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Scrivens vs. Dixon, Opinion vs. Fact

Sometimes you come across an article on the Web and you figure it was written just to upset some people so that they would write about it. In these cases sometimes it is best to just move on and never think about the article again. However, there are times where a person says the stupidest things in the world that go against everything you are preaching to your clients and you have no choice but to do a write-up.

First let’s get one thing straight. This site that you are reading right now is a blog. Now that we have that out of the way it’s time to open the can of (insert your favorite saying here) on Mr. Clint Dixon (first time I had to use the new ‘nofollow’ link attribute). For this entry’s sake, let’s assume that his article is what he really believes and that this isn’t some joke.

The Fallacy of Blogs

Hopefully I can help you uncover the fallacy of the blog. Why is it such a pervasive part of our current psyche on things related to the Internet world? I think perhaps it’s just the hype. What was once the bastion of free thinkers is now filled with parrots and opinions. According to the proverb, opinions are like…well you know what I mean, we all have one.

Basically Mr. Dixon is clumping every single blog in existence into one category: personal blogs. Personal blogs are the ones with opinions that might not offer any facts and at times talk about subjects that no one is interested in. Some blogs offer just opinions, but these opinions mean something to a lot of people because it gives them a great place for discussion (note the many political blogs out there).

Found the article from Darren’s site.

Last time I checked Kottke had an opinion-based blog that seems to be doing fairly well.

On more than one occasion over the past year, big news items have hit the mainstream media because they were first posted on a opinonated blog. That is a fact. And let’s not even begin to talk about what happened with Dan Rather…

I can stand outside and yell at the top of my lungs that the moon is green, I can go on radio and television and profess again that the moon is green, I can run ads in newspapers, magazines, billboards, taxis, trains, planes and automobiles that the moon is indeed green, and I can post it online in a forum, a chat room, an instant message or my blog, http://www.sem-seo-pros.com/blogger/blog.htm or post it to a website (which is what a blog really is anyway). I can post all over that the moon is green, I can convince you as you sit reading this that the moon is green (it is, of course), but tonight when you look up in the sky, all of the above will be disproved. The moon will still be white, and I will be just another voice, in a sea full of crowded opinion and little fact.

I don’t know if I should even comment on this one, but I can’t recall a time that a blog has written an opinion that was so blatantly wrong. Do people really talk about the sky being green? Poor example there Mr. Dixon. Let us also note that his whole article is nothing but opinions. Guess that would make it the perfect blog entry. And I am pretty sure the moon isn’t white, but more of a multi-color (hmmm, I see some green).

What is a blog?

According to Mr. Dixon:

A blog is a personal diary, which if I remember correctly, everyone that I knew who had one kept it under lock and key. Some announced this fact with more fanfare than others, and that may be a direct correlation to some of us looking for said diary at every chance we could. So blogs do not remind me of any personal diary that I can recall.

Getting into the definition of what is a blog borders on the impossible, but as mentioned earlier there are many different types of blogs. Let’s just say a blog is a site that uses blogging software (bad example, but work with me). It can cover any topic known to man and offers a certain interaction that normal websites can not offer.

A blog lets you into the mind of the person who is writing it. Reading Mr. Dixon’s article I left feeling like I read an SEO Chat article instead of something written by him. I am less inclined to write a comment on the article because it feels like I would be talking to a machine. Blogs just offer more realism for me. That is my opinion.

Blog Advertising

This is where a blog starts to become more of a traditional news site in my mind. There is usually a shift in the attitude of the blog once it begins to accept advertising, but not always.

A blog was able to capture attention and the advertising industry took hold of that concept, and helped grow the hype for its own purpose of growing revenue. The very thing that made blogs so popular, lack of advertisements, will in the future probably also ruin the blog.

Lack of advertisements definitely isn’t what made blogs popular. If that was the case then all of the blogs that now offer advertising would see a decrease in their audience once they offer ads. I know that was never the case with any of our sites.

What’s funny about this quote is that if you look at any of the pages that Mr. Dixon’s article is running you should see at least 10/11 different sets of ads. It doesn’t seem like SEO Chat is going anywhere soon so why would blogs be any different? Oh that’s right, because they are just personal diaries.

It gets even more unusual when you look at the homepage of SEO Chat only to see that 50% of their content is taken up by a blog! So which is it? Blogs help advertising revenue on sites, or they detract from them?

