Friday, September 28, 2007

Is a blog just a bad business in disguise?

After two related posts relating to blogs for sale, I got to thinking about the real value of blogging. WHY DO WE DO THIS?

Eve Dmochowska's question here relating to a blog for sale had me thinking the answer was obvious, but then to see Adii seriously considering purchasing one here made me rethink it for a second.

Just to take a little step back... I see a distinguishing factor between a great business and a great businessman. You can be a great businessman/salesman/widget-maker-extraordinaire but still not have a great business. One of the marks of a great business is that the system runs regardless of whether the owner/manager is there [ie the business doesn't go home at night when you do]. I've written previously about the great education model that's been built at CIDA - but in reading this article in the Economist ["CIDA remains intimately associated with its founder and chief executive, and there are questions about whether it would survive without him."], it seems that this is even an issue in their hallowed halls.

Building a business away from yourself is largely contradictory to how most blogs are developed - where the personalities involved often become the main attraction, and advertising revenues [see the two examples Adii cites] are the business model. I'm sure we've all seen many blogs simply dripping with tons of paid links awaiting your beloved clicks. Shouldn't a blog be more than this?

That's one of the reasons I don't have any Adsense or other paid-links here. I love writing and want to enjoy it for what it is. Do I want a blog that is widely read and respected? Sure - we all do. What I would also love to do is build an AWESOME, amazing business one day that will change the world!!! But will a blog ever be that? Sure, it can be a part of it, but I don't believe the blog should ever be the business itself.

Please don't take this the wrong way. I know sites that attract lots of eyeballs are valuable. I know there's huge potential and the possibilities are amazing - but there's still quite a lot of work to be done in this particular case. Buying it is a shortcut which many might be able to use well, so if someone is willing to pay over $8,000 for a blog, without any other clear business model built around it [precious few contracts, current relatively low revenue levels, etc], I wish them all the best, and can only say congrats to the high-school going developer. Hey - that's the entrepreneurial spirit!

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