Living With Beyonce (Or The Problem with Most Blog Networks)


[ one of the cool things about having this space is that I get the chance to give other folks the stage once in a while. 9rules honcho Beyonce (or Tyme White to those who don't read this blog) agreed to write something specifically for you guys. I wasn't expecting anything too controversial, oops! It's a great read and really something for writers to think about before joining a blog network.] 


Bet you weren't expecting an entry from Beyonce!  Before I say one more thing…hello VampireFeet!  One other thing, for those emailing me wondering why Char wasn't accepted in Round 4…he didn't submit his site, ok?

There is something I don't understand about "professional" bloggers and perhaps you can clue me in. Here's a real life example of what I mean.

Let's say you buy a house on a acre of land. You love your house, you take great care of it. One day the city informs you they need that land to build a mall and you have to move. You own the house but you don't own the land.

How would you feel?

Would you feel that's was a smart move?

Back to blogging.

There was a lot of discussion about the 9rules model being a failure. There was additional discussion on making money outside of ads. Keeping those discussions in mind, answer me this: why would a professional blogger write content they can't control?

I know what you're going to say, they own the content because they can take it with them!

My response?

They don't own the land (the domain). Traffic is what professional bloggers want, correct? Isn't traffic directly linked to the domain? 

There are professional bloggers who write all over the place.  Essentially they have houses all over the place and they don't own any land.

If they are good enough, eventually an advertiser will be interested in placing ads on their blog.

First question the advertiser asks: how much traffic does this writer (blog) receive? Well, that number would be higher if the blogger hadn't spread the traffic around, wouldn't it? But they aren't going to get it all anyway because of the middle man (network).  

Double screwed, lovely.

I know, these bloggers think they can't get the traffic themselves. It's a great way to make money, gain exposure.   How is putting content on domains you don't own smarter than buying a house and you don't own the land? Is it like renting? A renter doesn't call themselves a home owner, do they?

Back to 9rules, our members own the house and the land. 9rules doesn't have to pay for the overhead for you to visit their homes, like the other networks do.  Business 101: less expenses mean more opportunity to do things. Since some ideas are out there on how to monetize outside of advertising, does it make more sense?

Own the house. Definitely own the land and monetize it.

Control it.  

[You can read Tyme White regularly on her blog, NotTooGeeky

Explore posts in the same categories: 9rules, advertisers, advertising, Army Of One, beyonce, blog networks, blogging, chartreuse (beta), communities, Guest Post, money, new media, smart, Tyme White, Weblog, work, writers

22 Comments on “Living With Beyonce (Or The Problem with Most Blog Networks)”

  1. VampireFeet Says:

    Thank you for the shoutout Tyme. I think you are AWESOME.

    You are right when you say that blog networks actually limit the amount the money a writer makes. That is an astute observation.

    And Char, next time Tyme writes for you please post pictures of her instead of your usual artistic stuff!

  2. TerryC Says:

    I disagree with some of this.

    I think that a blogger gets MUCH more traffic when on a network than when they are on their own.

    I agree about owning a domain, but to really get traffic it’s better to be part of a large group where everyone gets a peice.

  3. Okay, math.

    Blog 1: Gets 1000 visitors a day, generates 50$/month in ad revenue, owned by blogger
    Blog 2: Gets 25,000 visitors a day, generates 2500$/month in ad revenue, owned by network

    It’s hard to say which is “better”. Blog 1 is worth less, but is wholly owned by the writer. Over a period of years, that traffic would grow substantially, of course, but so would Blog 2.

    Blog 2 is worth more, but when the blogger leaves all they get to take is their “furniture”. But, they’ve lived in the place rent free, gained visibility and can “buy their own place” with the money they saved, the visibility they gained and the cash they earned.

    Personally I’m not sure which is better. I think it depends on what a writer wants. If you’re buying a house, is the shack you can afford now better or is the mansion you could afford if you put in the work for 2 years better?

    That’s not a question anyone can answer for anyone else. These kinds of things are personal decisions for each and every writer.

