Thursday, May 04, 2006

Is Waldo's Aggregator a Wolf in Sheep's Clothing?

I was delighted to be included in Waldo Jaquith's virginia blog aggregator, knowing that it would expose my writing to a wider audience, possibly driving up traffic to my site, making my writing more worthwhile.

But a conversation with another blogger opened my eyes to another possibility which, while not a big deal for a new, small blog like mine might be a consideration for bigger sites, especially those who use advertising to help defray the costs of maintaining a blog.

That being, if someone can read everything you write in one aggragated blog, and they aren't that interested in making comments, they would have NO REASON to ever visit individual blogs again.

No hits, no traffic, no Ad revenue. No money to keep the blogs running.

Of course, any blog can ask Waldo to be removed from the aggregation. That might keep your hits up, but if people are reading the aggregator anyway, they might not have time to come back to the random individual blog that isn't involved.

So, is the Aggregator a boon for mankind, or the death knell for individual blogs? Well, one thing's for sure -- if the individual blogs go away, the aggregator will be worthless.

I expect there will be some serious discussion of this issue somewhere in the coming months. Probably not in this blog, but somewhere.

5 comments:

Waldo Jaquith said...

As you said, anybody who wants to be excluded is welcome to ask, and they're off. If your goal is to make money on advertising, then you probably don't want to be on the aggregator. But if your goal is to be read, you probably do want to be listed. It's all the same to me either way.

Too Conservative said...

I don't think it has mattered so far..

my hits on my blog individually have been through the roof..

with blogs where it is a policy site, and not a discussion one, I think it will hurt people.

I was not in favor of it.

Vivian J. Paige said...

First off, I think the blog aggregator is wonderful. But I don't think it has caught on yet, even within the blogger community.

Another thing is that while I read blogs via the aggregator, I am well aware of the time delay (2 hours). So it hasn't stopped me from visiting blogs that I regularly visit, anyway.

Finally, the most important element of the aggregator to me is the fact that there are blogs included that I would have never found or read on my own. (I'm here on your site right now because of the aggregator.)

And like TC, my individual hits have set records these last few days. And almost none of them have come thru the aggregator. Of course, I'm not trying to make any money on ads, so my take on this may be completely off-base.

Cory Capron said...

"That being, if someone can read everything you write in one aggragated blog, and they aren't that interested in making comments, they would have NO REASON to ever visit individual blogs again."

I don't think so. You make a decent point about blogs that don't have discussion boards, but even in that case I'm doubtful. For example, I use Chalottesville Blogs to see what is out there, but the blogs I really read and come back to are set aside in my bookmarks. I hate using an aggregator to sift through to the ones I care about. Most blogs post randomly and if you only have time to check them during a certain block, you're going to miss them from time to time. It really is only good for (like vivian said) finding new blogs you would normally not come across and checking in on one's you only casually read.

Politicl.Animal said...

Obviously, you did something well enough to make me click through to read your post, leave, then come back to comment.

If you're depending on advertising to sustain your blog, then you need to pull a NLS or TC and post about topics that people want to talk about ... because they still have to visit your site to post a comment. Or be like Raising Kaine and create comment thread free-for-all brawls masquerading as dialogue.

Because as much as I'm turned off by true believers, the allure of "What will they say next?" keeps me going back.

Bacon's Rebellion and other 'thoughtful' blogs are probably going to see traffic dip. But that doesn't mean that their ideas aren't being disseminated, which is what thoughtful people are interested in anyway.