In the bowels of every media company on the planet there is a small group of ex-consultants, ex-bankers, corporate rejects and web 1.0 flame-outs, cooking up plans for Internet domination. Inevitably, one of the “innovators” in the group will “discover” a brand new phenomena sweeping the Internet called blogging and come up with the exciting idea of creating a network of blogs. They’ll sneer at the start-up competition and list all the resources and value they can add to a bloggers site. From a war chest full of money to a huge promotional budgets, they’ll map out how much money they’ll rake in selling ads or charging subscriptions to their massively popular walled gardens of creative goodness. Oh how very wrong they are.
Dinosaurs Herding Cats
This weeks very public blow-up between Vlog vixen Amanda Cogdon and Andrew “I got 51%” Baron highlights a glaring issue media companies will have to face in a world where consumers control their media experiences. Failure is going to be fully public. There is no such thing as quietly shuttering someones dreams of creative expression. Any media company cooking up plans to get into the UGC space needs to remember this.
Corporations are sometimes pretty good at churning out products but generally suck at building relationships. Taking public criticisms from a disgruntled blogger who’s site and audience weren’t large enough to meet the corporate profit requirements but are vocal enough for the press to take note, would be a corporate nightmare. Trying to engage that same blogger in a public debate using the corporate rationale of profitability margins and IRR is the only losing strategy the corporations have.
The lesson from Amandrew Gate is that herding creative cats is difficult even when there isnt alot of money being made and only one cat. If you are a dinosaur considering getting into the herding cats business reflect on the very public break up of Rocket Boom and ask yourself “What would I do if I were Andrew?”