of-mouth thing isn’t working as much as we’d like to thing. Google prides itself on growing out of quality, but it looks like installations of its software aren’t reaching the levels they expected. I never thought I’d see the day where Google had to buy customers. This is exactly the sort of thing we’d expect from Microsoft, but we get it from Google.
What? We wouldn’t expect that from Google? Everyone in the world “buys” customers. “CPA” means “cost per acquisition” and every business knows what theirs is.
To think that Google is above “buying” customers is ignorant. Google already pays Firefox to be their default page.
To think that Google should ignore the undeniably massive Chinese market because it should stand for the freedom of information is naive. Very few corporations can, or even should, resist the temptation of the Chinese market.
Just wait until Microsoft really, really focuses on search. Just wait until MS passes Yahoo to be the second ranked search engine and is gaining on Google. Google will pull out all the “evil” tricks they can to stay ahead.
Update: Henry Blodget comments on the deal make sense to me. It will hurt in the short term, but may pay off in the long run. It shows Google’s paranoia, and paranoia is always a good thing, even if the street doesn’t see it that way.
Hilarious post on slashdot.org today on how to cook an egg with two mobile phones and a radio. Thanks to John Tokash for pointing it out to me.
Clearly, there’s no way it will work, but you gotta love the buzz that the thing caused. Here at Homestead, I defied tons of people when I told them I could cook a chicken with a 100W light bulb. They said it wouldn’t work, but it did!
Just get a terra cotta pot (for plants), add one chicken, and one 100W light bulb and you have yourself an adult version of an Easy Bake oven. I stuck in a digital food thermometer, and it took about 5 hours to reach a safe eating temperature (to be safe, I let it go to 170 degrees F), and it actually wasn’t bad. A little bland, but the dark meat was cooked perfectly (the white meat was overdone).
Take that, ye of little faith!