Many of you got the little email from WaPo, right? Asking us to “join their blogroll,” right? I actually didn’t answer it. Something just didn’t pass the sniff test. A week and two days later, I finally replied with a polite “no.” Why are they doing this NOW? Blogging has clearly jumped the shark. It makes no sense to be on the tail end of a phenomenon so mediocre. Of course, we’re speaking of the Post though. They aren’t really a “forefront of the operation” kind of media. I looked at the website. I quickly got discouraged with the in-your-face popups and the inability to scroll beyond the first page in any category. Hello? Tech support? You don’t make a site live until the code and links work. Duh.
It should have occurred to me that theirs wasn’t a gesture of goodwill and creating a community, but rather, a plight for their own interests.
What? You don’t want to? Why? Because you remember that time I had you click a link and it brought you to a sex site? Sorry about that. Okay, here’s an excerpt in case you still haven’t forgiven me:
Once upon a time, newspapers wanted nothing to do with bloggers, those amateurs who opined on anything that caught their fancy, whether it was interesting, or accurate, or not. That was then. Now newspaper websites, desperate for readers and revenue, are increasingly in cahoots with bloggers, posting and plugging them and even sharing advertising revenue.
Purists may sniff at these online liaisons but, as the print newspaper industry shrinks, they may be inevitable.
This year, the Washington Post added a sponsored blog roll to its website, a directory of links to blogs that specialize in travel, technology, health and more. If the Post sells an ad on the blog roll’s main page, the bloggers split the money with the newspaper. So far, about 100 bloggers have signed up.
To Caroline Little, the chief executive of Washingtonpost Newsweek Interactive, the ad network is good business. Most ad buyers don’t want to take the time to buy space on dozens of different blogs, she said, and the staff-driven side of the website often doesn’t have enough stories about technology, business or health for advertisers looking to place ads near that content. With the blog roll, the Post can grab ad revenue that might have gone elsewhere.
“It’s about figuring out how to monetize other people’s content,” Little said.
Of course it is, you silly whore. Why bother being creative when you appealed to a whole group of people who want exposure? It’s a convenient arrangement, isn’t it? Though you don’t tell these people that your readership has been down and this will do nothing for individual blogger exposure.
So, is it that the WaPo writers are not good enough to attract visitors? Or are they too stupid to, oh, I dunno, hire a real ad agency and come up with an aggressive marketing plan? (Hmm…maybe…how about the Great URL Expiration of ’04, anyone?)
Using us for lost ad dollars? WaPo just elevated their position on my list of D.C.’s most self-serving, and we have a lot of politicians here with whom to compete! Try working for your ad dollars WaPo. Velvet in Dupont subsidizes only those who subsidize her back. And right now, that list is empty.*
*Okay, maybe I got a little toll money from my daddy a couple weeks ago when I went to visit. I protested, but he wanted me to have that $20 and with the George Washington Bridge costing a bank-breaking $6 these days, and that fucking Jersey Turnpike is outrageous too, and shit, you have to pay tolls to get into and out of Delaware and god damned it, the state is only 10 miles long!!! I took the money. Then I hung my head in shame, and drove off in my overpriced Speedracer that breaks a lot. It makes no sense. I admit this. In the spirit of total honesty and full disclosure, I admit this.
I never got the invitation. I’m not offended. But when I saw the announcement I thought, “they are trying to take over DCblogs. Lame asses.”
When they announced it at the Washington Post Blogger Summit, a few were reticent to support it because they felt it was encroaching upon DC Blogs territory. For the record, I publicized it on my own blog so as to let people make their own decisions, but when I went to it to see what kind of paces one would have to go through to join it (with no intention to join) I saw a very elaborate and discouraging process.
I fail to see how the Washington Post’s Blogroll (henceforth WPBR) is beneficial to bloggers. Anyone with a quarter of a brain and an ISP can find blog databases like DC Blogs without going through the Post and the WPBR. I go to washingtonpost.com to read the Post. I don’t go to it to find new blogs to read.
When I first began blogging, I found dcblogs.com on my own. My hunch is that the WPBR is going to fail when it comes to the bottom line, especially if that bottom line is revenue generation. The 100 bloggers that have joined aren’t going to amount for much in revenue. I certainly won’t contribute.
Maybe some kind of “co-subsidization” deal could be worked out, since you mention your interest here. I’ll start drawing up the pre-co-sub papers for you to look over, you let me know if you have any non-negotiables.
