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Bearish on blogs? Don’t buy it

Heather Green, of BusinessWeek, questions whether we should be bearish on blogs after skimming David Carr’s column in the NYTimes about Nick Denton entitled ‘A Blog Mogul Turns Bearish on Blogs.’

…Is he bearish about blogs getting funding? We might think that this is the thrust of the story, since the writer sets up his story by opening it at a recent PaidContent party in NYC, which apparently was swarmed by media upstarts and money types.

Or is Carr saying that Nick Denton is bearish about blogs as a publishing medium? That also may be the case, since Carr quotes Denton saying that ‘ ‘the world does not need more blogs,’ adding that if you count all the pages on MySpace, ‘there is approximately one reader for every blog out there.’ ‘

Either we have a headline writer problem here or a writer problem. Don’t get me wrong, I thought it was interesting about Denton’s strategies for refreshing his blogs. But without any clarification, I suppose I will vote for thinking that Denton is down on funding blogs, since Carr writes a business column.

Heather also mentions a post from Rex Hammock on bubbles, busts and booms regarding blogs.

As for Nick Denton’s Gawker media empire and David Carr’s characterizing his shuttering a couple of titles as “turning bearish,” I would only repeat what I’ve said here many times: TV networks try out new shows every year (and now, throughout the year). Some work, some don’t. Magazines work the same way — companies launch and shutter them all the time. Book publishers have a poor record of publishing hits, but they keep putting them out into the marketplace. If one is trying to use a blog format to create a network of websites covering an array of topics, then, there will be hits and there will be flops. No surprise. No bust. No boom. Nick is simply running a business — and it appears he’s running it wisely.

Good reads but do not read too much into all of this. This bearishness, if any, is caused in part by having a business based entirely on ad revenue. If you are using your blog to advertise yourself, as opposed to selling ads, as is the case with lawyers and professional services firms you should be bullish on blogs. Per Dave Winer, the Godfather of blogging, at Gnomedex last week, you sell yourself on blogs and websites, not advertising.

Lawyers, professionals, and consumer product companies already have something to sell – themselves. You are not looking to reinvent yourself into a new business via your blog. Sure, the by product of your blog will be better work in the area you want it from the clients/customers you want. But that’s the byproduct of good marketing via blog.

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