Friday, January 28, 2005

Content is money

The thing about the net is that it invites enormous amounts of archiving space and fantastic searchability - and then there's nothing in it. Yes, yes, I know, there's a lot of stuff on the net, but compared to the potential, there's still nothing.

This is why blogs are so seductive: they are free content. And content is the flypaper of the media: you, the audience receive content, we, the organisastion, receive audience, they, the advertisers, have money - we sell the audience for money and the content for money. Only problem in this fantastic money-making machine is that the audience gets choosy, and want more, different, personally relevant content. This pushes the prices of the content up, as it has to be thrilling, gripping, fantastic, to hold as large audiences as possible.

OR the content can be simple, perhaps even free, in which case the quality isn't so important as long as it reaches somebody!

This is where the blogs come in. I am not saying blogs are lousy, I am not really aiming for my own foot. But they are of very warying quality. When selling ads connected to them, that doesn't matter though, because producing a blog is not costing anybody money - or, the costs are so widely spread all over a number of individuals, their employers and certain institutions that the production costs all of these agents insignificant amounts.

Which means: free content = free audiences. Of course somebody must try to tap into this goldmine!

Anjo Anjewierden points to one way of doing this, as a trackback to one of his posts leads to a google ad. The paid-to-promote bloggers show another way of making money off it. This way is at one level more fair, as the bloggers who do the content production actually gets paid for it. Other areas like Friendster and Orkut create communities and insist on having copyright on the writing stored within their password protected walls: write free for them and lose the right to your own writing. It may not always matter, as who cares about the value of saying "hi" to somebody you might like to get to know better, but watch those poems!

It isn't just the referral power of blogs these different agents try to harness, but also the production power of the writers. This may be the next big battle: the right to not make money for others by way of ads, promotion and referrals.


Cayzle said...

When I read your post today, something you said really hit me on the head: "the audience gets choosy, and want more, different, personally relevant content ... blogs ... are of very varying quality."

I have been looking high and low for blogs with meaty pen and paper RPG analysis. But much of what I found was either

-- on topic ("relevant," to use your word) but lightweight and personal rather than analytical, like Monte Cook's (, or

-- meaty and analytical ("different") but somewhat off topic, like your blog and Greg Costikyan's (

So I decided to write the blog I was looking for myself! Let me not be a blogwhore and link to myself, though. Suffice to say that I try really hard to give solid meaty content -- with almost no personal stuff -- with every post.

Of course, that's hard. I'm sticking to three posts a week, to start.

Torill said...

Cayzle: Good for you! You are on the production side of the content economy, the one everybody are looking for and everybody want. Contributing, not piggybacking on other people's content, like a trackback to an ad from somebody else's content.