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Blogs Bring Back Dot-Com Poster Boy 127

An anonymous reader writes "Wired has a profile of Jason Calacanis, the former Dot-Com bubble rider, and now the mind behind the sale of Weblogs, Inc. to AOL." From the article: "Calacanis and Alvey wanted to get in on the action, but the scale and limitations of blogs bugged them. 'We decided that one blog, like Rafat's, could make tens of thousands of dollars a year,' says Alvey. 'Definitely enough for one person who works 24 hours a day to sustain a business. But how could you get so that you could add more people?' The answer, they decided, was to build a network of blogs."
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Blogs Bring Back Dot-Com Poster Boy

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  • by gbulmash ( 688770 ) * <.moc.oohay. .ta. .suomaf_imes.> on Sunday January 01, 2006 @05:51PM (#14375954) Homepage Journal
    I think three major differences between bubble purchases and current purchases are pricing, financing, and profitability. Back in the bubble, money-losing companies were selling for 9 figures and paid for almost entirely in stock. Calcanis, whatever you want to say about him, was turning a profit with Weblogs, Inc., sold for 1/10th of what bubble prices used to run, and though the details are not clear, I'm betting he got a good chunk of the sale price in cash instead of restricted stock units.

    - Greg

    • The bubble was not only about stock price. It was also exaggerated assumptions, euphoria and techno-babble. You could think that sensible and reasonable people would not talk BS but guess what....

      One rule. #1. Get your feet on the ground.
      OK. Two rules. #2. Think yourself.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Calcanis, whatever you want to say about him, was turning a profit with Weblogs, Inc.

      That's only something to boast about if the money is all that matters. I could understand the admiration if blogs were something useful or worthwhile, but, well...they're just blogs.

      When are we going to start demanding quality from those who get rich quick? Is it even possible to get quality anything from the likes of Calcanis? Do the creators of quality products ever get rich from their products, or is that the preserve

    • The only difference between a stock sale and cash sale is the scammer gets the sale price no matter how horrible the company is. By selling for stock, the seller takes on some amount of risk. The seller only gets the full price if the firm maintains value

      As far as profitability is concerned, the difference lies only in exsiting resources. The dot com people spent incredible amounts of money building and buy physical and IT and virtual resources and infrastucture. Ultimately advertising and direct sale

  • Social networks (Score:3, Insightful)

    by eneville ( 745111 ) on Sunday January 01, 2006 @05:52PM (#14375960) Homepage
    Social network blogs are killing internet content. Who wants to read through a tone of IRC logs to find one line of matching relevance?

    Blogs can be ok, for instance of the blogger is really blogging something that he/she does on a daily basis because it's in a single field of expertise.

    Blogs should not be used for trivial diaries, and that I fear is what the AOL users will use them for.

    On the other hand, there are some blog entries which are worthy of becomming wiki sites.
    • Blogs should not be used for trivial diaries, and that I fear is what the AOL users will use them for.

      No, blogs can be used for whatever people want to use them for.
      Its how they are indexed and linked that matters.

      If 10 bazillion people all want to talk about their fuzzy heads and broken dreams, then so be it.

      In an ideal world, we would not be forced to look at them.
      Google still needs tweaking to remove them.
      • No, blogs can be used for whatever people want to use them for. Its how they are indexed and linked that matters.

        If 10 bazillion people all want to talk about their fuzzy heads and broken dreams, then so be it.

        But that's a diary, not a web log! A log is more like a ship's captains log, something that stores important daily information of importance, not trivial personal events.
        • I think thats a losing battle.
          People just don't do that much stuff, so they simulate others and post random crap thats important in their day - winning a victory over the cat, preparing for a house move, going for a job interview.
          The word has different meaning to lots of people and I think its a losing battle to try to force the critical mass of people from using blogs in the way you describe.
        • Lots of people had online diaries long before the horrible term "weblog" came about. Just because people now try to call those diaries "blogs" doesn't mean those diary keepers now have an obligation to provide content you want.
        • Arguing over semantics. Urban Dictionary defines [urbandictionary.com] weblog as an online diary, which means its meaning in the heads of most people is that, not specifically a "web log".
        • But that's a diary, not a web log! A log is more like a ship's captains log, something that stores important daily information of importance, not trivial personal events.

          Who are you to say what is important information vs. what's trivial, for anyone else?

