I saw this quick post over (via Micro Persuasion) and it just rubbed me the wrong way. Maybe in the "Blog Business World" reality it's true, but for most bloggers getting high traffic numbers really isn't why we're doing this.


Anyone want to guess how long it takes before weblogs suffer the same fate as the web as a whole? If you were around back in the early days, you probably remember cringing as the web started to go mainstream. It makes you wonder what's going to happen to the notion of a weblog over the next year or two, doesn't it?

Update: Steve wasn't thrilled with what I said and I've changed "post" to "link" above to more accurately convey that I'm not picking on Steve or Micro Persuasion.

Update #2: Jeremy Wright responds. He's clearly extrapolating a bit from what I said. I never claimed that the web was "killed" by business or commercialization. But it's hard to argue with the fact that it was changed in some very substantial ways. And a lot of us weren't thrilled with all of that change. That's all I'm saying.

Update #3: Okay, I'm linking straight to the article now.

Posted by jzawodn at June 07, 2004 10:23 AM

Reader Comments
# SÚrgio said:

sitemeter is having a renewed success due to weblogs. people are writting for fame.

on June 7, 2004 10:34 AM
# Arcterex said:

Agreed, the whole idea of online personal journals being turned into "business" rubs me the wrong way. *sigh* Won't be long until most of the "blogs" go the way of email spam and banner ads/spyware.

on June 7, 2004 10:53 AM
# will said:

I'm not sure what you define as "mainstream", but everyone and their mother has a weblog or an online journal now. I think over half of them are entirely uninteresting and/or have been abandoned. I think we're beyond the points you're concerned about.

However, it doesn't mean that the medium sucks. I still use email, chat on IRC/IM and use my weblog and read weblogs of other people and I get a lot of utility out of those interfaces.

Some people write in their blog to disseminate information. Others are totally in it for the publicity. I'm not sure which is the more "purist" viewpoint--it depends on the purpose of the blog, I would think.

on June 7, 2004 11:03 AM
# Chris O'Donnell said:

Remember when the web was young and cool, and you could spend hours clicking around to websites to find interesting stuff? Then 3 years later you rarely ventured beyond your bookmarks...

Remember when weblogs....you see where this is going.

Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it, or something like that. And now we have people trying to figure out how to track ad views in RSS feeds.


on June 7, 2004 11:14 AM
# Brad Fitzpatrick said:

Speaking of weblogs going shitty and commercial, look who's got ads in his weblog! ;-)

on June 7, 2004 11:23 AM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:

Brad, if you're seeing ads that means you're either blocking my cookies or not clicking the "remember info?" checkbox.

I don't subject regular contributors to ads.

on June 7, 2004 11:56 AM
# Steve Rubel said:

Jeremy, I appreciate your views as always, but it's not really fair to take issue with my post. Your beef is with the post I point out. I wouldn't take issue with something you post on your linkblog for example.

on June 7, 2004 12:22 PM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:

Steve, you're right. I probably should change "post" to "link". Would that clarify things for you?


on June 7, 2004 12:35 PM
# Scott Johnson said:

I always see cookies here, even though I check the "remember info" box every time. My browser has a way of forgetting things, though. I guess that's what I get for using Firefox nightlies. :p

on June 7, 2004 04:18 PM
# Scott Johnson said:

Err, I meant "I always see ads ..."

on June 7, 2004 04:18 PM
# Wayne Hurlbert said:

I wrote the "controversial" post about finding your voice to receive and retain the dreaded "traffic". Steve Rubel was merely linking to it.

In any case, I wasn't writing about "traffic" and numbers per se. I was pointing out that, without a distinctive voice and as a copy of other blogs, that visitors will simply read elsewhere.

As always, I take full responsibility for what I wrote.

on June 7, 2004 05:24 PM
# Peter said:

So, Why do you blog then, Jeremy?

If you read the whole post on online business network blogs, you'll see that he actually has pretty altruistic reasons for blogging, not commercially minded.

So, I still think you are taking the wrong person to task.

I actually think that blogging is a great platform for marketing and advertising. And I do experiment in order to see how to "get" traffic. Just because it is different than your reasons, I don't see a problem with it, nor do I think that both can't coexist.

And you'd be pretty short-sighted to think that your INCOME wasn't dependent on those two things happening at yahoo or for your book sales.

I think the whole commercialism kills cool is pretty played out. You're probably one of those people that gets pissed when a favorite band of yours gets radio time.

on June 8, 2004 07:47 AM
# Jozef said:


on June 8, 2004 01:47 PM
# justin said:

"Remember when the web was young and cool, and you could spend hours clicking around to websites to find interesting stuff?"

sure do - it was called "surfing"....

remember THAT term?

on June 9, 2004 06:56 AM
# Bill said:

Jeremy et all,
[gruff old guy voice]
Do ya remember when a man could walk out his front door and shoot his dinner?
Do ya remember when ya could tune your own carburetor?
Do ya remember when people didn't drive and talk on the phone?
Do ya remember when gopher, archie, and veronica were hot and less than 1000 people had email?
Folks, a lot of people who are far better writers than I have written about how the speed of change has ramped up with the advent of the web.
There's a ton of stuff that starts out on the edge (body piercing, blogs, digital photography, html, dtp, surfing (in water), burning man, etc) and due to some cosmic force/marketing/whatever becomes mainstream.
Sometimes when you are a pioneer, the masses will follow. Consider it a huge compliment, you've just proved that your odd idea was really brilliant.


on June 11, 2004 08:48 AM
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