I was at the summit with I-66 and was one of the people confused about the whys…meaning: we already have dcblogs, why wapo now?
While I did get the invite and did not think negatively about it, I have not signed up…just because I have not researched it yet and I just don’t know yet.
Blogging has seemingly “jumped the shark”! Then again, here I am: a blogger and reading others. As Kass says, we still have dcblogs
I resented the invitation because it made me think I would have personal e-mail that I would give a shit about, and then . . .it was just another group send.
And I seriously wonder why they would want me in the first place, since I generally write at least one post a month berating their inept delivery people.
MA – Yes, as usual, they are way late to the game. Most people are packing up and going home and there’s WaPo, last in line. Have they done anything groundbreaking since Watergate?
I66 – You are actually the poster child for finding new blogs to read. I’ll stumble on something I think is new and there you are – commenting! And you were one of the first to comment on my blog as well. I won’t be contributing either. I can’t get behind someone else’s money making idea at my own expense. And – does anyone know if the bloggers ARE in fact being compensated?
Ulysses – Yes. I have non negotiables. My pride.
KK – Well, just refer back to the sentence “It’s a way to monetize other people’s content” when you make your decision.
Bryan – Yeah. The blogging thing seems to have been over for quite some time. Though, I don’t do it because it’s “cool” or “everyone else has a blog” or “it’s a great way to pick up chicks!” Oh wait. That last excuse doesn’t apply to me. BUT, it is most certainly among the reasons why people cite starting a blog. When you have a reason for doing something that is less than genuine (for example, WaPo doing this blogroll thing) you almost always fail at it.
you can deposit your check for being on my blog roll to my Swiss bank account. paying late is not recommended.
“Velvet in Dupont subsidizes only those who subsidize her back.”
My suspicion that blogs (as they are generically defined at present) are losing their relevance has now increased dramatically.
Nevertheless, for all its faults and tendencies to arrive at the party way too late, the traditional press is still the vanguard of investigative journalism – an expensive, time-consuming and absolutely necessary skill that is rapidly disappearing before our very eyes.
What have they done lately? Well, you could begin with the series of articles about Walter Reed earlier this year that put the administration on notice and sparked action.
Well, if that’s the way you’re gonna be, all self-actualized and shit, the hell with it.
Hey, that link didn’t take me to a sex site! Oh wait, it wasn’t supposed to, just to the L.A. Times. Damn. I’d rather have had the sex link (although I’m guessing I’d have to register there as well. It’s getting so hard to find good free porn on the ‘net these days).
Now that you’ve been quoted by Wonkette, does this mean that you’ve jumped the shark too?
Mini Jon – I have a couple pennies for you. I’ll just mail ’em!
Valley Girl – I try. Like I said, that daddy got me for 20 bucks though!
Hammer – I think that like any web-phenomenon, things have to evolve and change for the better. Anyone can create a blog and anyone can say whatever they want. :::Points to self::: I actually agree with you on traditional press, I prefer to see it in print. There is something more validating about seeing it in print than online, and that’s just a “I’m in my 30’s” attitude I think. I keep seeing on every bathroom door, next to my phone number, how e-zines are the wave of the future. I don’t get it. And you had to go and defend WaPo against my reputation damaging sarcasm! Damn!
Nato – Ahh, so sorry! This is a mostly PG rated blog now. Well. Depending on the day I guess.
Ninja – A) A trend can only jump a shark when the purpose of said trend was to be, in fact, a trend. Remember. This blog started as the late night ramble of dates so horrifying that my girlfriends couldn’t wait for me to wake up the next day to dish the goss, so I had to post it and then they would respond. The group of girls reading back then would also follow me on dates and send me text rating the guys.
B) I predict I jumped the shark somewhere around you-know-who whose name I can’t even mention anymore.
I’m sorry, did you just shorten “gossip” to “goss”?
To clear up any confusion: Our blogroll is an advertising program, designed to help blogs anywhere in the world to take advantage of our sales force and for our business to have more inventory to sell. The revenues are shared.
Our recently-launched blog directory is a way for our large readership to find *local* blogs. We think that’s a useful service, which also might help drive traffic to the blogs. We welcome feedback on this program at email@example.com.
These totally separate programs are, of course, are completely voluntary.
–Jonathan Krim, assistant managing editor, washingtonpost.com.
