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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. Heya Darren – 4 *good* responses. Appreciate the link, too.

    I’m sure I missed a few networks out – nothing intentional, though. So if anyone catches this and wants to contribute, feel free to either comment on the original entry, or drop me an email – I’ll probably be following this up in a week or so and I’ll include you in that.

  2. I’d rather know what advantage bloggers see in joining a network.

    I’ll slightly edit and repeat a comment I just made at a blog that just joined 9rules:


    Being a part of a network gives you no additional credibility with me, and I can’t see why it would with anyone else. Personally, I’d be afraid of losing credibility by joining a network – I see it the other way around as crappy other blogs could affect me by association. I’d rather stand or die on my own merits in general.


    I’d have to see real before and after stats to believe it. As I said, I can believe that right this minute it might boost your PR, but my gut says Google etc. will close that off as soon as they realize what the new game is. The potential is there for any network to act like a big incestuous link farm.

    What’s the attraction?

    I think networks are the fad du jour. Again, I could be missing something, but so far I’ve seen nothing that really answers my question. Perhaps Darren can open my eyes.

  3. I disagree. And I’ll pre-empt Darren here, and say that in addition to traffic and credibility, networks also offer a stack of behind the scenes support, that a lot of people don’t realise is actually there. Lots of bloggers don’t want to mess around with software, and templates, and experiments with ad positioning, and negotiating with ad networks, and installing plugins, and marketing their blog, etc, etc, etc. All they want to do is write, and joning a network is a great way for them to do that.

    But all that support stretches to more than just the technical stuff. It’s about being part of a team, rather then going it alone.

    As for the ‘crappy blogs’ part, the answer’s simple. Don’t join a network that runs crappy blogs.

    Different strokes, though – what works for one person isn’t necessarily going to work for the next.

  4. OK, I can buy the tech part to some degree, though aren’t modern CMS systems rather easy to use nowadays? I write my own code, so don’t follow that stuff closely..

    Crappy blogs can come in afterwards. And they don’t necessarily have to be “crappy”, either: I would not want to be associated with a right-wing blog and I’m sure no social conservative would want to be associated with a damn Yankee liberal like me!

    Marketing: OK, that sounds like a good pitch. But I haven’t seen anything in any network descriptions that tells me they do that. I’d want to see stats too. If the marketing is just a ponzi scheme of making the network bigger, I really don’t believe that’s going to work long term.

    I’ll buy negotiations with ad networks. But I’d need to see hard figures – what would that really mean to me in terms of increased income?

    “Part of the team”. Just what does that mean? I hear it all the time, but what does it really mean? I don’t need another set of buddies, and can get all kinds of social interaction at the various blog forums. So how does the “team” really help the individual blogger?

    I’d also be concrened about editorial control – if someone could censor me, I wouldn’t be very happy. But then again, I wouldn’t want some other member going off the deep end..

    I’d like to see more discussion of this. I doubt I would ever join a network (I really don’t play well with others) but it definitely is an area that needs more examination and analysis. Right now it feels like “everybody knows networks are good” with nothing to back it up. I’m not saying it can’t be justified; I’d just like to see more in depth examination of the pros and cons.

    Well.. long post. Probably should have blogged it instead..

  5. pcunix: I think you just answered your own question. If you “don’t play well with others” — you’ll never see the advantages and benefits of blogging with a network. It’s a bit like trying to explain the advantages of vegetarianism to a meat-loving person. It’s just not going to happen. No one can ever convince you of something you don’t want to be convinced about. And, that doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Thing is, network blogging just isn’t for you, plain and simple. At least you know what you want, and you go for it. Good on ‘ya.

    Those who “want to play with others” — well, they know what the advantages are — and each network offers a different set of benefits (and disadvantages). For them, it’s just a matter if which network they want to join, depending on their needs, abilities, and interests. And, if they are able to fit in any of the networks that they’re interested to join.

  6. I’ve set up a wiki page in Ireland (www.bdmwiki.com/index.php/Bloggers_for_Hire) for bloggers to offer their services to companies on a part-time / freelance or per-post basis.

    The idea is that lots of companies would like to blog, but don’t know how, have a fear of the platform, or don’t have the time or internal resource to do it. We’re trying to introduce these companies to bloggers that are prepared to write posts about their industry, on their behalf and in the company blog.

