So Many Blogs, So Little Content

Gotta love this… Microsoft is creating their own version of the Weblogs, Inc. Network/Gawker Media called MSN Filter—and they are giving Nick and our team credit. That’s very nice of them.


Actually I don’t love this at all. It’s simply more of the same and how can the same be any exciting? Jason thinks it will help propel blogs onto the frontpages of Yahoo, Google, MSN and AOL. Sure it would be cool to see your site on the frontpage of those, but I don’t think it will ever happen.

MSN Filter, which I guess is a copy of every other blog network out there that creates plenty of sites only to report back what a ton of other sites are reporting, consists of five “blogs” so far. I have to begin to use the word “blog” loosely because everyone has their own definition of it.

Slashdot and Fark were never called blogs before but what makes them any different than say Engadget, which is considered a blog?

Back on track. The sites on MSN Filter use secret bloggers who throw a paragraph on the screen with a link to another site. Haven’t seen this done before…

I’m not saying that this isn’t a good business model, but I don’t think it’s a good social model. What I like about the sites in our network is that they are all individual sites with individual personalities. If you have ever commented on one of them before and entered into a discussion with other readers you are joining a mini-community that many of these blog networks seem to lack.

But how can you make money off of sites where the writer only writes a couple times a month and may only have one set of ads on their site, if any? Unless you are John Gruber you will probably make very few dollars following that model, so why even bother?

When we started this network we wanted to showcase old school blogs. You know, back when blogs were actually blogs. Having sites in our network that when their feed is updated you actually take the time to read what they have to say. Sure we have sites like HDBlog and PS3Blog that update more often than others in typical fast-paced blog style, but those sites are run by one individual who offers his unqiue voice and opinion to the content.

At the Blog Business Summit I am teamed up with Shawn Gold of Weblogs, Inc. and Stowe Boyd of Corante to discuss Building a Blog Network. To be honest I am scared shitless because we went a separate path with our network. I don’t know of too many businessheads who wish to hear about how to start a network of sites that earns less in a month than WIN earns in a single day. We don’t hire professional writers (at least not yet), we just like to bring on board cool and unique sites. I guess we are fighting for the little person on the web.

Do I think 9rules will ever become financially successful? Of course I do and once we launch our latest projects more money will come in. Do I think the 9rules Network will ever become a million dollar fixture? In the long term I think we have more potential because we offer the reader what they want.

To finish this off, here is what Richard MacManus thinks about MSN Filter:

Microsoft’s Filter network is a pretty bland, nameless lot of bloggers. Weblogs inc and Gawker are kind of inbetween Microsoft and where I want Yahoo and AOL to be. The personality of Jason’s and Nick’s bloggers shine through, but they do their thing under the weblogs inc and gawker umbrellas – instead of being their own unique Brands. Which is what I’m trying to be here at Read/Write Web 😉

Not that I’m saying there’s anything wrong with Jason’s or any of these approaches – just that I’m hoping one of the big players decides to truly open up their network to small unique brands.

You are more than welcome to bring your unique brand over to 9rules anytime Richard. Especially since you took the words right out of my mouth.