NYTimes magazine on liberal bloggers
Sunday, September 26th, 2004
Some Kossites’ cavil at Klam’s carping, but (as a former magazine writer) I think the profiles are not unkind and the free publicity fantastic. The first rule of magazine writing is “kill your subject or see your story killed,” so Klam had to highlight sex appeal and blogger foibles to get the story past his editors. Second, the NYTimes is profiling people who it must, finally and fully, recognize as competitors, so unadulterated praise was unlikely.
Update: a couple of friends have asked: why wasn’t Blogads.com mentioned? As portrayed in the mag, money seems to flow magically into blogger pockets — “The blog ad money had fallen from the sky, and it had saved him.” … or…”Since February, with the explosion of blog traffic and the invention of blog ads as a revenue source, a few elite bloggers have found themselves on the receiving end of a Howitzer of money, as much as $10,000 a month.”
It’s some kind of virgin birth, no mechanism described or even imagined. I had a good chat with Klam, so the omission wasn’t due to ignorance. I’ve also heard, from Amy Langfield, that Klam mentioned Blogads and me on CNN. My guess is that digging into the mechanics of the easy-as-blogging advertising revolution would have been too complex for this personality-driven article. Still, it’s a shame the simple URL www.blogads.com wasn’t included, since the URL is the funnel for the magical cash Klam exclaims over.
Bloggers, collaborating to pool advertisers just as they pool news and readers, are driving a commercial revolution as well as an information revolt. Rather than depending on publishers to earn their cash, bloggers can set their own rates and play their own game. Rather than watching publishers funnel off 90% of their cash, bloggers can grab the lion’s share for themselves. Writing about reporters getting end-run to the news by bloggers is well enough, but perhaps the commercial end-run not a story the NYTimes magazine wants to stress with readers?
Think bloggers are still commercial small fry? Bloggers selling blogads are on track to do 75 million impressions in September. (That’s up from 5 million last December.) To put that number in perspective, that is 1/6 NYTimes.com’s total monthly impressions and 1/3 of monthly traffic for WashingtonPost.com.