Is it better to deliver the single knock-out punch, or a hundred punches?

First, a disclaimer.  I have two blogs with b5 media and am a channel editor.  Also I’ve known Jeremy for years now and consider him a good friend.  So if I’m biased, there it is.

Jeremy is tackling head-on the notion is it better to have a few big blogs (like Engadget or Gizmodo) or lots of medium-sized blogs that cover more niches?

Can you name our top blog? Probably not. But that doesn’t mean we’re as far behind as Jason might think. It’s easy to compare WIN and Gawker: just compare Joystiq to Kotaku or Engadget to Gizmodo. But how do you compare Joystiq to 15-25 medium-sized gaming blogs? Not being able to draw apples-to-apples comparisons, though, doesn’t mean we aren’t succeeding. And it doesn’t mean we aren’t enjoying some kick-ass growth, fueled almost entirely by our kick-ass bloggers I might add.
Source: Ensight – Jeremy Wright’s Personal Blog » Why b5media Doesn’t Have “Big Blogs” (or: playing to niches, giving readers choice)

I think, as I work through this, a good analogy would be the shopping mall.  When I was growing up the mall was pretty much Sears or JC Penny’s.  The anchor store.  That’s why you went there in the first place.  Then malls started getting bigger.  Sure there were still anchor stores, but their power was lessened as smaller niche stores became just as big a draw.  People once came to the mall to go to Sears and maybe browse after, now it’s to shop.  Lots to see, lots to do.  A destination.

I think b5 media has followed that model.  In aggregate, b5 is a power-house.  There is probably a blog for almost everyone out there.  You’ll probably find at least one or two or three that you’d like to read often.  It’s diverse.  It also isn’t based on a single anchor.  Ever seen a mall when the anchor store leaves and it hasn’t built up the other stores (and food court, etc)?  It dies.  Fast.  Until another anchor store comes in, then, oddly enough they expand the mall, offer more services, more diversity—less risk.

What would happen if one of the big blogs defected from their network to another?  What if Gizmodo came to b5?  What would happen?  B5 would prosper for sure but what of Gawker?

Have you ever heard the saying being pecked to death by ducks?  Relate that to my title.  Sure one duck pecking you isn’t going to do much damage, but what about 100?  In the b5 model, they don’t need one killer knock-out punch, we’ve got over a hundred.

Now, who do you think can last 8 rounds against that?

Addendum: I had Abe’s post from Blog Herald open in a tab and it didn’t click that he was talking about the same issue.  Abe takes the opposite view, fewer larger blogs are better.  He does make some good points about scale and attracting advertisers.  However I will still contend that niches are going to be where advertisers are going to want to be in the very near future.

 

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