          There are people who make staggering sums of money doing things that I consider to be trivial, but I am at least intellectually honest enough to admit that my opinions are nothing more than that - my opinions as to what's important, and not some kind of obj
          • Who are you to say what is important information vs. what's trivial, for anyone else?

            That's not what the other poster was talking about. No matter how important it is to some people, journalling about your daily activities is called "writing a diary."

            Weblog has a specific meaning - it's a diary, but it's a diary of web-surfing. Like a list of interesting links and websites you visited that day, with a brief description (or sometimes just a list of links.)

            Today, people use blogs to describe diaries, news si

        • You're retro-fitting a word, and then complaining that the definition of the word doesn't match the item you're attempting to cram it on to.

          A weblog is a weblog, it is not a "log", it is a blog. A blog is simply a web page consisting of multiple individual "posts" in chronilogical order.
          Any resemblence to anything else is purely coincidental.

          Incidentally, in the real world, even the most personal and self-indulgent form of diary is still actually a type of log. (but that doesn't matter, because we're talki
      • Yeah I agree. I get sick of everyone bashing what other people are doing online. Get over it. If people want to use blog software to keep diary, who the fuck cares. As for the google part. I am not sure. I mean I almost never run across a blog that is totally irrelevant. Of course I don't search for "Great curtains and toast" so I suppose that most of the diary blogs out there just don't show up in the results.
    • "Who wants to read through a tone of IRC logs to find one line of matching relevance?"
      Here's the thing:
      As long as our technology that sorts through content (think search engines, directories, etc) grows fast enough to match the content it's sorting through, we'll be fine
      So far I see NO indication that the content is outgrowing our ability to sort through it - Rarely, if ever, do I do a google search and think, "Gee, I'm getting way too many blogs/wikis/random sites in this search!". More often, I th
      • More often, I think "Wow, this website is ALMOST what I want, but it's doesn't quite have enough information about topic X."

        This may well be an indication that there is too much information and that our technology is not up to handling it: chances are the exact answer you want is actually there, but it has been pushed off the results list by all those ALMOST matches.
        • On the rare occasion that I do have to sort through a large number of google results, there are only two common results:

          A) I find what I'm looking for after a few pages and realize I could've found it better with a better articulated query (i.e., it was my fault)
          B) I don't find what I'm looking for at all (i.e., not enough data)

          I almost never find that after sorting through 20 pages on a search like "Jefferson Slavery Declaration Independence Ignore Cotton Gin" do I find what I'm looking for after 5 or so p
    • "Blogs can be ok, for instance of the blogger is really blogging something that he/she does on a daily basis because it's in a single field of expertise."

      I do, or at least I try (MexIT [johnbokma.com]). Yet I see now and then search engine hits for stuff that's not on my site, but somehow the words do appear (a "good" example is "horse xxx", #34 in Google).
    • While you may think so the truth is that I do infact blog about my personal life, I do so to remember later in my life about what is currently happening to me.

      To say that everything on the internet should be pure information or something you would be interested in is wrong and short sighted. While you may be a technologically inclined person and not interested in my personal life, you are in a minority and many other people would in fact be interested (as many of my friends read my blog to keep updated on m
    • Maybe the movies are right, the British are always the bad guys... here we have the closest thing ever to real freedom of speech, and a brit wants to shut it down. Since I see you spend time reading and replying to /. comments, you're already wasting time reading useless crap =D
    • Social network blogs are killing internet content.... Blogs should not be used for trivial diaries, and that I fear is what the AOL users will use them for.

      You're 100% right: we need a lot more hot chicks mashing up their boobies for webcams.

      We're also short on opinionated guys posting iTunes playlists of every twee indy song they've ever downloaded. And while that's a whole kind of satisfaction by itself, I'm always looking for the next genius who posts links to definitive 200-word AP news stories whi

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 01, 2006 @05:53PM (#14375962)
    multiple writers, one location and one general direction?

    amazing.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      When blogging (disclaimer, I am a weblogsinc blogger) I often find that blogging has a certain stigma, especially with PR companies. Most of the time, I refer to myself as lead writer of an online publication.

      The difference, to me, is blogs are more 'guerilla' than places like Slate, or other online newspapers. The gamut of weblogsinc is content, and the focus being raw and unfiltered.