    It’s important to note that this is not paying bloggers to blog about you, it’s hiring someone part-time to help get your business blog up and going. It’s a partnership.

    For the moment it’s only Irish bloggers, but really anyone is welcome to sign-up.

    Hopefully it’ll help create a few more ‘ProBloggers’ like Darren!

  7. If someone were trying to explain the advantages of vegetarianism, I’d expect that they’d at least mention the health issues, perhaps point to studies of cancer rates correllated with high meat consumption, and might touch on the inhumane aspects of animal husbandry and slaughter.

    But if they just said “you’re a meat eater, you will never understand”, I’d call that a cop-out answer and say that person doesn’t themselves have a clue why they don’t eat meat.

  8. pcunix thanks for the questions.

    Most of the people who have joined b5media have expressed one or more of the following reasons for joinging:

    1. They wanted to connect with other bloggers and work together on a common project.
    2. They didn’t have the time or expertise to set up and run a blog in a logistical sense (ie we handle design, hosting, promotion etc)
    3. They wanted to connect with bloggers with some sort of profile or expertise (while we don’t individually coach each blogger the forums that we create for blogger to interact with one another and us are places of learning and sharing of ideas)
    4. They were not sure of how to monetise their blogs and/or didn’t have time to do so. We’ve been able to negotiate a number of deals so far with advertisers for network wide ads that I doubt any of us would have gotten as single bloggers. You mention above that you’ve not seen many networks talk about this – we must be reading different posts as its something I know we’ve talked about and that I’ve seen a number of other networks talk about over the years.
    5. Traffic – I can’t give you any before and after stats because none of the blogs in the network had any traffic before hand – but some of the blogs in the network have had more traffic than I’ve ever had in the first month of a new blog. They have all achieved PR of 5, 6 or 7. I take your point on PR above – who knows how Google will treat it down the track – but if the other blogs are anything to go by over the past couple of years I’m not so sure.

    I’m sure there are other reasons – but these were the main ones expressed. Feel free to get in touch with some of them and see what they have to say also.

    I’ll never argue that blog networks are essential or will suit all blogs or bloggers but from what I can see and experience they certainly help some.

    hope that sheds some light on it although I get the feeling you might want to see the stats….of course most blog networks are going to go public with all their details to be honest.

  9. pcunix – Actually, in my head, the scenario was more like this:

    A bunch of people are enjoying talking about what they like so much about vegetarianism. Another person comments and says: “Well, I don’t like vegetarianism. I don’t see the point in it. Tell me why I should be a vegetarian – or why I should agree with you that it’s any good.” If it was me in that scenario, I would’ve just looked at the person and said, “Hey, it’s okay not to like vegetarianism. You don’t have to be a vegetarian. The same way I don’t need to tell you why I am.” Not necessarily as a cop-out answer, but as a way to respect that person’s initial instinct not to like what I like or to believe in the things I believe in.

    I guess, that’s why I really did in this case. Maybe I’m just not an effective evangelist. :-)

    Either that, or I’m being too lazy to look up and link to a post I wrote back in June 2005 – http://www.shaicoggins.com/index.php/weblog/advantages_of_network_blogging/ – titled “Advantages of Network Blogging” Haha.

    It’s not updated, though. I’ve changed some of my thinking already – but haven’t rewritten that post yet to account for some of the things I’ve learned over the last few months.

    Anyway, like Darren said, Blog Networks isn’t the end-all and be-all of the blogosphere. I don’t think that anyone’s saying that everyone should blog with or for a network.

    If anyone would want to do an extensive study with all the stats and numbers that you’re looking for – I’m sure a few people would be interested in it too —- whether they’re for or against network blogging. If I had the time, I’d carry one out myself. Thanks to this conversation, a few research designs have popped in to mind. :-)

  10. Darren – as usual, just the response I was looking for. And Shai, thanks for that link; I’ve referenced that and Darren’s comments in the post I made about this whole thing this morning. I hope someone does do more research and analysis. Who knows – maybe I’ll change my mind, though, like Groucho Marx, I probably wouldn’t want to belong to any club that would have me as a member :-)

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