The Steve Smith column that I linked to in my previous post generated a little debate among Steve Rubel and Tom Watson about where the money will be made in blogging.
Steve Rubel says blog networks like Gawker Media and Weblogs Inc will be where the action is.
Tom Watson says the software providers like Six Apart and others are where the action is.
I don’t agree with either of them. I do think Gawker Media, Weblogs Inc, Six Apart, and other blogging software providers will have interesting businesses.
But I think the action is in the advertising platforms and meta data and content distribution systems that are growing up around bloggings and RSS. That’s a mouthful, so some examples might be helpful:
Advertising platforms – Adsense, ContentMatch, Kanoodle, AudienceMatch
Meta Data – Technorati, Blogpulse, Findory
RSS/content distribution – Feedburner, Bloglines, Newsgator
These are just examples, not anything near a definitive list, and certainly not a "best of" list.
I believe that content creation via blogging is not a business in and of itself for almost everyone. It’s a labor of love, a hobby, an outlet, a networking exercise, or an extension of a brand.
I believe the software business, like all software businesses, eventually turns into a feature war and gets commoditized. The hosted software business, TypePad for example, may well avoid that fate due to the lock-in it has over its customers by virtue of URL, RSS feed, template, layout, etc. I think that it is in many ways a hybrid between a software business and a data business.
There’s money in blogs, for sure, and I think the big bucks will be made in scalable platforms that leverage all that is happening in the blog world.