Over the past couple days I’ve been speaking with people more about the business of blogging. Ultimately blogs are a tremendously challenging business. You need to post as much as possible and you need to break news stories on a regular basis if you plan on getting to the top. Frequently you also need to play dirty to reach the pinnacles of success. There are handsome rewards for the best bloggers but the space available to the best is limited.
If you take a look at the top blogs on Technorati, very few have managed to get top advertisers sponsor their site. Huffington Post, the top blog according to Technorati, appears to be one of the lucky few that has obtained large advertisers. The rest for the most part have failed in this regard. So why do big brands consistently stay away from event the largest blogs on the internet?
I would say posts like this one by Mike Arrington would be one of the primary reasons large brands stay away. Mud slinging and straightforward slander. A statement such as “Cook was directly responsible for scaling Twitter, and he very much failed in his job” by Mike Arrington is not only opinion but it’s completely false. Compare the downtime of Twitter to the downtime of MySpace during their peak growth periods and you’ll see substantially more uptime for Twitter.
In “Cult of the Amateur” (which I have been quoting frequently as of late), Andrew Keen sits down with Al Saracevic, the deputy business editor of the San Francisco Chronicle. Keen asks Saracevic, “What do you think distinguishes bloggers from professional journalists?” His response was that “In America, bloggers don’t go to jail for their work.”
On a daily basis bloggers lash out against others and make false accusations which traditional journalists stray from. Is this freedom of speech? Of course but there is definitely crossing the line and the decision of bloggers as a whole (I have done so myself) to show their willingness to make slanderous statements about others is why big brands stay away.
Not all blogs participate in such behavior though. I have met a number of journalists that have started their own blogs with the intent to grow them big and they typically don’t make false accusations. In the world of blogging, lashing out against others attracts links and makes headlines. In the world of journalism, it attracts lawsuits. Until there is a standard for “citizen journalism” and bloggers as a whole, lines will continue to be crossed and the leaders will continue to play dirty.
It’s the nature of the game. While unfortunate, it has become a fact of life. Do you think there should be some sort of certification or standard created for blogging?