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Over the festive break, Jeremiah Owyang, analyst at Altimeter Group, caused a bit of a stir with a post claiming the golden era of tech blogging is over.

Owyang pointed to four key drivers:

  • Corporate acquisition including both AOL/Techcrunch and Read Write Web/Say Media as proof of stymied innovation.
  • Talent turnover, often caused by corporate acquisition (see above), citing the Techcrunch crew, but also Ben Parr (Mashable) and Marshall Kirkpatrick (Read Write Web) as examples.
  • Audience needs changing. According to Owyang, audiences want “faster, smaller, and social”.
  • Business models solidify. Not necessarily a bad thing as it means there is space for more disruptive entities to come in.     

There is no doubt these drivers are evident in the way content is consumed online, but Owyang’s definition of tech blogging seems narrow.

In fact, it is more or less limited to Techcrunch, ReadWriteWeb and Mashable.

These ‘professional’ blogs hardly crystallise the original ethos of what it means to be a blogger. And, with the tech blogging scene clearly one that we watch closely as a tech PR agency, I could list a significant number that fit the original mould and are thriving.

The truth is that the fundamental rule of successful blogging (and indeed most content), no matter what type of blog you run,  is producing quality content.

It’s a rule that new UK-based tech blog Kernel has put at the heart of what it is doing. And, interestingly, it is bucking the third driver Owyang specifies too, as Editor Milo Yiannopoulos states:

...in a sense, we’ve created a market because people are so conditioned to think that tech news means badly recycled press releases. Or occasionally a tech blogger over-reaching himself to pen an opinion piece, which is overbearingly banal in its content and almost unreadable in its grammar...We’re taking a completely fascist approach to good quality content. We’re not interested in SEO, we’re not interested in those annoying multi-page articles – we only care about producing and publishing beautiful thought provoking content.

Milo has bet his business on quality and it will be interesting to see whether it works.

Lack of quality does seem to be one of the elements that so-called ‘professional blogs’ are ditching. For example, I’m sick and tired of the constant stream of ‘newsjacking’ posts from Mashable, and other high profile blogs seem to be increasingly going the same way.

So if Owyang’s trend is merely a move away from cheaper, less thoughtful publishing, to one that focuses on quality and in-depth analysis, then I see that as an entirely positive evolution and one that will make blogging more relevant than ever.

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Published 4 January, 2012 by Danny Whatmough

Danny Whatmough is Head of Digital, EMEA Consumer at Weber Shandwick. He can be found on TwitterGoogle+  and blogs at dannywhatmough.com.

21 more posts from this author

Comments (3)


Vladimir Ivanovic, Head of Innovation at DraftFCB

TC, Mashable & RRW have certainly been pillars in the tech blogging world however, where these initially niche publications gradually turned more mainstream properties like Reddit and Hacker News (not to mention Twitter) have far more sway over the tighter tech community.

The reason? Content is curated by the community not by the management of blog/businesses who have other agendas.

I can and do find excellent obscure articles/blogs from the front page of HN daily and I'd much rather be digging into the long tail of blogs when it comes to tech analysis... the people writing the posts have no hidden agenda - you get a unique perspective.

Let TC, Mashable & RRW break the news and give top 10 lists, I'm more interested in the commentary of the many once the news has broken.

almost 5 years ago


Danny Whatmough

Thanks Vladimir. I agree that sites like Reddit, Hacker News, Twitter etc. certainly give 'non-mainstream' blogs an chance to really punch above their weight. But it still all comes down to quality...

almost 5 years ago


Internet Marketing SEO

I agree with the points that you shared in your blog.The main motive of any blog whether it is of any type it should have quality content.Most of the blogging sites does not allow even to put a blog if it is poor in content.

over 4 years ago

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