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Even the ‘Big Boys’ Call It Quits At Times

Posted By Darren Rowse 20th of August 2006 Blog Networks 0 Comments

I was just doing my rounds of other digital photography blogs and discovered Weblogs Inc’s offering in the niche has closed up shop (although it hasn’t been moved to their ‘retired’ section of their network list yet).

I have to say I’m not too surprised by the move – from what I’ve seen the blog never really found it’s place in the wider niche and looking at their stats the seven months that the blog has been active haven’t put it among the most trafficked blogs at WIN (although ironically this month will be their biggest).

It was always a blog that wrote good quality content but that never really stood out as being terribly unique or ground breaking.

The blogger from the blog, Andrew Barrow, reports in comments that it could have been to do with the lack of response in their numerous calls for new bloggers.

I generally advise bloggers to go a little longer than 7 months to see how a blog goes (particularly in terms of Search Enginge rankings which can take 12 months to really settle) – but I guess in the scheme of things at WIN an underperforming blog is more trouble than it’s worth to maintain (sometimes it just comes down to business sense which I can understand having retired some of my own poorly performing blogs).

I wonder also if it’s difficult having a related blog living in the shadow of a blog like Engadget which has such a presence in the tech blog scene.

As usual with their retired blogs WIN are keeping this one live as an archive (and it’s archive will continue to generate some income for as long as it remains online via SE traffic).

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. I’m surprised you didn’t mention Gawker closing down Sploid and one other blog I forget because I never read it. Too bad, too; unlike Gawker’s other blogs, Sploid was actually worth reading.

  2. True Michael – I did mention it a few weeks back but it would have been a good addition to this post also.

  3. “The blogger from the blog, Andrew Barrow, reports in comments that it could have been to do with the lack of response in their numerous calls for new bloggers.”
    This shows that getting quality bloggers is becoming a major challenge for most of the blog networks. In a way, it is a good news for the bloggers. If you have the quality, there will be a lot of opportunities.

  4. They should have just let it go longer.

  5. (although ironically this month will be there biggest)

    there = their :)

    Darren, I guess they couldn’t beat your original Livingroom photography blog at the search engine rankings!

  6. Yea dareen no one can beat “original” content like yours. So whe is your ground breaking idea for digital photography blogs.

  7. The question is when is Darren going to gave an original thought? Darren writes this outstanding article on some (insert digital camera, cell phone, laptop, printer, etc) and he writes. “This is a copied and pasted article from someone else with a lot of talent and I stole it because I want you to hate my content and click on those ads on the side of my blog.”

  8. Shane/qwerty I do appreciate your comments but there’s no need to leave two comments on the same post under different names.

    I feel like I’ve answered your concerns previously in a comment that you didn’t respond to. Perhaps if we could contain your comments to the one comment thread we could have a constructive conversation on the topic rather that have a fairly random conversation that goes no where.

    I’m more than willing to talk you through my approach and how I see what I do as being of some value to my readers. Shoot me an email or an IM perhaps?

  9. Razib,
    I don’t believe that there is a supply problem in terms of ”quality bloggers” at this time, indeed we’ve never had a call yet where it hasn’t been extremely hard in not only shortlisting, but having to say no to some really, really talented people because of the depth of applications we’ve recieved: I think its more likely that there may just be a lack in specific digital camera bloggers…after all I’m guessing that to get into the nitty gritty of the subject you’d need to know a fair bit about them.

  10. 7-month ehhh…..
    My site is hardly a month old…so looks like I will have a long way to go. What do you think of my blogsite…your comment and ideas is truly appreciated.

  11. Duncan’s right. Digital cameras and sailing are two areas we’ve found it almost impossible to find good bloggers for. Our sailing blog had to be scrapped and our digital camera blog will proceed with a slightly unsatisfactory arrangement of two not-quite top league (in terms of their knowledge) writers. I can understand WIN’s decision here.

  12. Interesting to see one of the big guys pull out.
    There wouldnt be much point in pulling the whole blog down though you would have thought?

    There is always the oportunity for miscilanious references from the search engines from time to time

  13. Personally I think people should turn everyone of your posts into the topic I have laid out. You have a lot of ass kissers who are just trying to get a link from you, so they will defend you until their dying breath. NEWFLASH Darren will never give a link to you poeple saying he has the greatest blog in the world. Would you like to know why darren makes so much money. It is called Search Engine Optimization. One, when he puts down someone wrote this by saying this, he always puts the excerpt in quotes which will trick the duplicate content filters into think it is original. Next he hyperlinks the name of the camera or whatever technology he is “writing” 6 to 8 times in his post. This way when someone puts a search query into google, there will be 6 to 8 references to the product in his post so it tricks google into thinking it is the most relevant post. Finally what he does is he has his buddies all link to his blogs so that they pass on “googlejuice” to his blog. Blog Networks to me are nothing more then site rings that we saw a few years back. Will I be getting one to gether in the future you bet, but that is all predicated on his cronies not clicking my ads on my blog a bunch of times like they did last night to get me banned from google. I already wrote google and asked them to investigate what is happening.

