17 May 2010
Like many on line journals, for example (shameless SEO linking) TheBrewsNews, Red Ink Diary, GrannyGoodPaints Place, as a friend put it, we write 'for the halibut.' Unlike other sites, there is no pressing need to gather an audience solely to hawk expensive services to eBay sellers.
We bring this up because something we can neither confirm nor deny dropped on our virtual desk. That tidbit brought up the question, 'what happens when the audience of a blog changes?'
The obvious answer: the blog is read by fewer people.
If you write without regard to generating income, you'll continue to write something. If you're dependent on the revenue generated through ads and hawking services based on an eBay centric audience, you have choices.
1. Denial. Nothing will change, continue as always.
"The old Ebay was sitting in people’s attics. The new Ebay is sitting
Lorrie Norrington, eBay INC
eBay will be around a long time. But eBay's focus will move from small sellers to warehouse/volume sellers. The focus of the newest eBay sellers is less toward folksy generic advice, and more toward receiving hard core business services. Five years ago there was good revenue from giving general starter advice to people unfamiliar with the Internet. Today people are more Internet aware, and through searches can get that expensive advice for free.
The fresh new unaware sellers will still be out there, but their numbers will continue to shrink. Conversely the number of blogs providing advice and services will continue to mushroom. To spell it out, more businesses for fewer customers.
2. Expand your focus. Multi-channel is good.EBay Buys Skype for $2.6 Billion (2005)
Sold! eBay jettisons Skype in $2 billion deal (2009)
Multi-channel has benefits. When executed properly it's a good move, like eBay centric (" eBay is an investor in ChannelAdvisor") Scot Wingo (ChannelAdvisor CEO) indirectly hawking ChannelAdvisor Amazon services. But as seen above there are risks involved. For a revenue generating blog, perceived fallibility can translate to loss of face and loss of income.
From a potential customer viewpoint, a business that makes mistakes of it's own choosing, might not be a good place to get advice or services.
3. Do something else. Change is good.
"You can't change
John Donahoe, eBay INC
When a blog depends on advertising income, it's a very bad idea to alienate readers. And in the process alienate the blog's revenue stream advertisers, who want to reach those readers.
In the aforementioned example said 'mystery writer' created a new character, but remained a mystery writer. When you are essentially a 'business writer' and your revenue blog is eBay centric, what do you change to?
Join the parade of a million articles and books giving general business advice?
Most here are partial to number 4.
We expect to see many blog retirements over the next two years.
Disclosure: Ad revenue affords one of us the occasional cup of coffee. <sip> Thank you.
"It takes time, Doctor, but eventually you get there."
The Master, Doctor Who