Sometimes Your Girlfriend Isn’t Really Dead:The Future Of Blog Networks

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True Story.

When I 19 years old I lived with this 29 year old woman in the French Quarter of New Orleans. We lived 2 blocks off of Bourbon street and could always hear the noise, especially on the weekends.

Donna (the woman) used to like to have parties. We would have people come by all the time. A lot of them we wouldn’t even know. They could be a tourist couple we met and Donna would just tell them to stop in whenever they felt like it.

When people would come over a lot of times Donna and I would just go to bed. I have woken up many a nights to find some stranger sleep on our couch.

Well one night Donna and I were sleeping when we were woken up by someone BANGING on our bedroom door. When I answered it it was some guy I just met the night before. He was frantic.

“My girlfriend is dead. I need your help bringing her to the dumpster!”

I don’t know what bothered me more, that there was a dead girl on my livingroom couch or that some stranger wanted me to help him move her to a dumpster. We quickly got into an argument as I wanted to call the police and he argued his side.

It was at that point Donna got up and gave me a lesson in crisis control.

First she told us both to shut the fuck up.(1)

At that point she led us to the couch where she looked at the girl and told us to carry her to the bathroom and put her in the bathtub.(2)

She turned on the shower and started running cold water on the girl. The girl went into convulsions. Because me and the boyfriend were idiots she kept banging her head on the water spigot.(3) Blood was flying from her head.

After a few seconds the girl came to. The first thing she did was complain about the blood on her head.(4)

Donna turned to the boyfriend and said, “Sometimes your girlfriend isn’t really dead.” She then went back to our bedroom (5)while I explained to our guests where the nearest hospital was.

I tell this story because some people seem to think that I think the girlfriend is dead.

That blog networks should be quickly taken and thrown in the internet dumpster.

That’s not true.

I think blogs and blog specific networks will be around a long time. I think some of the owners are creating value for the readers and finding new and creative revenue streams.

  • ProBlogging, Erati’s new site will feature not only blogging but other services as well that a problogger would need, i.e. hosting, consulting, etc. I like the idea and where they are going with it.
  • b5 are going to be blogging the Winter Olympics. How cool is that. One of the advantages of a blog a that you can get content to an audience faster than almost any other way. Nice to see them taking advantage of that.
  • Denton has recently taken on Silicon Valley and will be aiming at Wall Street next. He knows that gossip works in all industries.
  • Networks are launching all the time and are becoming more focused.
  • Scrivs at Fine Fools realized that small is the new big, and cut the fat off of his network. A wise move.
  • Networks like Glam and ifroggy taking blogs to a new level with shopping as a major part of the network.
  • Jen and Jake over at Gothamist continue to grow (IMO) the finest of the city-centric networks

I could go on but I think the point has been made. Cool networks are being created and continue to grow. Despite what some folks are saying. The future looks bright.

It seems the girlfriend isn’t really dead.

[side note: Donna's 5 Step Crisis Management Guide

  1. Don't Panic
  2. Quickly access the situation and act. Even if wrong you should do something.
  3. Ignore you minions mistakes. In stressful situations they are bound to fuck up. No big deal. Stay focused on the main task.
  4. Don't expect gratitude. Sometimes people and companies don't even realize how close they came to death.
  5. When the major part of the crisis is over give control back to your underlings.]
Explore posts in the same categories: b5media, blog networks, content, erati, Gawker Media, Glam, gothamist

17 Comments on “Sometimes Your Girlfriend Isn’t Really Dead:The Future Of Blog Networks”


  1. I think most folk in blog networking feel that a shakeup is coming. There’ll be more consolidation. There’ll be more failures. But, more than anything, there will be very few more “large” networks, because the reality is that the strength of a networks is in 5-15 small sites, not huge ones :)

  2. Andy Hagans Says:

    I concur.

    Yea a lot are having a touch time. But this biz rewards longevity above all else. ARCHIVES!

    p.s. IMHO Gothamist is one of the finest content networks out there, while all the other blogpuppies whine and flame they’ve been building tons of great content (and market positions!)

  3. chartreuse Says:

    Andy is (finally!) right!

    Longevity creates value. Because of long tail, longevity means you have more content (and adsense ads) for consumers to read (and click).

    Thanks Andy, I have to do a post on that…I just need a music angle…

  4. Brian Clark Says:

    I just like the dead girlfriend story. That’s why I hang around here despite not owning or being involved in a blog network.

    Good stories are the key to everything.

