Tech Life Is it a blog or a weblog?

Google/Pyra: Winners and Losers

Google’s purchase of Pyra/Blogger is guaranteed to do one thing: Reignite the inane discussion whether it’s “blogging” or “weblogging”. For what it’s worth, my vote is for weblogging for the same reason I don’t like pronouncing the word “meme”… I don’t much like words like sound like your mumbling when you’re actually speaking English.

All those who are in the weblog space are likely to get carefully scrutinized now that a major player has actually come out with an aggressive weblog move. Please note, I did not say strategy because it’s completely unclear what Google is going to do in this space although someone whose name I’ve already forgotten mentioned that Google “lives on fresh links”. If you’re looking for link freshness, weblog networks are one way to go.

So, who are the winners and the losers because of this move? Here’s the list off the top of my head:

OBVIOUS BIG WINNER: Pyra. A small team suddenly gets access to Google’s significant resources. What are they going to do with it? Who cares – there are lots of resources there and it’s Google, so even fuck ups are going to have people talking. (Note: at the time of this writing, repeated attempts to get to have failed — looks like they need the infrastructure)

ANOTHER BIG WINNER: Google. There has been a growing discontent with Google primarily because they’re the only gig in town and folks love ripping on the King. This move temporarily gives Google the appearance of “caring about content democracy” which can’t hurt.

TANGENTIAL BIG WINNERS: Anyone who is currently producing credible weblog software/service. I would list Movabletype, Livejournal, Bloxsom, Greymatter, and Radio Userland only because those are the ones I regularly hear about. Winners here are sure to be getting all sorts of calls from potential suitors and I would suggest that they listen. The weblog software competitive landscape looks a whole lot like the early days of browsers… EVERYONE IS WRITING ONE. History would suggest that we’re entering the BIG CONSOLIDATION PHASE and 90% of the players are likely to be dead, absorbed, or vanished in the next five years.

PSEUDO BIG WINNERS: Anyone who is running a weblog. I wonder if the term weblog or blog is on the front page of the San Jose Mercury tomorrow… I wonder if my Mom or Dad is going to give me a call and ask, “Hey, don’t YOU run a weblog?” This false sense of importance will rapidly vanish as a function of number of new folks who suddenly GOTTA WEBLOG BABY. (Update: The Mercury buried the story halfway through the front section of Sunday’s edition)

BIG LOSERS: Anyone running weblog aggregator sites. Technorati, Daypop, Blogdex, and others. While weblog software/service providers have a chance to parlay their work into a sustainable business, weblog aggregators are screwed. Why? What’s the one thing Google does very well? Crawl the web and gather the data. Look for Google to go after this space first and look for the little guys to vanish. Sorry. You knew it was coming.

While I’m happy to see Google give weblogs a vote of confidence, I’m also a bit disappointed. Even as a relative late-comer to the weblog-scene, it still felt like 500 people and me chatting with each other about nothing in particular in the tranquil calm of the wilderness. Suddenly, someone plops in the Transamerica building right in the middle of your sunset. Sure, you’re amazed someone could pull that off, but, hey, it’s still a flippin’ skyscraper.

4 Responses

  1. Big Losers! Ha! I feel like the loser for not even making the big losers list. But keep in mind that Blogdex et al are pet projects of individuals that don’t really make any money and have been around for a while. The time for making use of aggregate weblog information on a mass-market scale has come. Google will do it. Blogdex didn’t do it. Didn’t even seem to want to do it. I guess what I am saying is that the potential of the information that Blogdex sort of uses is large, and that Google will likely be able to incorporate it in a manner that fundamentally affects its search technology. While the aggregators hint at what may be possible, they hardly begin to matter.

    The only “threat” to profit-less aggregators is if Google comes up with its own Blogdex clone (which would just be lame.) But even if, I think the existence of Daypop, Blogdex, Popdex, Technorati and Memeufacture show that there’s room for a few sites doing pretty much the same thing.

    No, the big losers here are the sites that make their livelyhood off of services which are in competition with Blogger. Because now they are in competition with Google. Which sucks if you are an itty-bitty software company.

    Go Pyra!

  2. Floid 21 years ago


  3. Metablog?

  4. Blog outnumbers weblog 3.8 million to 2.8 million.

    I haven’t seen this level of competition since I tried to find out who was more famous, Henry James or William James.