Blogs are becoming commercialized. Beginning with simple Google AdSense Ads, Amazon referral links, and Cafe Press merchandising--often simply to defray the costs of site hosting--many bloggers have sought to make a little money from their blogs. Some blogs, like Daring Fireball, began with very commercial premises. Big Media is spinning up its own blogs (Slate, MSNBC). Commercial blog networks like Weblogs, Inc., Gawker Media, Corante, and AlwaysOn Network are building whole new profit models for blogs. Somewhere between a journalist and the guy standing on the corner wearing a sandwich board, the commercialization of blogs is creating a new class of blogger: The Professional Blogger.
What's your slant on the commercialization of blogs? Is it a good thing? Will commercialization increase public awareness of this all but hidden publishing medium? Will commercialization lead to over-saturation of the Internet? Is making money from blogging just plain wrong?
[ cf Saturday Slant ]
It's not really accurate to say that "Blogs are becoming commercialized". It's only accurate to say that there are commercial blogs and professional bloggers as well as personal blogs and parttime "amateur" bloggers. I don't have any problems with commercialization. It's a choice, after all. My blog is still free, as is yours, but he's been hired to do one for his company and she's promoting one that asks for paid subscriptions. That's OK.
Contrary to the belief of some bloggers, weblogs aren't really anything "special". They're simply one of the next logical enhancements in web technology. Back in 1993, the Web was very new. It wasn't very useful, but it was a cool publishing medium. Today, 10 years later, it's still a cool publishing medium. It's not new anymore and there are all sorts of things being done with it.
I read Meg Hourihan's column, "Blogging for Dollars: Giving Rise to the Professional Blogger" in February, 2003; the column was written in August, 2002. I agreed with her assessment then. I agree as much, or more, today.