  5. Dave Says:

    Jeremy , do you mean by 5 -15 small sites in terms of breaking down 1 huge one ? becuase B5 has over 80 and is still growing, so that doesn’t follow. I agree a shake up will be coming, that happens in every new area of the web, how many auction sites remain ? Yahoo, Go Ricardo, among others, all gone. The long tail is not the 80-20 rule but that 99% appeals to somebody, the key is to have a system that can make it economical to keep it around. In music thats why cd stores are going out of business because they can’t hold that Pet Shop Boys Album .

  6. RT Says:

    So there will probably be more consolidations and mergers. Bigger networks taking in the smaller ones, I don’t know why noone does a comparison of this kind of industry to the similar industry on Television and magazines. The foundations are similar, despite the content, production and execution moves a lot faster online and has the potential to reach far more people.

  7. raj Says:

    I, too, think that the mergers will continue. But I don’t think it’ll matter to small publishers. If you are, or want to be, an online publisher, you can carve out your own niche. I don’t think that this will ever change, unless the Internet ceases to be “free”, beyond access and hosting, as some rumours suggest.

    I’m a former print mag publisher. I had a monthly circulation of 5,000 because that was all I could afford while trying to get my Master’s degree simultaneously. But I couldn’t even compete for ad sales with the magazine I used to work for (for free), when they lied about their circ being 8-10K bi-weekly. I was honest about my circ, and it hurt me. Even though the record companies and book publishers openly told me the preferred dealing with me than the publisher I used to work for.

    I gave them tons of honest coverage, managed to snag lots of very passionate writers, who interviewed some very cool musicians, writers, and filmmakers. My regional mag ended up all over the world, transported by travellers. Ultimately, I just couldn’t afford to fork over $1500-2000/m, when all of that was from my own pocket because I couldn’t get enough advertising.

    On the Internet, however, if both of us small publishers went head to head now, I think that it’d be easier for my magazine to prove itself. On the other hand, I doubt I could compete with a large blog network. But I don’t think that will matter. I might not ever make $1,000,000/yr with AdSense, but I think that I could carve out a network that would make myself and a small cadre of writers a reasonable living.

    My perspective is that the Internet doesn’t necessarily level the playing field between big and small networks, but the potential is there. It’s far easier for me to bootstrap my small network into a big one. On the other hand, starving writers are often far more passionate and therefore often more interesting.

    If I did grow a small network into a large one, I think it would lose its identity and lose its existing readership. But it would probably gain a new readership. It happens with print mags and it no doubt will happen with blog networks.


  8. Dave, to answer your question, the biggest reason we started our “Channels” is to allow smaller groups of blogs to flourish. The natural extension of grouping blogs together in content channels is to do things like shorten the sidebar to only show blogs in the current channel the user is in, to allow feeds for the whole channel, etc.

    Effectively, creating mini networks within b5.

    There’s a strength to b5′s bigness (resources, talent, ideas, passion, community, etc), but there is a strength to “small” as well. And, really, small is where people should be focussing because it’s where the money is, it’s where you get the most return and it’s where you find the most value (in my personal, humble, opinion ;)).

  9. Dave Says:

    Thanks Jeremy, that clears it up for me, and yes i agree 100% with what you say. Wide and Deep, is the way to go.

  10. Patrick Says:

    Thanks for the mention. :) I appreciate the kind words.

    Myself, I wouldn’t call shopping a major part of our network. We have 5 AWS sites that don’t really account for much traffic or much revenue (a nice little boost, but not a lot, in my opinion). But, they are nice nonetheless. :)

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  12. [...] Back when I was living my life of debauchery in the French Quarter of New Orleans I received a phone call from an old friend of mine. [...]

  13. joe Says:

    I’m no expert on blogging, or technology, or even girlfriends named Donna.

    But I loved the story. Laughed out loud, actually.

    It’s a fair statement to say that all these relatively new uses of technology are changing the landscape of life as we know it. Where it all ends up is anybody’s guess.

    Why don’t we ask Donna?

    Cheers.

    Joe Euteneuer

  14. loc Says:

    Great job guys… Thank for you work…


  15. [...] When I 18 years old I moved in with a smart, hot 28 year old divorcee. [...]

  16. vinylart Says:

    Brilliant. Hadn’t checked this one out before. So well crafted.

    Peace.


  17. [...] when I was living my life of debauchery in the French Quarter of New Orleans I received a phone call from an old friend of [...]


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