A strange thing sometimes affects some bloggers when they start introducing money into their blogging. Their nature alters ever-so slightly. Other bloggers are eyed with suspicion. Otherwise respectful and friendly relationships become competitive. Similarly themed blog posts are viewed as “rip-offs”, new blog launches “copycat” or “bandwagonism”. Perhaps exaggerated and extreme, but do any of these symptoms seem familiar?
In the beginning of this blogging thing, bloggers were viewed as fellow adventurers. Everyone was in this together and we all have something to contribute. Very warm and fuzzy. Each person had their own motive and goals for their writing a blog, I suspect though most of it was just attention. There are parallels with the early web. It was all make it up as you go along stuff, and a large amount of wide-eyed “going to change the world optimism”. Unfortunately, just like the early web, there was also a big portion of “keep the money out” nonsense. I’m glad that has largely disappeared, heh.
The end of innocence
With the introduction of Google Adsense a viable monetization strategy appeared for many bloggers. These bloggers were probably not very affected by this income stream other than the natural affects of having more money. This income, and the whoops of joy from the successful bloggers attracted more and more people from other fields to join in the game. As more people join the blogging phenomenon and bloggers go from seeing their income not just as icing on the cake but come to depend on it, I think this is where the cracks have appeared. It’s not “we’re all in this together”, it becomes “they are taking away my money!” “the blogosphere is full, don’t let any more in”.
You can see this when you launch a new blog in a mature niche. First you are eyed with suspicion, then the “they will never last, just wait and see” comments trickle out. After that depends on how you approach it, you either get welcomed or the hate starts flowing. Anyone who remembers when Performancing launched (just a few months ago) might recall the reaction we got, from a great welcome to some weirdness.
The thing that makes me laugh is blogging is not like many other fields. There are no winners and losers in blogging. For you to win I do not need to lose.
Blogging is not a zero-sum game!
I think part of this attitude comes because in other fields perhaps that is how it does work, for example many SEOs aim for the number one spot in Google for their “money term”. There might be another five search phrases that are desirable, and other search engines, but they want that one spot and hate the current site that holds that position. We say repeatedly to not worry about search engine rankings but also blogging is just not like that anyway. When problogger gets a boost in traffic our traffic does not go down and visa versa.
Another blog is not going to eat your lunch!
It’s just common sense, do you only read one blog? Probably not. When you are blogging I expect a lot of your inspiration comes from other blogs, right?
Every blog that enters your niche adds value to it, excluding the copy and paste blogger or scraper that every niche ends up attracting. Each additional blog grows the value of the niche for everyone. New bloggers should be welcomed and assisted because they grow the rewards cake for all bloggers in the niche.
Welcome bloggers one and all
Rather than see your fellow bloggers as competitors that need to be nuked out of existence, see them as potential partners where you can work together for mutual benefit. Network your niche. Link out generously, comment on their blogs, support their initiatives and memes. This is not wide-eyed altruism, trust me, your blog will grow because of it.
Have you ever been given the frosty treatment by other bloggers? How can we encourage participation and co-operation in blogging rather than competition?