    But one thing is clear, if you like owning your house, there is value in joining a network like 9rules or Blue Fish or Federated Media or Pajamas Media. And I’d say there’s lots of value. I’m not in any way bashing that model.

    Just saying that if we want to talk about blog networks in a certain way, let’s be fair about it.

    ps: Tyme, this is why we were supposed to do that podcast πŸ˜‰

  4. Scrivs Says:

    She chickened out. I told her to use this example:

    Is it better to own Beyonce or to own the lyrics? I say better to own Beyonce because you can always find more lyrics, but your lyrics might never find another Beyonce again.

    And I’m out.

  5. Tyme Says:

    VampireFeet – You’re welcome! You’re the one that’s awesome!

    TerryC – The question is: what type of network?

    Jeremy – LOL I need to set aside some time to do that. Keep in mind, I’m not bashing your business model (or the others). I’m saying bloggers tend to look at the short term when making the decision. Your model revolves on ad revenue. For a blogger there are many other ways to make money using their blogs.

    About the exposure, here’s an example. I don’t think anyone would deny that WIN is a successful network. They have a couple of very popular blogs. Joystiq is one of them. Joystiq has 12 bloggers. Name 6. WIN has a couple hundred bloggers? Name 40. Don’t peek. In comparison, name 40 blogs in Pajama Media, 9rules, etc. When I asked readers this same question they were able to name blogs in networks more than writers. Is that the type of exposure you’re talking about? πŸ™‚

    Scrivs – saving that analogy for another entry πŸ™‚

  6. Tyme: And ask our readers to name 40 of our bloggers and they’d build a pretty good list. If you think WIN is the epitomy of the “blog network” style business model, we have a lot to talk about πŸ˜‰

    Scrivs: You say that like “own” is the only option. What if you own the lyrics and get 50% of everything Beyonce makes? What if you’re Beyonce but only make 10% of what your songs make? “Owning” isn’t the only part of the equation here πŸ™‚

  7. ps: Tyme, I know you weren’t bashing our business model. And I’m not bashing yours. I think it’s a personal decision for bloggers.

  8. Do It For The Passion

    9rules Members don’t blog for the money, they blog because they have a fiery passion for their favorite topic. They’re entrepreneurial, industrious, adventurous, and are excited by the prospect that they control their site’s destiny. They’ve work…

  9. Tyme Says:

    Jeremy, your readers should be able to name bloggers. 9rules readers could do the same. In my opinion, when bloggers think about exposure, they think recongition. This is why they spread themselves out over multiple networks – trying to get the exposure and recognition. But is that the wisest move to make?

    Bloggers need to be smarter about their strategies and optimize the network relationship. Blog networks are going to have to evolve because (hopefully) bloggers will wise up and realize they can do more to gain better exposure. The average blogger in these networks think about the paycheck and they don’t explore all their options.

    And no, WIN isn’t the epitomy network but I had to use something LOL.

  10. Agreed, bloggers should think about consolidating efforts. And, yes, I think some are doing it out of a short-term need for more cash. And, to be honest, I think that’s *okay*. As long as they move beyond that to maximizing their potential. I look at it as the evolution of the professional blogger:

    1. Try it on your own and fail (or succeed, if you succeed, ignore the rest of the steps though)
    2. Join a network and get some success
    3. Either start more blogs there or join a second network
    4. Rinse and repeat until you either burn out or are earning enough that you consolidate your efforts
    5. Find balance, get recognition, make great money

    I think we as network owners need to do more to help bloggers through that process, because it’s a very natural process.

  11. Mike Rundle Says:

    Well the question really is, what do you consider a professional blogger? Do you think it’s someone who does it for the money (aka, a professional), or someone who does it because they’re passionate about the topic? For example, is Darren passionate about all the topics he has over at Living Room, or does he blog about Unmanned Aerial Vehicles or Secure Instant Messaging because the ads pay well?