Search Engine Benefits

Search engines like blogs because of fresh content and the amount of links specific pages receive. Permalinks make life easier for both bloggers and search engines. With this in mind Mr. Dixon finally makes a decent point:

As for the additional added benefit of posting in blogs helping one’s website achieve higher rankings on Google.com, as with anything this depends upon several factors, such as your overall website theme. The blogs that you post to, and their relevance to your website’s theme, the amount of competitors’ pages your web site must struggle for attention against, and the amount of traffic each receives on a daily business will determine how effective a method this is.

I agree. However, you can’t dispute the fact that adding a blog can’t hurt your rankings in the search engine so really there isn’t a reason not to start one.

I thought all was good with the world, but Mr. Dixon had one more piece of wisdom to share…

Blogging Isn’t a Business

Is a blog a revenue stream? For some, yes I am sure it is. Is it a business model to consider for making money? I would say no. Are blogs the next thing in the Internet world? No they are not. As much as the media and marketing industry tries to put a new spin on its meaning, a blog is a timely ordering of content otherwise known as a Web log, and we all know Web logs are really nothing more than Web pages.

Classic.

First he agrees that blogs are a revenue stream, but then says that they are not a business model. Huh? Sure they wouldn’t be a business model if the expenses were more than the revenue.

Sorry Mr. Denton and Mr. Calacanis, but you have no business model according to Mr. Dixon. I guess me and the boys here are out of luck as well.

On second thought.

Looking at how much Mr. Dixon made from this article ($50-$100) we can see that he is absolutely right in the fact that blogging is not a business. In fact, just because I made that $50 when I was sleeping last night shouldn’t discount the fact that Mr. Dixon is going to continue to write for SEO Chat and make a lot of money. I wonder if he ever thought that the reason SEO Chat can pay him that much for a subpar article is because they are making that back easily with the 439 forms of advertising on each page?

Let’s take this a step further and assume that Mr. Dixon himself started a blog and posted these articles on his own site. First I am sure he would publish more than the two per month that he is doing over at SEO Chat simply because he controls the editing process. Sure he would be lucky to make that $50 in the first month, but since he owns the content for the lifetime of the site his income is residual unlike the one-time payments he gets from SEO Chat. A well-linked article can easily make that $50 in a couple days/weeks just off of Google ads. Now include the people who would visit the article from a search engine and you are looking at profitability.

If his site got popular enough he could get sponsorships and start to push other methods of generating revenue. Do I dare say that Mr. Dixon might be looking at a full-time business or at the very least one on the side? Nah.

I appreciate the article laced with facts Mr. Dixon. We will make your article a centerpiece for any clients coming to us looking to find out how a blog will benefit them.

About Mike Rundle

Comments

  1. Wow, that’s bad.

    The worst thing I noticed was that despite his claim that advertising is going to ruin weblogs, his article is displayed with all sorts of IntelliText links that look like legitimate links but are actually ads…

  2. Bryan says:

    Yea, that text was really pissing me off. I hate links that do that.

    I wasn’t impressed with his article. The moon example was kinda weak. I didn’t feel the comparison he was making regarding those that call blogs ‘blogs, diaries, or whatever’.

    The problem with certain people is that they don’t accept the fact that technology changes, and with that the use of that technology changes as well.

    Maybe 5 years ago, a blog was a personal diary, but we are in 2005. Blogging CMS systems are becoming more powerful. The ability to use a blog as an informative resource is getting larger.

    If you want to make a site and call it workboxers.com and your business model for making money, so be it. If what you talk about brings visitors and they click on your ads, so be it.

    My opinion is that a blog falls within the category of how a page is put together.

    typically, you have categories, individual pages, dates, titles, a the body of your posting. They are then placed chronologically in order.

    Whether its a design portfolio or a site about little kittens, if it has those elements, chances are, its a blog.

  3. Well said Bryan. I like the way you defined what a blog is.

  4. Ryan Latham says:

    Ok, let’s take the definition of blog he gives:

    Main Entry: blog
    Function: noun
    Definition: an online diary; a personal chronological log of thoughts published on a Web page; also called Weblog, Web log

    Ok, first a blog doesn’t have to be an online diary. Second let’s assume it is personal, these personal and chronological thoughts published on a web page can still hold relvance.

    Now lets take his definition of a blog:

    My definitions for Blog: minimalist website. Advertiser Exploitation # 1,945,823. Wannabe website.

    Any recognition I could have given him was just thrown out with this statement. Rather than fully justifying something, he attacks it like it did something to him.

    Funny, how he bashes blogs, yet this article is what the orignal definition defines as a blog article. He gives his personal chronological thoughts on blogs. He blogged! He is a hypocrite, whom has a skewed perception of what a blog is.