    How do I know this crap works. I did it on my automobile blog. I went from making about $1.00/day to making around $20.00/day in three months once I started using these techniques. Of course there are two more factors that occured. The age of my domain and a lot of interlinking within my blogs.

    There is a reason you only have 8000 readers on feedburner. Yo make the assumption that this is success. Well to me it says that more people think your blog is crap then they do think it is good. Here is why I think this. There a ton of people out there trying to make money with their blogs. I would say into the millions are, about 50% will search on how to do this. They will find your blog as a top link in the search engines, so why are not more of them making this blog a must read. Michael Arrington blog has been around a lot less time then yours and his is approaching the 83,000 range. I know they are two unrelated blogs, but everyone has to have an excuse.

    You wanna know what my excuse is I do not write very well, and I am not that original. Now I can admit that, can you. The people you steal your content from don’t complain because you don’t make a dent on their sites, trust me if you were stealing money from them they would complain, just like you do when someone steals your content. So my original thought is that you need to get over yourself, and realize that you will never really be a big dog on the internet as long as you steal other people’s content.

  14. You know, being an artist I can understand having to have the dedication in order to see something through to the ‘successful’ end. Truth is though, working as an artist for yourself is a LOT different than trying to put it out there. I find I get discouraged a lot, specially when I’m up against other more “successful” artists. I usually end up wanting to give up in the end. I guess one secret to blogging is the same in art, never compare yourself to the other artists, keep at it, and do it for yourself and the people who love it will actually come to you in the end. *shrugs*

  15. Wow! After just launching our blog -http://www.DeathToFilm.com, I was looking for information on how to effectively publicize it and I found this discussion about digital photo blogs. Very cool.

    “there may just be a lack in specific digital camera bloggers…after all I’m guessing that to get into the nitty gritty of the subject you’d need to know a fair bit about them.”

    One of the reasons we conceived D2F was the lack of good information about high end professional digital photography. Don’t get me wrong, I love LuminousLandscape but the ergonomics of how a digital camera works while wearing gloves isn’t even on our radar.

    Our topics will cover pro digital cameras, workflow techniques and digital gadgets and computer gear that help us do our jobs. We also share interesting shoot stories like the Time Magazine Spielberg Cover shoot, Mr T for Hanes double tough socks and be sure to check out the National Gaurd shoot with the title “A Bacon Sandwich As Big As Your Head”.

    If you are thinking that I am shamelessly promoting our blog, you are partially right. The post I am responding to has strayed into a discussion about the dearth of digital photography bloggers. My comment is to let everyone know that there is a new digital photo oriented blog being written by professionals for professionals.

    The question for Darren is:
    have I effectively used the comment field to both add to the discussion and promote my blog or have I broken rules of blog etiquette?

    Michael Britt

  16. funny… we had a staff meeting on Friday and we spent about 20 minutes discussing the DP blog. many on our staff were fans of it, and people really want us to bring it back.

    we’ve been consolidating some of our smaller blogs into our bigger blogs because:

    a) the big ones are sold out on advertising and need more inventory
    b) the small ones are having a hard time become money makers for us because

  17. Its funny, I responded to a “call for bloggers” via Weblogs Inc. They said they would like to see my writing in the specific realm or blog I was interested in writing for. And that my writing on my current site did not apply. So, I put together a review/article for thier Search Marketing blog, submitted it and then was told they are getting rid of that one too, and that I must do another article in order to apply. No thanks.

  18. comment got cut off… let me keep going…

    b) the small ones are having a hard time become money makers for us because advertisers want blogs with > 1M pages a month.

    Doesn’t have to do as much with page views as us wanting to focus on our big winners that advertisers can’t get enough of (think autoblog, engadget, engadgetmobile, hdbeat, autobloggreen, luxist, tvsquad, cinematical, etc).

    We have a batch of blogs in the 500k to 3M page a month range and we want to push them all to the 5M a month mark–that takes focus. When we get them to 5M pages a month each we will be able to cover all the advertising deals we have coming in, and we can go back and look at new blogs, etc.

    we consolidated 9 blogs into DownloadSquad and it’s grown by 50-100% in a month… it will be past the 1M page mark over the next month or two, and that means advertisers will be very happy.

    bottom line: we are in phase two at WIN, and phase two is about scale. We knnow we can make money, the question is can we scale this business to a LOT of money. Like move the needle at AOL money–and we’re on the way.

  19. coolio man

  20. “I generally advise bloggers to go a little longer than 7 months to see how a blog goes (particularly in terms of Search Enginge rankings which can take 12 months to really settle ”

    After that time, how would you determine whether it was successful enough to contine?

  21. oops…meant continue.

  22. […] Darren Rowse discusses why bloggers call it quits. […]

  23. Jason – thanks for the clarifications there. Looks like an interesting time at WIN.

    Shane/qwerty – once again – not quite sure how to respond. You seem really angry.

    I’ll say up front – I’ve got no idea what you’re talking about in terms of clicking your ads. I don’t do that kind of thing and am confident that if Google investigate that they’ll not find anyone I’m associated with clicking them. I hope they do find who is doing it because that kind of activity not only hurts you (who I have nothing against) but also our industry. I hope you get to the bottom of it.