      Now would be an opportune time to plug my work, but we'll just say you can read it at weblogsinc.
  • Slashbot replies (Score:5, Insightful)

    by patternjuggler ( 738978 ) on Sunday January 01, 2006 @05:53PM (#14375964) Homepage
    Cue a bunch of people saying how blogs are stupid and no one wants to read about boring details of other people's lives, jobs, hobbies, whatever.

    Cue response which points out you shouldn't judge blogs by just browsing them at random like it was 1994 and you're surfing the internet by clicking on links on crappy geocities sites, you should look at ones that are popular and fit your tastes, and use google and blogsearch etc. to find them. Everything is crap if you don't have an easy way of discriminating from the good and the bad, etc.
    • Some blogs can be rated through page rank, or just by the domain name ;) I concur however, there is much junk out there. You could do some tactics, like adding a null DNS entry for livejournal or which ever site you currently hate!
    • Cue you, pal! Cue you!
    • by kfg ( 145172 ) on Sunday January 01, 2006 @06:01PM (#14375990)
      . . .no one wants to read about boring details of other people's lives . . .

      I only just now, while reading your post, noticed that my VCR has a "Home Theater Ready" sticker on it. That's stupid.

      So I peeled it off.

      . . .you should look at ones that are popular and fit your tastes. . .

      That's why I "blog" by posting shit like the above on Slashdot, because I know people here will be interested in it.

      KFG
      • by Anonymous Coward
        I only just now, while reading your post, noticed that my VCR has a "Home Theater Ready" sticker on it.

        So you've drastically reduced the resale of your VCR now that it's no longer Home Theatre Ready. Who would want to buy it now? Suppose you got devoured by carnivorous pigeons tomorrow, leaving your family destitute. Without that Home Theatre Ready VCR to sell they might not be able to get by. You've concemned them to the poor house. I hope you feel proud of yourself.

        That's why I "blog" by posting shit lik
        • He peeled it off, he didn't scratch it off. He could have kept it a safe place, so that it could be reattached later, like with nail polish, or something.

          And anyway, African pigeons or European?

          • by Anonymous Coward
            He peeled it off, he didn't scratch it off. He could have kept it a safe place, so that it could be reattached later, like with nail polish, or something.

            Fair point. I guess he could actually keep the VCR and just sell the label as an upgrade kit for someone who had received a cheap VCR for Christmas and wanted to make it Home Theatre Ready.

            And anyway, African pigeons or European?

            Pigeon Rank pigeons [google.com]
            • . . .just sell the label as an upgrade kit . . .

              Awwwwwwwwww, shit!

              Sometimes I forget how stupid people are.

              Then I go out and actually meet some. I better go dig through the trash.

              KFG
    • Cue response which points out you shouldn't judge blogs by just browsing them at random

      Before anyone criticizes the general concept of blogs, please remember that Slashdot is a blog.

      You might as well just criticize Apache.
      • by jd ( 1658 ) <imipak@ya[ ].com ['hoo' in gap]> on Sunday January 01, 2006 @07:46PM (#14376353) Homepage Journal
        All Internet sites are a collection of whatever the Internet site owner considers interesting, as are the majority of websites. Indeed, that is one of the primary strengths of the web - the ability to publish whatever you find interesting.


        The ability to format the data as a diary, or a collection of diaries, is not in and of itself anything I would consider noteworthy. The content may be, and sometimes is, but the use of extra layers of language to describe something that doesn't need describing just obscures what is interesting by emphasizing the points that are not.


        (eg: There are plenty of commercial sites on the Internet today, but the use of "e-commerce" as a specific term is on the decline and "dot-com" is generally a term of ridicule. Sometimes, language gets in the way of the expression.)


        As I see it, blogs that are essentially just personal rants will die a richly-deserved death, but "insider" blogs - which the media can draw from without being in danger of lawsuits, grand juries, etc - will likely prosper. "Special Interest Groups" (SIGs) do well as blogs - Slashdot is an example - but I doubt you can manufacture a SIG from a blog alone.


        We will know when blogs have become totally accepted. That will occur when we no longer need to see them as anything special, they'll just be a part of the whole.

    • Re:Slashbot replies (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ImaLamer ( 260199 ) <john...lamar@@@gmail...com> on Sunday January 01, 2006 @07:22PM (#14376284) Homepage Journal
      Funny because I was just thinking about this same subject. One of the major arguments I hear on Slashdot is that blogs with no original content provide nothing new and are useless. I admit I have such a blog (two really), rarely updated and not much on commentary or original thought lately. I always tell myself I'm going to change it or fix the layout but I never get the chance, but that isn't the point.

