The challenges of econoblogging

08Jul08

In a previous post we discussed the exact nature of this blog.  In it we promised a post on the future of Abnormal Returns.  That post is still in the works.  In the interim we have accumulated a number of links to posts that touch on the state of the investment blogosphere that we thought you might find interesting.

Felix Salmon at Market Movers has been the key blogger examining the economics of the blogosphere and the econoblogosphere specifically.  Part of the challenge for bloggers is capturing the value inherent in their posts.  Salmon notes that for one blogger the additional exposure from the blog did little to help the bottom line that was driven by a pre-existing subscription newsletter.  For Salmon the lesson for bloggers is that absent an existing (paying) subscriber base, bloggers should not expect to make their living off of subscription revenues.

Bill Rempel notes that there is no shortage of sites that are happy to republish a blogger’s work.  Compensation-free of course.  Many a blogger has found that there is a definite trade-off between trying to get greater exposure for your work and having your work dispersed in too many places.

That is indeed one of the many lessons learned by Geoff Gannon at Gannon on Investing.  After a break from blogging, he addresses the many challenges of investment blogging.  The nagging question is why some bloggers, once established, choose to give up their blog.

One reason why bloggers give up is their inability to generate revenue from their blogs.  Gawker Media, of course, does not have that problem.  One problem they do have is allocating revenue amongst their many bloggers.  Felix Salmon takes a look at the trade-offs and why there is a steady stream of writers willing to blog for dollars.

Coming back to the issue this blog.  Justin Paterno at Zero Beta proposes a unique business model that would allow Abnormal Returns a chance to generate revenue and solidify a gatekeeper type role for this blog.  The proposal would help give the most worthy blogs the exposure they deserve.  The proposal is quite detailed and is well worth a look.

This is just one of many proposals we are looking at for this blog.  Investment bloggers, this one included, do what they do because they enjoy the process.  They have to because it is indeed hard work.  The challenge for bloggers, including this one, is generating meaningful compensation for their work.  Stay tuned.

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