Blogging Has Finally Grown Up

Old media vs. new media. Us vs. them. The plucky, indepedent blogger out-scooping the major news agency.

Sound about right? We (bloggers) hain’t get no respect.

Well, that paradigm is changing, if indeed it hasn’t already changed. I’m not sure bloggers can claim underdog status indefinitely. A glance at BlogAds shows that some bloggers are charging tens of thousands of dollars a month for an ad slot — and they’re getting it.

What’s more, prominent bloggers are gaining status as “media”. No, I don’t mean the 2-minute “let’s check in with the blogosphere!” segments on MSNBC. The people who matter are actually giving bloggers respect.

Two years ago, 15 media slots (out of 15,000) were given to bloggers at the Republican convention–a small, but notable, indicator that political candidates were beginning to realize the power that bloggers wield. Now, in the fashion industry, bloggers are getting press passes to shows, and PR firms are doing research on whose readership is the widest.

Alison Brod, a New York publicist who represents designer Jill Stuart, now has an employee focusing exclusively on blogs, tracking their impact on sales, among other things…

Fashion blogging’s coming of age is happening as U.S. online advertising revenue, a small percentage of which goes to blogs, topped $10 billion last year, and is expected to grow 22% annually, to reach $27.3 billion in 2010, according to Kelsey Group, a consulting firm.

BlogAds, which places ads on 1,300 blogs, 150 of which are fashion related, says that in the past six months it has inked deals with big fashion companies like Hennes & Mauritz AB’s H&M and Gap Inc.

When a MSM publication says blogging’s “come of age”, that means it probably happened about a year ago. The question is, where is it heading? And how many years until the size and power (and ad revenues) of independent media eclipse that of the mainstream?

10 thoughts on “Blogging Has Finally Grown Up

  1. Blogging per se is not replacing traditional media; but the smarter sections of legacy media are moving towards the blogging paradigm.

    Meanwhile, MSM circulation and viewership are declining. They are having their lunch eaten by craigslist and MTV has lost the tune and network news is going News-lite.

    It is not so much that bloggers are going to rule the world; rather, the skills bloggers are learning are becoming the skills the net actually needs.

    Making a dollar doing this with PPC and CPI is likely not going to work out teribly well in the long run as ad blindness begins to really bite. However, I’m working on that 😉

  2. True, the bloggers are out-scooping the traditional media. So, why not get rid of the “stigma” of being a blogger and move on to become more of a traditional media site.

    I had one particular blog for a while that did well–but just couldn’t break through for some reason. So, I redesigned the template and made it more “un-bloglike” and more like a traditional news site for that industry niche I was blogging about.

    Would you believe that just by making the template not look like a blog that the site has taken off? I’ve never really done any link building per se for the site but all of a sudden the industry analysts and other major sites are linking to it as a major news source for that industry. Major corporations are using the blog’s feed on their company intranet (some of these companies have over 10,000 employees). Companies are sending press releases as if the blog is a news outlet.

    I originally did this as an experiment to see what would happen if a blog site took off the comments and turned off the typical features that make it look like a blog.

    Blogging, in my case, has replaced traditional media and become a media site. Unfortunately, to do that, I had to remove the blog part and “rebrand” as a media site.

    I don’t think Joe Public has accepted bloggers yet as real media–and don’t think they ever will.

  3. > But, frankly, IMHO, Blogging can never entirely replace the traditional media.

    I don’t think it’ll replace… just ecplise.

    There’ll always be a head, always be a long tail. Question is, is the head gonna be 90%? (the 80s) …. 70%? (2006) …. when will it be 49% ??

  4. I agree, I think I need to let the idea ferment a little bit.

    I have such a beast for myself, but there are portions of it that I must keep private.

    I need to find a useful way to cover it in an open dialogue . . .

  5. @Shri.

    Your comments really resonated with me. I sense that the end game here is not the perpetuation of a niche 4th estate.

    The end game is setting up an ecosystem that perpetuates useful knowledge and information real time on demand around the world in any language 24/7.

    At some point this will become a commoditized service possibly.

    As in any industry whether its railroads, or radios or TV, news take your pick, ultimately the thing of value gets harvested and refined and harvested again.

    Blogging probably hasn’t even seen its first solid crop yet, only examples that the crop might be a viable option.

    We need to be prepared to fulfill the functions we find of interest, as an example the Performancing team has built out a several tools that make it more efficient for the blog farmers to more rapidly and effiicently post blogs and maintain metrics.

    I guess the follow on question is

    “As a blogger, What’s on your 2 year, 5 year and 10 year roadmap?”

    thanks for inspiring me out of a little writer’s block today!

    Thanks also to Andy for a good start also, agree completely.

  6. I do agree that Blogging is becoming mainstream and that the respect for blogging as a journalistic media is increasing by the hour.

    But, frankly, IMHO, Blogging can never entirely replace the traditional media. Here’s my $0.02 worth:

    Yes, Blggers will occupy greater positions of authority.
    Yes, bloggers will be looked upon as qualified reporters of traditional news. Yes, the real estate on Blogs will continue to become pricier than Mahnattan real Estate.

    But that is just one aspect.

    At some point in time, the Blogosphere is likely reach the same kind of saturation that Traditional media experienced. Capitalism has already begun to seep into the structure. This will be mre evident with blogs in the future. I predict that most of them will be maintained professionally. So what does that indicate? (Hint: Private TV/Radio channels)

    Will the Long Tail survive when this happens? When each niche is populated by a prominent player, will the others still continue to make the effort? Will the Blogosphere conitnue to survive on the basis of PPC and CPI ads?

    I apologise in advance, if any of these opinions sounds grossly paranoid. I blame it on stress on the job. 😉


  7. It’s an exciting time. I don’t think it is just the “media” aspect that has matured, I think the opportunities in all areas are growing also.

    Nick and I were discussing a musicians myspace blog today. It looked a total dogs breakfast, like the worst of circa 1998 homepages (including scrolling marquee and background music). Later I thought how cool it is that people can actually connect in some way with their music idols without having to go through a fan club middleman?

    The next US election will be a big tipping point I think, over the last few years blogging has been growing in importance, I think next time it could change the course of events. I predict at least one huge story will be broke and grown on blogs first that will be critical to the outcome.

  8. Especially the last one. It seems like we really are going to see a total evolution in the way news and information are shared and controlled. I’m sure there will still be a model where most power resides in the hands of a few, but those few may well be people who rise to popularity and prominence out of this new media boom.

    The lines between “blog” and “website”, “blogger” and “jounralist,” “blogging” and “writing/reporting” are getting blurrier all the time.

    Head spinning … thanks for the nice points.

Comments are closed.