      The point is that there are all types of people putting their tiny bits of information out there and hopefully linking to one thing they are interested in. One nice side effect of millions of blogs (Technorati lists 24.2 million) is that there are measurable changes to the "structure" of the Web. Google can now look and see what is the most popular razor or news story because idiots like me might link to it. When I blogged a lot I like to use services like Technorati, but I now like it for it's ability to find news stories that for some reason are popular; hopefully because they are important or entertaining. You sometimes find stories that are popular because people liked them, or because a lot of people thought they were worth reading. Meanwhile your usual news outlets forgot to tell you or the story was too obscure.

      Sure, there are other options, tools and better ways to do this. del.icio.us does the same thing, and maybe even better. The point is that it is being done. My response is that people are active on the Web. It's a good thing to see. Cue the people who agree! I thank the 24 million blogs for bringing personality to the information age. Hopefully after years of blogging and participation in social network programs researchers can use this information for more useful purposes. It's already starting to happen, we are already starting to see the outcome.

      It's great because these are thoughts, emotions, desires, interests, and even unusual proclivities being brought online for the world's disposal. The people I want to blog more are the one who fire off a few short, impulse entries than the ones who are looking to show the world their writing talent.

      One thing I haven't mentioned is spam, and we all know that is bad wherever and however it finds its way to our screens.
    • Cue a bunch of people saying how blogs are stupid and no one wants to read about boring details of other people's lives, jobs, hobbies, whatever.

      Which doesn't make sense since Weblogs Inc runs Engadget and Joystiq.. which aren't exactly "personal blogs".. instead they're more like slashdot (except that there aren't any dupes and the news posted on them is a bit more timely... so actually, they're nothing like slashdot)
    • Everything is crap if you don't have an easy way of discriminating from the good and the bad, etc.

      Dumpster diving is not for everyone. Finding a good web long is not too unlike sifting through rubbish to find a diamond ring.
  • Just read this story from the print version (that I pay for, unlike this free link...thanks Wired.com!) in the can and came back to the computer. Refreshed Slashdot and there it is! It's a pretty good article, the beginning is kind of weak but the bulk of it gives you a good perspective on how blog companies make their money and get bloggers.

    Say what you will but his company is responsible for Engadget and that sites not half bad...well, they get linked to from Slashdot quite a bit and I guess that means
  • If you haven't had enough of dot com bubbles, go buy some GOOG or AAPL and ride it up for 100% before you lose your shirt
  • Whenever I hear a dot-com bullshit story like this, I think of Whoopi Goldberg and Flooz. Remember Flooz? I do. Their headquarters was down on El Camino Real, down near that mexican place near Stanford, upstairs from the Scientology headquarters.

    Pay for your cooz with some flooz.
  • Jase and Del (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FishandChips ( 695645 ) on Sunday January 01, 2006 @06:29PM (#14376113) Journal
    The article makes the guy sound like a total nightmare. At least, though, he doesn't walk around with a pug under his arm.

    I guess the story illustrates what happens: because the internet is so open, it is also open to unlimited quantities of marketers, hype and money. These burn up new ideas at a rate like nothing else. Whatever a new idea might have been, it comes to be seen as just another vehicle for your actual entrepreneur, init, and you can no longer believe a word anyone says. There is always an agenda, and in this case it's your money in their pocket. It's only a matter of time before the whole scene has been gutted to the point of collapse and then the crowd moves on to the next big-bucks bandwagon. So I guess that blogs are, if not dead, then walking wounded because they have no credibility left. I wonder what will come next.
    • Or these idiots will bring blogs to the level of E-mail. It "can" be useful, but 9 times out of 10 it's just some guy wanting to sell you water labeled as dick extending magic potion.
  • Pjamas Media (Score:4, Informative)

    by mesocyclone ( 80188 ) on Sunday January 01, 2006 @06:38PM (#14376142) Homepage Journal
    There is another business venture consisting of associated blogs - Pajamas Media [pajamasmedia.com] - which should be mentioned in this context. Its business model is based on creating a multi-blog advertising system. As far as I know, pajamas uses serious political blogs rather than "daily diary" sorts of things.