The confusion, Mr. Krim, is not over what the end goal of either the Blogroll or Blog Directory is (by the way, just to make sure, you are aware that those two terms mean essentially the same thing, right?). The confusion is over a multitude of things, including but not limited to:
1) Where have you been? Blogs have been “the thing” for a few years, and only now you guys are getting around to it?
2) Why would a blogger require the assistance of the Post when there are perfectly good databases such as DC Blogs that already exist?
3) As a managing editor, do you yourself not have an editor? “These totally separate programs are, of course, are completely voluntary.”?
When I looked at the Washington Post’s blogger thingie,as a lawyer and free speech advocate, this made me uncomfortable:
“Since this directory will pull in recent posts from bloggers who sign up with us, we also ask that you not register if your blog routinely traffics in offensive or pornographic language, personal attacks, racial epithets or other content not suitable for a mass-media web site that is read by people of all ages.
Washingtonpost.com editors will pre-approve all applications for this directory, and may contact you for verification. Your registration information must be accurate and enable us to contact you.
If we see a steady stream of inappropriate content, we reserve the right to de-list you.”
Of course, I didn’t think the ad revenue part.
The last line should read, “Of course, I didn’t think about the ad revenue part.”
Clearly, I need an editor, managing or otherwise.
I66 – Yes I did! Ya got a prob with that?
Jonathan Krim – I too am having trouble understanding the distinction you’ve made between a blogroll and a blog directory. Yours is not a useful service for anyone other than the Washington Post and you know it. The click-through on any of the blogs will be minimal. Bloggers generate their own traffic by reading other blogs, befriending other bloggers and creating a community. Most people typically won’t follow links. Take for instance yesterday, when Wonkette actually linked to this direct post with a quote from me. I got about 3 hits. It doesn’t matter, even with dwindling readership, how popular you guys are. It will have a negligible effect for the bloggers, but for your ad revenues, that’s another story. Remember your boss’ quote: “It’s a way to monetize other people’s content.”
I’ve got something for you to monetize…
“Washington Times” – I couldn’t have said that better. Nice URL by the way.
Dara – What you have put here is precisely what I responded with when I said my “polite no.” Uh, have they READ my content? Yeah. Didn’t think so. Hard to read when there are dollar signs in your eyes. And you don’t need an editor. You have a job that, as far as I know, is not the Managing editor of WaPo. Now, if a WaPo Managing Editor were to come on here, say, and leave a comment, well then yes, I would expect him (or her) to proof it after applicable damage control was penned but before hitting “publish.”
Clearly, WaPo’s blogroll or “blog directory” was Mr. Krimm’s idea. I hope he doesn’t get canned when it proves to be a total failure because, frankly, he seems like a pretty nice guy.
The Washington Post only cheapens itself and tarnishes its “hard news” brand by trying this crap. The thought of anyone turning to WaPo for blog listings is about as plausible as someone getting fashion advice from Project Beltway.
I get my fashion advice from Huggy Bear.
hugs are drugs velvet!
I get my fashion advice from Cookie Buffet.
i got some kind of invitation from the Post but i don’t know if was for the blogroll or the blog directory or what. based on what i understood of it, my response was the same as many others’:
1) what’s the point, since dc blogs already does this better?
2) why should i associate my blog with the Post when there is nothing in it for me? (especially since i really don’t care about getting traffic, not that i think anyone will get a significant amount of traffic from being a part of this anyway.)
3) when i went to check it out the Post site was unnavigable, causing me to lose what slight interest i had in figuring out what this is all about.
but any remainder of goodwill i had about the invitation disappeared when i read jonathan krim’s comment. oh, the programs are voluntary? no shit they are voluntary! it would not even cross anyone’s mind that we’d be obliged to do anything just because the almighty Washington Post invited us to. that comment is clearly a backhanded way of saying we shouldn’t criticize their stupid idea just because we don’t want to participate. which just proves that the Post just doesn’t “get” what this whole blogging thing is all about.
this blogroll idea — like almost everything else the Post has done to try to adapt to life in the age of the interwebs — just smacks of desperation. the Post should stop retooling its website every three months (each time it gets worse!) and focusing so much on blogging and “lifestyle” fluff and remember what has made it one of the most respected papers in the country — excellence in journalism. you know, like reporters who go out and uncover the news and investigate stories and then write edited articles about what they discover?