Blogging -- like MLM? (but probably without the pyramid scheme)

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2005/01/17 01:26 -05:00, original URI: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/michkap/archive/2005/01/16/354267.aspx


I just noticed that there are lots of folks like planet.xmlhack.com that literally do not seem to have any content other than the feeds of the blogs they like. And I am sometimes randomly one of them.

Of course this is no different than the stuff that happens with large parts of bloglines or livejournal or newsgator or any of the other sites that do this sort of thing.

Now I guess its not a pyramid scam since no one is really making money off of the people lower in the pyramid other than maybe ad dollars (and I doubt that adds up to much). If someone manages to find a product that they can sell based on the stuff I say when I rant then more power to 'em.

But I was struck by how many traits blogs and MLM schemes share. Especially the choice to either do something useful or find others to do useful things for you -- either or both of which will provide you with whatever you are looking for.

Ok, probably nonsense or maybe just something that the rest of the "blogosphere" just reads and says "duh!" to. I guess I had never thought about it. My "blogs I read" list really is the blogs I read, not the ones I provide the content of to others.

But about these sites that do nothing interesting other than collect what other people do....

I am not going to say they suck or anything, because they don't. But isn't it somehow intrinscally cooler to be a provider of content then a pointer to the content others provide?

Or at the very least isn't it cooler to be like Scoble's link site that picks up individual posts versus every post (though somehow I'll bet if they actually read mine, they might skip this post!).

(The fun thing about Robert's sites is that I do not have to subscribe; when an interesting post or link comes by, someone sends it to me with an OMG or a WTF or whatever comment they wish to add to it.)

A part of my realizes I'll never really know whather the stuff I do is interesting unless I start moving into the world of only syndicating descriptions. This only manages to interest me until I realize that I don't give a fig if people find me interesting or not. And building up descriptions just looks like more work, which works against the principle that keeps me posting every day -- to make posting EASY. So though it may be moderately cool to know when people find something I say interesting without requiring them to comment, it really doesn't matter that much.

Ok, silly musings. But I'll bet I am not the only person who realized at some point in my blogging that I have unintentionally become a non-profit version of an Amway salesman....


# Robert Scoble on 17 Jan 2005 12:10 AM:

Who gets rich in the Internet? The end point or the hub?

Yahoo: hub.
Google: hub.

Yeah, I wish I were as smart as Christopher Brumme, but I'm not.

So, I'll do what I can do best: read a ton of feeds and put the best stuff on my link blog.

Who will win? The one who has the best link blog. (IE, the one who reads the most feeds and keeps the link blog up to date the best).

# Michael Kaplan on 17 Jan 2005 12:21 AM:

Heh heh heh -- of course, as I said I do put your link blog in a slightly different category, since you do seem to be looking at the content. A lot of these sites don't even do that?

# Kurt Cagle on 17 Jan 2005 2:15 PM:

Michael,

Actually, I think that these link blogs do provide content - editorial aggregation. Such a site acts as a way to say - these feeds are linked through me as a filter, indicating that there is some implicit relationship between the feeds that are distinctive to my viewpoint.

Now, granted, as a blog author, I find aggregate feeds somewhat lame, but are they really all that much different from DJs spinning sets? Moreover, some of these "BJs" (and I won't use that acronym again, I promise) may in fact be more well known than the people they syndicate.

-- Kurt Cagle

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