Globally, approximately a blogger signs up once every (1/2) seconds. What that invariably leads to is clutter in the blogging space.
There quite obviously seems to be a market niche (or maybe it’s not really a niche since there are so many bloggers anyway) here which can be occupied. A variety of players like buzzfuze.com, minekey.com (an Indian player), and blogrush.com are providing their services to bloggers where bloggers can sign up and generate more traffic on their website over both, the short term and also the long term. The mechanism is simple. A blogger signs up with the website, gets the widget of the website embedded on his url, in return, he gives the viewer generation website access to his contact list – and Voila!, the content generator sends out updates about the users blog to everyone on his/ her contact list. So in a sense it operates like an RSS feed that is sent out to everyone on your list.
Since there are doubts of such a strategy working in the short term (as a mail from your blog may invariably be considered as spam if people on your list do not like it), there is a strategy for the long term as well. Over the long term, the accumulated contacts of all bloggers are analysed with respect to the blogs they view (if at all), and view frequently (which means they like them). These consumers are then sent weekly newsletters of blogs that they might enjoy. So in a sense it’s a customized email to every consumer who signs up on these sites. The hitch lies there – what if customers do not sign up?
I have my doubts, for the long term as well. How will these user generation sites differentiate the good content from the bad? Especially since they would be looking to send out email updates. So if the link provided by the updates are not of a good quality, the updates may ultimately be mentally blocked out as spam. Since the popularity calculation mechanism for this kind of an exercise relates to how many people visit the blog in the short term, one could argue that bloggers with more contacts in their email accounts will generate more hits. This does not necessarily mean that their content is superior. These bloggers will then be sent out as links for the email update (since they are popular, the calculation mechanism will assume that they are of a good quality. This may then lead to more hits – and the vicious circle can continue and quality will be the sole loser.
Apart from generating traffic on a users blog, these sites also provide users with feedback (the Google Analytics kind) where bloggers can get data on who has viewed their site, from where etc. There may also be some tips with respect to streamlining of content (since every blog, like any marketing activity has to have a ‘positioning’ that it seeks to capture in the prospects mind)
Lets get back to square one. How do users find blogs that are relevant to the topic they wish to read about? Well, they can go to Google Blog Search (or Digg) and type in their key words. But what happens once they are onto a blog? They generally have to revert back to Google and then look for the next blog (which as a regular blog reader, I must confess is mighty tedious). So these content generation sites (well at least some of them) help users to cross syndicate content. Thus what invariably happens is that with the help of a Widget, bloggers can direct their readers to other blogs with similar content. And this list of blogs that users may enjoy keeps changing with the post and also with other bloggers posts (with the help of tags, keywords etc). Thus what invariably happens is that similar content is bridged – which makes it easier for users who are interested in particular subjects.
This kind of an exercise is extremely interesting as it is based on over all welfare as well as contextuality. Linking contextual blogs is one big step that will probably enable the entire blogger ecosystem to grow because one blogger automatically becomes a marketing tool for another.
I think cross syndication will be more successful than the sending out of so called customized email alerts as blogs are merely linked for content similarity and there is no effort taken to highlight that these are ‘recommended reads’ – the ‘forgiveness span’ of readers for such widgets will thus be higher.
User generation sites provide online writers with feedback, generate more readers, and make the blogging process more quantifiable so they are probably worth the ‘share of mind’ from bloggers.
P. S. All these user generation sites are loaded with Google Ads – it seems that they are benefiting the most from Buzz marketing. It must also be kept in mind that such sites are mostly maintained by experienced bloggers and it looks like they definitely have found a way to ‘differentiate’ themselves and laugh all the way to the bank. Smart marketing.