Blog Bashing: New York Times On Orphaned Blogs

Filed as Editorial on June 7, 2009 5:32 am

The New York Times has a piece on orphaned blogs, as in blogs started and then abandoned. It is an inane article bordering to sensational journalism, masking itself in NYT’s legacy. I’m sorry, but this is just stupid. Some quotes for your enjoyment.

Like Mrs. Nichols, many people start blogs with lofty aspirations — to build an audience and leave their day job, to land a book deal, or simply to share their genius with the world. Getting started is easy, since all it takes to maintain a blog is a little time and inspiration. So why do blogs have a higher failure rate than restaurants?

That’s referring to disappointed (self-proclaimed) soccer mom Mrs. Nichols, who had lofty dreams about $4,000 monthly revenue. And there’s more!

Judging from conversations with retired bloggers, many of the orphans were cast aside by people who had assumed that once they started blogging, the world would beat a path to their digital door.

I’m having a hard time not writing anything snarky here. I mean, every other business venture in the whole wide world is so easy, so why shouldn’t blogging? Yes, that’s sarcasm.

Nancy Sun was successful and built a readership, and then got emails and friends reading her blog and everything felt wrong, apparently.

“The Internet is different now,” she said over a cup of tea in Midtown. “I was too Web 1.0. You want to be anonymous, you want to write, like, long entries, and no one wants to read that stuff.”

Yeah, that’s a problem. Mr. and Mrs. X has a hard time getting read, and not all people want to be in the public limelight. That might mean that others will, oh I don’t know, comment on their work, speak their mind, and maybe even disagree. Nasty stuff, but yeah, I can see that happening. You could be taken aback by it.

Sun wasn’t. She’s running a new blog now, says the NYT piece, and wraps up the article with a quote from here, about why she’s doing it again:

“To be honest, I would love a book deal to come out of my blog,” she wrote. “Or I would love for Salad Days to give me a means to be financially independent to continue pursuing and sharing what I love with the world.”

Oh my.

Want to start blogging? Consider this first:

  • Blogging does not equal financial freedom by itself, although you can make money.
  • You will likely not make money.
  • The money you might in fact make will probably not cover your Starbucks bill.

There are successful bloggers, making ad money or getting paid to write stuff like this. There are bloggers landing book deals. These are a minority.

But one can dream, right? That’s why I love the fact that Nancy Sun is setting the bar high. She might just make it. And if not, hopefully she learned to make the trip, no matter where it might end up, a meaningful one.

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  1. By Nancy posted on June 7, 2009 at 7:57 am
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    this is nancy from saladdays – just to be clear, the ‘why i’m doing it again’ is not to make money though it would be nice to monetize something i invest a lot of my time in. that was the point of my follow up email to Doug, the NYT reporter which was quoted. not the premise for building my new blog. if i wanted to just use it to generate money, i could have been much more commercial about it – craft a specific audience, solicit ads, talk about something much more niche – than just present a pastiche of everything i’m thinking and think worthwhile writing regardless of topic. just want to clarify. thanks!

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  2. By ian in hamburg posted on June 7, 2009 at 12:58 pm
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    Your sarcasm is misplaced. Of course bloggers are going to roll their eyes at the NY Times article, but have you ever stopped to think of the NY Times readership that doesn’t blog and knows nothing about it? Probably more than half have never bothered to read a blog. I thought the reporter put in good information for those people.

    And sensationalist? Have you ever read a British tabloid?

    Reply

  3. By sm posted on June 7, 2009 at 7:47 pm
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    interesting article .There are many reasons why people blog and why people left there blog afer sometime .
    Its very difficult to earn money through writing blog

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  4. By Kevin posted on June 8, 2009 at 12:17 am
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    The article confusingly blends together personal blogs with people trying to make a living by blogging. The trend in orphaned blogs is real, but my semi-educated guess is that it’s mostly concentrated on personal, diary-style blogs that do not have a deliberate and focused commercial goal. Those are relatively easy to create, and abandon, and compete for attention from a range of newish alternatives for self-expression online – Twitter, FB updates, video, etc. So yeah, the heyday of blogs as the go-to means online of personal expression is probably long gone.

    However, blogs specifically created for commercial purposes – corporate blogs, ad- or affiliate-driven team blogs, etc still seem common and quite viable.

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  5. By Drew posted on June 8, 2009 at 4:14 am
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    At the moment, I blog mostly simply to have an opportunity to write (even when I have no professional need to be writing), to put my thoughts about various things down, and share those thoughts with friends. No lofty ambitions, but not a waste of time either. The idea that he only purpose for blogging is to make money, or even to continue blogging long term, is just too limited.

    I don’t make any money from, say, keeping a pet either. In fact, pets make you hemorrhage money, no question. But making money has never been the be all and end all of writing and socializing.

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  6. By Mike Abundo posted on June 8, 2009 at 9:11 am
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    “Blogging requires passion and authority. Which leaves out most people.” — Hugh MacLeod.

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  7. By Sarah posted on June 8, 2009 at 10:49 am
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    I want to be able to write entries and add pics. I do not mean something like myspace or facebook or anything like that. I mean an actual blog

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  8. By bored posted on June 8, 2009 at 1:28 pm
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    Really… The NYT article is saying nearly the SAME thing you are – blogging isn’t all that people might think it is. So the assumed NYT reader of that article may be new to the concept of a blog “not working out,” and the NYT talks about it like it’s a slightly risky undertaking with small potential for true commercial success – just like you do when you criticize the NYT piece.

    I don’t see what issue you think is soooo preposterous that you need to write about it with such dismay. Truthfully, the way you pull each sentence and ‘snark on’ about it falls into the Andy Rooney humor bin for me. But carry on. This is a blog about blogs, so the territorial behavior when the old grey lady steps on your lawn should be expected, I suppose.

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  9. By John Mathew327 posted on September 11, 2009 at 5:53 pm
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    After being closed for two decades, Alan J.Gerson, District 1 election candidate reopened Columbus Park Pavilion in Newyork…

    Please visit his website…

    http://www.gerson2009.com/main.cfm?actionId=globalShowStaticContent&screenKey=cmpContent&htmlKey=issues&s=gerson

    Reply

  10. By Joe posted on September 12, 2009 at 5:12 pm
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    Alan J Gerson had done much for PROGRESS OF NEW YORK
    Those can be read from the link : http://www.gerson2009.com/main.cfm?actionId=globalShowStaticContent&screenKey=cmpContent&htmlKey=issues&s=gerson
    i think people will consider his activities for the coming council election on Sept 15th.

    Reply

  11. By gelt posted on September 12, 2009 at 5:18 pm
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    hmm..wht abt gleason

    Reply

  12. By mark.ny00 posted on September 12, 2009 at 10:39 pm
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    I am supporting City Councilman Alan J. Gerson because even before he was City Councilman he was a long time community advocate. Now that he is a City Councilman he is effective, honest and … has a big heart.

    http://www.gerson2009.com

    Reply

  13. By adams posted on September 12, 2009 at 10:43 pm
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    yes,of course he deserves the seat.vote for him.

    Reply

  14. By SAM posted on September 13, 2009 at 9:23 pm
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    ALAN J GERSON – the best choice for solving the prevailing issues like overcrowded schools, massive budget cuts, high unemployment rates, and unprecedented cuts to our social services.
    So on September 15th when you march to polling station please vote for the humble Alan J Gerson to continue his reform works for a cleaner, greener, safer New York City.
    http://www.gerson2009.com

    Reply

  15. By civilian posted on September 13, 2009 at 9:29 pm
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    i will vote for this gerson if he denies a bike street

    Reply

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