    Perhaps we need a different term for serious blogs about whatever subject. Also a term for the commenter community that grows up around each one. Here's your chance to get famous, although Bill Quick [dailypundit.com], who invented the term "blogosphere," doesn't seem to have gathered enough fame from that.
    • Anyone who uses the word "blogosphere" needs hanging.
    • Re:Pjamas Media (Score:1, Flamebait)

      by dangitman ( 862676 )
      As far as I know, pajamas uses serious political blogs rather than "daily diary" sorts of things.

      Actually, the people they are paying appear to be fraudulent hacks, not serious writers or commentators. I have also heard allegations that they are claiming other blogs as "their members" who are not associated in any way, and do not wish to be associated with pajamas media. They are claiming non-member blogs as their own as a way of trying to gain credibility and seriousness. Pajamas media reminds me of the p

      • As someone who was invited to join PJM but declined because I had reduced my blogging, I can tell you that is utter balderdash. I don't know that many of the members, but one of the primary founders, Roger L Simon, is a professional - he has written mystery novels and movies, and works as a professional screen writer. His blog [rogerlsimon.com] is generally "neocon." Another blogger, Marc Cooper, is also a professional writer - a left wing reporter, LA Times columnist, writer for The New Republic, and Annenberg lecturer and
        • Marc Cooper, is also a professional writer - a left wing reporter, LA Times columnist, writer for The New Republic, and Annenberg lecturer and fellow. His blog [marccooper.com] is hard left.

          Maybe you should check your facts. In what we is he "hard left"? please explain.

          Also, how can this be considered quality writing worth paying for? It's barely coherent. Even the "neocon" link doesn't look like real writing, but rather a bunch of comments.

          • I doubt anything would convince you otherwise. Good grief - if you won't accept Marc as hard left, I wonder who you would?

            As for Marc and Roger's writing, they could write circles around you.

            As for checking my references, I know these guys, which is why I chose them as examples. Maybe you should check yours.
            • I doubt anything would convince you otherwise. Good grief - if you won't accept Marc as hard left, I wonder who you would?

              Will you PLEASE explain to me WHY he is "hard left" as you claim. He's from that conservative rag The New Republic. They never had anyone left-of-center writing for them.

              As for Marc and Roger's writing, they could write circles around you.

              Difference is that I'm writing comments to idiots on slashdot - not being paid for my insight and writing skills.

              As for the other Pajamas person -

    • If pajamas media is supposed to be the best example of this "industry" it is doomed before it has even begun.
    • If your definition includes deranged lectures from the very neo-cons who brought us Iraq and can't wait to bog down US National Guardsmen in the next hellhole of their making, then, sure, Pajamas Media is a "serious political blog."
  • I thought they were referring to DotComGuy [techdirt.com] who changed his name to well...DotComGuy. And then back again.
  • Well, if history is going to repeat itself (which I'm pretty sure will), Weblogs, Inc. will die.
  • So his system seems to be just a labour-intensive process for manufacturing what are basically just glorified splogs [wikipedia.org]? I think a fully automated system is more lucrative, and more scalable.
  • Turning blogs into business? Sounds like another site I know. . . (Hint: it starts with "S" and ends with "lashdot")
  • Full of himself (Score:3, Interesting)

    by cyranoVR ( 518628 ) * <cyranoVR AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday January 01, 2006 @08:40PM (#14376504) Homepage Journal
    I saw this guy give the commencement address nephew's high-school graduation. Basically, the theme of his speech was "I've always been at the right place at the right time" and "everything always works out for Jason Calacanis." Absent were any inspirational anecdotes about working hard or otherwise having any personal character. It was more "as long as you get an internship at Sony" (or whatever) "you're golden!"

    Whatever happened to the "golden boy" that hits rock-bottom (his words in the speech, btw) and then decides to dedicate himeself to philantropy. Instead, this guy wants to "monetize" (remember that word?)...blogs?

    Yes.
  • Blog Network List (Score:3, Informative)

    by otisg ( 92803 ) on Sunday January 01, 2006 @08:52PM (#14376527) Homepage Journal
    Those interested in blog networks should check out: http://www.blognetworklist.com/ [blognetworklist.com] . There is a lot of interesting information about blog networks there (rankings, traffic, size, etc.)
  • I for one welcome our new--oh, wait, never mind.

    On a serious note though, am I the only one sick of these "poster boys" who do nothing but produce hot air?

What this country needs is a good five dollar plasma weapon.

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