Bloggercon: The business of blogs

Bloggercon: The business of blogs

: I’m delighted that Dave Winer has asked me to handle a session at Bloggercon (I had a ball playing Oprah — complete with bad words — at the last BCon).

The topic: Making blogs a business.

Please start the discussion here and now. In Dave’s wise view of these sessions, there are no panels — hell, in this area, there are no experts (yet) — and so everybody is on the panel, everybody is an expert, it’s all your show. Shape it now. Ask questions. Push the discussion. Let’s get to Cambridge ready to rock ‘n’ roll.

Let’s make clear from the very start: Many people don’t want their blogs to be a business. Dandy.

But for those who do, I want to see everyone in the room answer two questions (or you tell me what the questions are) in a giant white-board business brainstorming session. My starting list:

1. What is the business potential of blogs? What is their value? Can they sell products? Can they sell subscriptions (to themselves or to other media)? Can they provide consumer opinion and buzz? What about sponsorship and underwriting? How many tip jars can the world support? What about blogging for The Man? Is Google enough to support this medium? Let’s sell blogs to ourselves and find all the ways they can be supported financially.

2. What’s required to make that happen — from a business and a technical perspective? Do we need reliable ways to count traffic, demographics, behavior, authority, and so on? Do we need technology for standard ad calls and reporting? Do we need our own PR to sell the value of blogs to marketers?

And we should also ask: What are the booby traps? How should bloggers handle conflict of interest? Do we need to guard against our readers being ripped off by bad advertisers? Do bloggers need to worry about being ripped off? Does it ruin this personal medium to become a business medium?

That’s just a start. So keep the discussion going now — here and on the Bloggercon site.

Hope to see you and hear you in Cambridge!

: Here’s the run-up to Jay Rosen’s session on journalism at Bloggercon (I’ll be there).

: And here’s the start of the power law discussion (based on Clay Shirky‘s writing), to be led by Nick Denton.

: Henry Copeland of Blogads is properly reminding us all that weblogs already make money — thanks to Blogads (plus Google AdSense). Sorry. I assumed that. No need to sell the sold. Blogads is growing like mad. But I’m also talking about how to get the most out of that — for example, how do we get more blogs involved and convince more advertisers to use them — and how to imagine new value and new revenue; let’s dream!