  12. Mike Rundle Says:

    Jeremy, another tough call is what bloggers define as success. Some people define success as going from 10 RSS subscribers to 50, whereas “pro bloggers” might define success as running 5 more weblogs on high ad-value topics. Success is different to all people, and I’d hate to lump all bloggers into the cookie cutter definition of “pro blogger.”

  13. Tim Stay Says:

    You also have to take into consideration that different networks pay authors differently. Some pay only a percentage of revenue, some pay a flat fee per post, and some pay through some complex formula that mixes both traffic, posts, and the phase of the moon. There are some networks where the blogger is writing great stuff, but earning next to squat, and don’t own the content. The worst of both worlds.

    Tyme, what are the specific benefits you see that come to an author for having their site be part of the 9Rules network?

  14. Tyme Says:

    The pay scale definitely makes a difference but I think bloggers tend to sell themselves short when they think something is better than nothing.
    The members in 9rules have gotten jobs, contacts, advice, recognition, etc. but that should be typical in any network. The difference is that the members own everything. A surprising number of members have quit their jobs and started their own businesses. My point is they have complete control to monetize thinking outside the box. Some have no interest in monetizing, they simply want to connect with others. We also do things to feature their blogs/domains. Most importantly we don’t silence our members (exception private forum conversations). If we mess up, they will write about it. When we do well, they write about that too. As a blogger I expect to have freedom to do what I want with my content.

    But it’s not about our type of network vs. another type of network.

    This is about a blogger having enough faith in themselves to look at all the options (and opportunities) and picking the best one for them. Really think about it. Companies rarely evolve on their own. Users and competition forces companies to evolve. The blog network arena has been stagnant for much too long and that’s only because bloggers allow it to happen.

    Geez, I might have to take Char up on his offer to do another entry. There are so many things people just don’t seem to get. Like the door is open but they won’t walk through it.

  15. I think there is a problem with all the networks because the best monetizing tool has not been developed yet and this is where the money is. Feedburner is the closest thing there is to the best delivery vehicle and whoever uses that best will make the money.

    Adsense is nonsense.

  16. Darren Says:

    Good points all around IMHO.

    I’ve always argued that networks are not for everyone and all kinds of networks are not for everyone. It’s got to be situational.

    Reminds me of the ‘rent vs owning’ dinner party debates I’ve had over the years with friends regarding actual real estate and where you live. My opinion is that both renting and owning can work depending upon the situation of the person, their lifestyle, their financials and how they see life rolling out into the future.

    I’d argue a similar thing in this case.

    I guess the debate is similar to ‘should you work for someone else or should you work for yourself?’ Some people have no desire to do one or the other, some try both for periods of time and some are passionate about doing one or the other. There are costs and benefits either way you go and it’s about entering into them with eyes wide open and having good expectations. If you do that either can work out well for you.

    In terms of Mike’s question on whether I am passionate about IM or UAVs – I’ve always had a fascination with UAVs – I’m not sure you’d call it a passion as such but I always followed the technology and started that blog out of that. It makes a little money on the side but I do it more out of interest than anything else.

    IM is similar although that blog started more out of a financial experiment which I’ve all but given up on (hence the lack of posting). I still follow the technology but due to a combination of time, lack of performance and other priorities the blog was dropped.

  17. […] 9rules on why ownership is the only way to build value 9rules on why bloggers shouldn’t blog for more than one network 9rules on why blog networks don’t get it (see comments, 9rules on complaining about nobody listening […]

  18. […] 9rules on why ownership is the only way to build value 9rules on why bloggers shouldn’t blog for more than one network 9rules on why blog networks don’t get it (see comments) 9rules on complaining about nobody listening […]

  19. tim boucher Says:

    well, 9rules saying that you own the land and that you “control it” would be fine, except that its not true, since they have a one network only policy – even if the other network that you are part of is one in which you also own the land and control it, so to speak.

  20. honey Says:

    beyonce have you ever help poor poeple before.

  21. Romuald Says:

    Great article and excellent theme.

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