16:37 Uhr in the plenary room: Workshop Weblogs
With Andrew Carton, Gaby Darbyshire, Jörg Stengel and Johnny Haeusler. Moderated by Jochen Wegner — and yes, it’s in English, and I’m too lazy to liveblog and translate at the same time. Mind you, these are not verbatim notes, only small glimpses from the discussion.
Andrew Carton: Didn’t set out to earn money. Someone told me: Do it for the money or do it because you love it. I’m in the middle. I make money helping people find e.g. accessories. Set up a store as well, we get a commission.
Gaby Darbyshire: Gawker really is a publishing company, we are publishing in the form of blog. Revenue from advertising, depending on circulation. Like traditional publishers, you need excellent content. We built brands and deliver consistent quality, so brands became well known. Seen a shift to brand advertising instead of endemic advertising. Blogs attract targetted and influential readers.
Johnny Haeusler: Reasons why we make less money than other participants — few people can afford to work on Spreeblick all the time. For blog readers, banner ads are a sign to go away. Targetted advertisements. We sent away some people who wanted to advertise on Spreeblick. (One mobile phone company wanted to put ads on Spreeblick.) Gizmodo one of the best-written blogs in the world, but different sensitivity in Germany. People complain about ads.
Gaby Darbyshire: (Sponsorship instead of ads) I think that’s absolutely the wrong way. People don’t know whether it’s paid or not. Johnny Haeusler: That’s not the way we do it. We don’t mix editorial content and sponsored content. Johnny Haeusler: Additionally, much easier to get audience for English language blog. Jörg Stengel: Traditional media lose readers, but still have a grip on advertisers. Google AdSense changed the game.
Gaby Darbyshire: It’s a good thing to take the best of an existing system (of traditional journalism) and innovate with it. (Jochen Wegner: But blogs are not journalism?) Gaby Darbyshire: The way we read blogs is more similar to the way our brain works. But checking the facts and doing original research etc. are great assets of traditional journalism. It’s about marrying the best assets. (About differences between German and French, Spanish, British blogosphere:) Blog users are opiniated people standing on soap-boxes. The Germans are a little bit more polite — and they don’t write their blog during their working time.
Johnny Haeusler: Many people in Germany think you have your opinions, but you don’t need to tell them. There is a different culture of discussion. Gaby Darbyshire: What makes a blog succesful is new content — not necessarily to have the story first, it has to have the first unique spin to a story. Andrew Carton: Four blog formats — tabloid type (posting several times a day), newspaper format, magazine format, book format (several times a week) — all of them work. Have to be extremely passionate about your topic.
(Audience:) I wouldn’t be so pessimistic (about German blogosphere). Blogs not only about journalistic expression, also about personal expression. It is going to take a while, 1.5 or 2 years after the United States.
Andrew Carton: Frustrated about European attitude. Fantastic opportunities in Europe. Techno-artisans — by and large, we have much more artsmanship in Europe. People feel disintermediated from artisan, no connection to creator.
Gaby Darbyshire: „You must have a blog“ attitude from companies is the most stupid idea I have ever heard.
Gaby Darbyshire: See blogs as an asset. A mainstream publication can look at the blog world as an army of freelance journalists. Mainstream newspapers get hundred of leads they wouldn’t get otherwise.
Gaby Darbyshire: The cream will always rise to the surface. Whatever happens, you won’t lose quality.
Johnny Haeusler: Journalists always ask whether they can trust the blogger. To buy a good Espresso machine, you can go to a shop. The salesman may be a cool person, but you know he may want to sell you the machine he wants to get rid of. If you meet someone at a party, you ask him: You have had that espresso machine for two years, how did you like it. You trust a single person.
Gaby Darbyshire: (About European versions of Gizmodo) Every country is working out its own level. Most important is having great content, and that usually goes along with great writers. Blogs that make money are about technology, media and luxury brands. Pick your subject matter carefully. Hate to say it: Don’t write about punk rock.
Janko Röttgers: How important is it to have a publisher? Does Gawker Media plan an advertising network with Weblogs, Inc.? Gaby Darbyshire: There already is the Blogads network. Various organisations play with the idea of aggregating blogs into a network. No network with Weblogs, Inc. Johnny Haeusler: You don’t need a publishing network. People may start paying for content again. The way a user behaves online is a value — for some companies. (Example Flock browser.) People may say at some time: I want to be left in peace when I read, without advertising.
Gaby Darbyshire: Gawker Media pays writers a flat monthly salary. Tries to encourage sustained growth. (Minimum blog posts required from the author per day are 12, some blogs up to 30 posts per day, five days a week; 38 million page views a month.)
Andrew Carton: People don’t think enough about the money value of time. (Evolution of blogs:) We have not seen the beginning of it, very early days.
(Heard it all before? From the plenary room — photo by Fiete Stegers)