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Today’s complex measurements of blogger “influence” will ultimately evolve to measurements of ad revenues 7/18/07

Posted by Steve Boriss in Influence, Monetize.

The traditional measure of success in Western cultures is money, making it difficult for competition-minded bloggers, who still live in a yet-to-be-monitzed world. So, they have had to satisfy themselves with substitute measures, like the number of hits, feeds, unique visitors, and incoming links from other sites (appropriately called “authority” in a nod to its competitive, testosterone-driven roots). Jeff Jarvis describes the latest phase in this evolution, measures of “influence.”

But ultimately, there will be a convergence between influence and money, the traditional yardstick of success. In the 1800’s, when larger-than-life newspaper editors like Horace Greeley roamed the Earth, papers attracted and influenced communities of the like-minded, which French historian Alexis de Tocqueville dubbed “Associations.” We will see a similar spawning of trusted news brands with trusted personalities behind them. The size and sales prospect composition of their audiences will convert their influence into dollars. As in everything else in life, if you want to find the future of news, follow the money.


1. Adam - 7/18/07

I started to respond, but my comment got to be far to big. So, I wrote a post, instead.

To summarize: I disagree. While it’s undeniable that successful sources in the new media will make money, at the very least to cover their costs of maintenance as more and more bandwidth is sucked up, I don’t think that the amount of money earned will be an adequate measurement of how prolific a particular blog has become.

2. Steve Boriss - 7/18/07

Adam, Here’s the leaps of faith I am asking you to take… Might advertisers ultimately accept whatever blogs morph into as legitimate places to put their ad dollars? And once that happens, might the bloggers who had been doing things for little to no money take the cash? I say yes to both, and the elite, very best bloggers will stop operating from hand-to-mouth.

3. Adam - 7/19/07

Well, there are already things like Google adsense and what have you, and I suppose the nice thing about the web is precisely that it’s much easier to track the interests and location of one’s audience, and that you don’t have to have one fixed ad in a particular spot; rather it can change for each viewer.

That said, I think that the majority of blogs will remain amateur works done in the spare time that people have outside of their real jobs; so most of them won’t really need the extra cash, though I’m sure they’ll take what they can get. Glenn Reynolds was never hand-to-mouth, because he’s got steady employment as a professor of law already–though blogging has undoubtedly brought him a pretty penny.

4. Steve Boriss - 7/19/07

Adam, I agree that most bloggers will continue to be amateurs. Surely, the entire social computing area will be uncompensated, and in my definitions of news, those are part of the arena of “news,” too — news of friends and family.

5. Adam - 7/19/07

The kind we care about the most, when it comes right down to it 🙂

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