Scobleizer Weblog

Daily Permalink Sunday, December 07, 2003

Oh, also on the news over the weekend is a report that the 7E7 will be built in Everett (about 45 minutes from my house).

This is good news for this area because it'll keep thousands of jobs here. Yes, the politicians here gave up billions in a tax deal. Isn't that called "corporate welfare?" Yes it is. But, the politicians did the right thing. Keep the jobs here. Maryam's finding the job situation here very tight.

Just saw a spot on KOMO-TV (Seattle) about Penny-Arcade asking their customers to donate games for use at a Seattle Children's hospital. Penny-Arcade is a game site. They have 150,000 visitors a day. The TV showed piles of games coming in.

Nice spirit!

Halley called while we were driving down to California. She told us what it's like having 20 inches of snow fall. Thanks Halley for calling. Maryam appreciates everyone's good wishes for her mom (she goes into surgery tomorrow morning).

For the rest of you, Halley has been hanging out with the Dean campaign lately. Sounds like fun!

Randy Morin took RSS mixed it with Atom and came up with PSS.

Sean Alexander, who's not in any group blog, writes about Microsoft Photo Story and its review in PC Magazine. I've used the Plus! Photo Story app he talks about. It's a great way to make a neat Photo Story to show everyone over the holidays. Sean was a program manager on that product, by the way, and he's recently moved his blog.

Oh, the Macromedia community folks are talking about group blogging too. Here's John McDowell's post on the topic.

Dody Gunawinata, in my comment, makes the point that PDC Bloggers is different from Sure is. Why? Because PDC Bloggers is an aggregation of blogs that are from all over the Internet. Your post is not automatically displayed on PDC Bloggers. While if you're a member of .NET Weblogs, your posts automatically get displayed there.

The problem is that with both sites you are not in control of what gets published there. (I'm not talking about the individual blogs, but of the aggregated page).

In both cases there are people between you and the ability to get published. That will bring up conflicts. And already has. I'd rather publish places that have specific policies over membership, and what is acceptable for publishing there.

Marc LaFleur disagrees with my point about group blogs.

I disagree with him, by the way. I think I'd have found him no matter where he wrote that comment. Why? Because he showed up in my referer's log.

I've started thinking about what the next stage of Longhorn evangelism is. Talking to some of my friends. For instance, Randy Holloway and I were just talking. He'd like to see even more transparency into Microsoft. "It would build some more transparency from an internal perspective and might make the company a little more agile, better able to capitalize on all of its great ideas from disparate teams and individuals."

He was asking me if there are any internal blogs that are any good at Microsoft. I told him "no." I haven't updated mine at all. Why not?

Two reasons:

One, internal blogs aren't discoverable. I can't tell when anyone updates their blogs (for Microsoft employees, the internal blogs are at http://blog and http://blog2 but these sites aren't well maintained and are really more experimental than anything else). There is no equivilent at Microsoft of That's real important because is how the community bootstrapped itself and how "A-list" bloggers like Dave Winer found new blogs (even today I visit occassionally just to visit some random blogs and see what "non-Scobleized" people are doing).

No referer links. I can't look at a Microsoft internal blog and see who is linking to that site. I can't see traffic. I can't see where traffic is coming from. In other words, there's no chance that a conversation will happen.

Until I see internal blogs that have referer links as well as a centralized Weblogs.Com style page, then internal blogs won't take off.

And Randy's right. It would really help if we shared information on blogs.

Shel Israel: Automating friendship with social software. "For me, there’s a sense of déjà vu. VCs are ponying up investments apparently without much sense of history. The business plans often emulate the worst thinking of the Dot Com Era and VCs, burned once seem undaunted by the experience."

PC Magazine has a list of "choice blogs" and both PDCBlogger and Longhorn Blogs makes the list. I guess some editor over there doesn't agree with me about group blogs. Thanks to Ali Pavaresh for telling me about that (who writes "I myself like to visit group blogs, because they gave me many new things in just one click rather than many clicks.")

Are you a software architect? Check out the Architect Journal. Neat article about Das Blog from Clemens Vasters is in the current issue. Unfortunately it's a PDF document.

Marc Canter is on the phone. He's alive! He's had a lot of problems with computers and connectivity (he just moved to a new place). He expects to be back online this week. Good thing, I'll be at his house on Saturday.

I don't like group weblogs like those at PDC Blogs, .NET Weblogs, or Longhorn Blogs.

Why not?

Because they aren't decentralized.

Someone other than the weblog author is in control.

Why are they popular? PDC Blogs, for instance, got something like 60,000 visits in one day?

Well, because when you get 300 people together there's more value than when you only have one. Compare with, for instance.

It's addictive too. You join a group blog and you get instant traffic. Longhorn blogs, for instance, had 7,000 visitors a day during its first week.

You don't think that traffic is addicting? If you say that then you don't understand the human psyche.

But, with that traffic comes noise and control issues.

The group blogs are turning into the Web's equivilent of a newgroup. Is that really what we want?

I'd rather have a decentralized world. Why?

Well, for one, only interesting voices get heard. In the group blog world uninteresting voices get heard just as loudly as someone who's interesting.

That means that folks can take advantage of group blogs to advertise their services and reduce the signal-to-noise ratio.

Yes, building traffic in a decentralized world takes longer. I've been writing just about three years. So far I'm getting 1000 to 4000 visitors a day. That doesn't sound as interesting as the tens of thousands of visitors a day who visited PDC Blogs, does it?

The thing is, my visitors are coming to see me. Me alone. If I am interesting, the numbers increase. If I'm not interesting, they decrease. It's a very visible feedback loop.

But, in a group blog, my traffic goes up based on how interesting the GROUP is. In other words, if there's 10 people writing a blog and I'm an uninteresting member, my traffic goes up because of the other nine. Yet readers are stuck reading me, even if I'm boring.

Also, with a group blog, the owner of the group is in control. He/she controls the technology. The tone. The membership. If I write something that a group blog leader doesn't like, I get kicked out. I've seen that happen already on group blogs. If the blog owner wants to invite in some people I don't like, I don't have control of that. I have to acquiesce to the blog's owner.

I'd rather live on my own accord, thank you. Even though I do have a blog over at I like this place a lot better. Why? Cause it's mine. Mine alone. If no one comes here, it's cause I suck. If my traffic goes up it's cause I'm interesting. I like that feedback loop. I thrive off of it.

That said, watch for me to post shortly on my "group ink blog" and my "Longhornblog." I'm such a hypocrite! :-)

I'm back from the road trip. There is nothing better than a clear December day in the San Francisco Bay Area. As I flew out of Oakland I could see 50 miles beyond the Golden Gate Bridge. I wish I took pictures. Spectacular. San Francisco looks so small from 10,000 feet.

It's weird to drive 1000 miles just to get on an airplane and fly back. The journey is the reward in this instance. I'll post a bit about the new Tablet technology I played with during the trip.

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Robert Scoble works at Microsoft. Everything here, though, is his personal opinion and is not read or approved before it is posted. No warranties or other guarantees will be offered as to the quality of the opinions or anything else offered here.

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© Copyright 2004 Robert Scoble Last updated: 1/3/2004; 3:26:29 AM.