    In terms of SEO – I do benefit from SE traffic (it’s something I’ve written extensively about in my SEO category here. I also have a good loyal list of readers who come back to the blog every week including 10000 or so who subscribe to my newsletter. I’m not sure what the crime is in either SEO or loyal readers.

    Shane I’m not really sure what your point is. You critique me and then say you’ve benefitted from the same things?

    In terms of the popularity of this blog – again your arguments seem a little muddled. I don’t think I’ve ever talked about the popularity of ProBlogger into this argument (it’s the blog with 8000 feedburner subscribers that you refer to I presume).

    To compare this blog’s popularity with Tech Crunch is a little strange – they’re on different topics, they have different styles, different readerships etc. To be honest I’m don’t really care how we compare. I’m just trying to put together a blog that reaches it’s potential.

    In terms of ‘stealing’ content – I’ll once again point you to my comments in previous comments and say that I don’t think using a one paragraph quote that is fully acknowledged and referenced (and many times sent to me by it’s author) is stealing content. But if we have to agree to disagree then so be it.

    Once again – if you’d like to chat this over just shoot me an email or ping me on IM. I’m perplexed as to what the issue is and why you’re suddenly so angry at me again Shane. If there’s something I’ve done or something that I could do I’m sure we can sort it out – seriously, I feel like we’ve dealt with stuff well previously but this is again degenerating into something that doesn’t help anyone.

  24. Why do I come to Darren’s blogs? Because he not only has the information I need, he’s professional.

    Also, like learning how to blog, or how to be a better digital photographer, I need to learn how to create clear, factual posts like I find here. Added to this mix is how to respond to antagonistic posters (especially as I’m a bit of a hot head myself).

    One suggestion for those who struggling with the above like I am, is to read ‘Language and Thought in Action”. A classic, it teaches how to strip the emotion out of an argument, how to get the issue down to just the facts, stripping out muddied accusations. Only then can a real conversation can be had, weighing the facts of both sides.

    But until I have it sussed I’m still likely to post things like ‘why xxx sucks’ when my dander is up.

    ps: NEWFLASH (fact) Darren freely gives out links (note the ‘s’) to those who join in on his informative group blogging experiences.

  25. Good ideas, as always, from Jason. Consolidation is a good way to add strength cheaply to promising mid-range blogs. Where acquisitions cost you money, consolidation can save you money while at the same time boosting mid-performers into that magic >1m PVs range which expands your saleable inventory.

    Thanks for being so open with your thoughts, Jason.

  26. WIN closes The Digital Photography Weblog…

    Weblogs, Inc. has closed their Digital Photography Weblog:The Digital Photography Weblog is retiring. This is a sad development (heh — see what I did there?) for loyal readers, but fits right in with the evolution of Weblogs Inc. This blog……

  27. Yeah, good stuff Jason – it’s good getting a sneak peak at how you’re going about things over there.

    Now what is the problem with Shane/Qwerty? I think Darren explains himself pretty clearly in how he does his blogging. As long as it’s a short pull-out quote that’s fully atrributed to the source and not passed off as your own then what’s the problem?

    It’s almost verging on defamation – and any other blogger other than Darren would seriously think about going down that path.

    As for ProB, I don’t get his train of thought. 8,000 rss subscribers, 10,000 email subscribers seems pretty damn good to me. And as for value: what about last weeks list group project: an absolute massive smash hit – lots of link love, new blogs found.

    Sheesh Shane/Qwerty, maybe you need to cut loose from Darren a little and do your own thing.

  28. Shane/Qwerty – Yeah, it is so pissing when Darren post something he stole from techcrunch, the problem is he doesn’t attribute it.

    Why would anyone kiss his ass to get a link from Darren. A link from Problogger would not get you 8k readers.

    At least now he just makes the project list instead of fooling bloggers to send in their post and he’ll post it at his blog for a link. He’ll make money off your content while you are so happy with a burst in traffik. A day of fame. after that, go back to reality.

  29. Oh come on John,

    (or should I call you Observer, Johnny, Mike, Dan or one of the other names you go by here when you leave your stirring comments – or perhaps I should use your real name which you use when you’re asking questions or promoting your blog….)

    When have I used a story from TechCrunch and not attributed it?

    Do a search of this site and you’ll find I’ve referenced them on 20-30 posts in the last 6 months as being the inspiration for posts.

    You’ll probably also find a few stories that I’ve run that are similar to theirs simply because our topics overlap but I’m sure if you check time stamps that you’ll find on some of them we broke stories before them and some the other way around. Just because someone runs a similar story to another blog doesn’t mean it’s stolen.

    Instead of just leaving random comments alluding to what I’m doing wrong I’d encourage you to be specific and constructive. Tell me where I’ve missed an attribution and if I have (it does happen every few months that I miss putting in a link) I’ll rectify it.

    Of course you’ll probably not respond to this comment because in other comment threads where I’ve responded to your bitchy little remarks you’ve disappeared and not been willing to dialogue.

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