  5. Anil says:

    I don’t think you can judge a book by its cover, but you know, I think you can tell a lot about his perspective by looking at the page that the story appeared on, and contrasting it to the average blog’s design.

  6. Anon says:

    Hmmm – got to wonder about his motivation for writing that article. Sounds like a try hard to me. Look what he write here about himself…

    “I am a professional Search Engine Optimization Consultant. This is about my 5th business start up with one successful start up under my belt, one sort of successful that I could not commit to and my current business which is growing in my second year”

    Sounds like he’s got a history of missing the boat….

  7. That pretty much sums it up.

  8. Mike P. says:

    post it to a website (which is what a blog really is anyway)

    Wow, how enlightening. Really now, when were we confused by this?

    I can’t wait to hear what he has to say about the Web 2.0 ideas…

  9. Mike D. says:

    … which begs the question: is an article even an article if nobody reads it? You know, like the tree falling in an empty forest.

    I clicked over to Clint’s article and tried to register my vote and noticed a seemingly strange voting interface. There were five stars lined up horizontally but only two of them were filled… which seemed normal. But then there was the number “8” next to the stars. Normally a number placed like this is a raw numerical score which is more precise than the stars. Turns out that after I voted, the number went to 9. Which means it represents the number of people who rated the article.

    Nine people. 8 of which probably came from Business Logs. One of which came from the author.

    No wonder that site paginates its stories into 5 paragraph chunks. Gotta artificially generate the page views if you’re going to make any money.

    Ouch.

  10. Haha, hopefully Clint has seen the error of his ways. It’s sad to see a “SEO specialist” not truly understanding the value of blogs.

  11. Andrew Hume says:

    This does kind of sound like an article built for controversy sake.

    post it to a website (which is what a blog really is anyway)

    Well, er… yeah. Well spotted Mr Dixon. Is it the terminology he has a problem with?

  12. Clint Dixon says:

    Hi Paul

    It’s me Clint Dixon. You did not like an article I wrote on SEOChat about blogs being nothing special.

    Following up on your little rant and not being happy I had a lengthy reply typed up but felt that would just be playing into your hands.

    So I received an e-mail newsletter from Marketing Sherpa and thought I would post his here for you and your clients.

    Call us cynics. Blogs may be hip and trendy, but they don’t do diddly-squat for most people’s businesses.

    After four years of research, MarketingSherpa reporters estimate only .03% of the 34.5 million existing blogs are driving sales or prospective customers to their bloggers. (That’s less than 1,000 that we’ve been able to find.)

    Well Paul now no less an authority in their field as the blog guru you are has said it as well..

    What next going to whine that the people behind Marketing Sherpa are as crazy as I am or will you look to fleexe clients in a more respectable profession such as an attorney LOL

    One last thing Paw… next time you use my name in vain, at least link it to my website and not one where I write..Thanks

    Clint Dixon

  13. That’s a pretty good reply Mr. Dixon. My apologies for not linking to your site when using your name in ‘vain’, but it only made sense to link to the article that I was referencing. Interesting that your throw out a statistic of 34.5 million blogs because we have to wonder how many of those blogs are actually business blogs.

    You say that the 0.03% is about 1,000 blogs. That sounds about the right number of business blogs to me so I am guessing if you look at the % of business blogs that generate customers and leads for businesses your number becomes much higher.

    I would love to see an example of where using a blog effectively did not help a business out or at the very least improve the marketing in the search engines.

    I understand as a traditional marketing person you feel a bit threatened working within a new medium that you might not have an understanding of yet. Blogs require less marketing-speak and more ‘real speak’ with audiences to become successful. This goes against all the marketing teachings of the last 80-90 years.

    Again, please when you decide to quote statistics look at what you are using. Personal blogs do not count. Blogging isn’t anything new and we admit that the hype can overshadow their value, but they do serve a purpose.

    As a marketing specialist I find it odd that you aren’t willing to add another ‘tool’ to your toolbox to help your clients reach a broader audience.

    Of course I am just writing this on a blog that doesn’t help us with any clients or customers. I guess it’s time to find the next hot thing. Any ideas?

  14. michele says:

    Well I must admit, you hit the nail on the head Paul..I (unfortunely) know Clint personally and he is nothing more then a scam artist. He has taken people’s money and given them nothing in return…he has NOT been in his line of work 5 years..2 years tops as it shows by his lack of knowledge….notice he puts you down as soon as you disagree with him….like school on a Sunday.. NO CLASS

  15. Stiven says:

    Hi
    As to me to create the same page?

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