Markets are conversations… are markets
Friday, October 10th, 2003
Italian journalist Robin Good writes a clueful overview of Blogads: “Blogads are addressing the great potential made available by those independent publishers, reviewers, columnists and commentators who, on a frequent periodical basis, communicate and address relevant issues with wit and intelligence and which specialize in some very clearly identifiable theme.”
He mentions Blogads’ Cluetrain-ness, as Seyed did earlier this week. This makes me really happy, since the Cluetrain Manefesto is what sparked my own first blog entry in August 2001. (One of my joys attending Bloggercon was that I met two more of the authors of Cluetrain — Chris Locke Doc Searls. I’d broken bread with the good Dr. Weinberger previously.)
Cluetrain begins with the thesis that “Markets are conversations” and hammers corporate robots and robotic corporations for forgetting to converse humanely. The idea is profound and companies have gone only 0.01% of the way to incorporating its lessons.
But hey, is it too early to consider the next step? Drunk on caffeine and words at Bloggercon and playing a game of antimetabole, I started musing about the idea that “conversations are markets,” particularly conversations conducted through weblogs. We speak of “getting” or “winning” links for our own good thoughts… and we also commonly “give” or “reward” links to the good work of others. We “pay” attention to others and “earn” attention ourselves. Seyed Razavi has distilled several dimensions of this whole “conversation as market” metaphor with his great simulation Blogshares.
Blogads also tries to close the circle on the “markets are conversations are markets” idea. We help authors who earned conversational “riches” — respect and links and eyeballs — to arbitrage some of that intellectual capital back into the stuff you buy groceries with.
Of course, publishers do the same thing, but they take 80% of the juice, versus the 20% we charge.