September 28, 2007

Monetizing White Space: A billboard in every pot?

Ronni Bennett has a great post on the changing blogosphere, the role of elderbloggers, and the distraction of all of the sidebar noise that can easily detract from not just reading blogs, but engaging in conversation.

Well I know that as noise pollution goes, I'm right up there with the frequent offenders. No matter how clean my blog design starts out, before long I'm sticking ever opportunity to say something funny, to get some spare change, or to shout-out to my blogroll friends over there. Where some prefer white space, my preference for clean design extends as far as hard copy paper. On the web, all bets are off for me. Send me everywhere at once. YES!

I can see how that distraction is eroding the human element of blogging though. As Ronni points out:
Many blogs are now so cluttered with Blogher Ad Network ads, Google Ads, Blogads, Blogvertise ads and others sometimes all together that they feel more like splogs; I know there must be editorial content somewhere, but it’s damned hard to find.

It’s not that making pin money from blogs is a bad idea; I’ve done it myself (although I gave it up as distraction both from the blog and to myself). But when the ads take up more real estate than the writing, it is no longer a blog; it’s mainstream media with some token commentary.

[As an example of how far it’s gone, I recently ran across a blog where the entire day’s post was a plea to readers to click on the ads.]

I have come across those kind of blogs too. Generally though I like looking at the ads. I don't know what it is. Perhaps I LIKE being distracted as much as I like reading and writing blogs. Perhaps I am drawn back to IM and the phone for real conversation because those are the mediums that let me focus these days.

I agree with Ronni that it's disappointing when once-frequent-posters disappear into social networks and virtual worlds and forget about their blogs. When this first started happening, the bigger name bloggers brought in "guest bloggers," to avoid the barrage of emails asking: "Are you ok?" "Where are you?" "Missing you!" These days, we could disappear into the belly of a volcano and no one would raise a stink about our going. It's rather expected. And it's also expected that sooner or later, the blogger will show back up again. Those re-appearances are sweet homecomings. I enjoy them so much, whether the blogger's been gone a month or years.

Anyway, I look forward to Ronni talking more about how elderbloggers view these phenomena -- the comments to Ronni's post are insightful and wise. As always, it's one of my favorite places to visit. So don't go running off to MySpace, Ronni. I'd miss you!


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