The Aardvark Speaks : essence, effervescence, obscurity. Established 2002. A weblog by Horst Prillinger. ISSN 1726-5320

July 21, 2004

From community to business

It is interesting to see how weblogging seems to be stuck somewhere in the middle between being something of a grassroots movement and serious business, with an endless number of intermediate shades of gray.

It's interesting in that it creates financial opportunities for some bloggers who'd never thought about it, but it can also create serious conflict if the business side of weblogs imposes itself (or is imposed) too harshly on a community of unsuspecting, non-business-oriented webloggers.

Steph's story about U-blog, a French weblogging platform, is a good example of the slow transformation of a community platform into a commercial enterprise, and it's well worth a read.

The question here is not really as to how much Loc Le Meur is to blame (actually, I don't think he is, as far as I can see he is merely acting like a businessman), but rather how comfortable we feel about the fact that weblogging is turning from a community phenomenon into a business.

Loc didn't do anything he wasn't supposed to do — he bought the company, and it's his right to change the terms of use. The interesting thing in the reactions of the webloggers at U-blog really is how they seem to feel that it is them who actually own the company, and how they feel betrayed by the person officially in charge.

But then, they may be forming the community, but they don't own the business. In their perception, however, they were degraded from active citizens to passive customers. They could switch to a new weblogging host, but instead of merely becoming customers of another business, it seems to feel like emigrating from their former home country to some unknown territory.

Which is odd in some way. After all, weblogs are just, well, chunks of code on some computer. And then again, they're obviously not. Which is why it's time to think about how the commercialisation of weblogs affect us and in what ways we want it to develop.

Update: Similar developments taking place in Germany: 20six buys — the second-largest weblogging host in Germany, a company with offices in Germany, the Netherlands, the UK and France, buys the largest weblogging host, a one-man project run by a student. [thx SWR]

Posted by Horst on July 21, 2004 05:48 PM to metablogging | Tell-a-friend

We received this ping from _notizen aus der provinz on July 23, 2004 07:48 AM:

Warum in Frankreich nicht alle Blogger Typepad (und Loic le Meur) lieben: Zu den typischen Wachstumsschmerzen einer neuen Technologie gehören scheinbar die "wir werden verraten"-Gefühle der Early Adopter. Eine relativ kleine, verschworene Gemeinde sieht auf einmal, wie die bösen Geldmacher auftauchen. Die in der Clique zu... [more]

We received this ping from Loic Le Meur Blog on July 26, 2004 07:23 PM:

Start a business - 7: Entrepreneurs do make mistakes, learn from them and react. PR and blogs and how your Company should deal with it: I take the recent events I have been going through as an opportunity to continue my series "Create a company" which I will just call now "Start a Business" as many people suggested me I should. Good entrepreneurs are not [more]

Jean-Luc said on July 25, 2004 01:27 PM:

your post is very intresting in the way it gives a new focus about social interaction and power with blogs.

Steph said on July 26, 2004 01:16 PM:

Yes, I think you've hit upon the heart of the problem -- though I am of the opinion Loc did make some mistakes.

Comments have been closed for this entry.

© Copyright 2002-2008 Horst Prillinger, 

Most of the stuff on this page is fiction. Everything else is my private opinion. Please read the disclaimer.

Valid XHTML 1.0! Powered by Movable Type Made with a Mac