Clogs Will Be Bad for Blogs

Posted on August 5, 2005

David D. Perlmutter of Editor & Publisher says not to fall for the blog hype in an article called "Will Blogs Go Bust." The article points out ways blogs are overhyped and ways that blogs are threatened by sell outs and spammers. Here are the points Perlmutter makes in his article.

1) Blogs Are Not By The People: "Bloggers tend to come from the higher-education and higher-income portion of the population."

2) Blog Numbers Overstated: "Second, astronomical descriptions of blogging numbers fail to account for that fact that many blogs are rarely updated or are orphans."

3) Unwanted Feedback: "One of my female students told me about starting up a live journal blog dedicated to "college women thinking about engineering careers." The response she got: "spam and 50 year-old men [asking me] for dates, nude pictures, or both. Who needs that?" She no longer blogs."

4) Clogs: "Blog numbers are also falsely inflated by fake blogs, a new form of passive spam that I call 'clogs.'"

5) Sell Out Blogs: "But now it seems that every auto company, PR firm, and politician is taking up blogging -- to sell us the same old pitches in a sleek new package. Some bloggers, unfortunately, are selling out and jumping on the payroll of corporations and political parties."

Of all of Perlmutter's points the clogs are definitely the biggest annoyance. The facts behind #1 and #2 can be checked and Perlmutter is probably right about #1 and definitely about #2 -- there are tons of abandoned and rarely updated blogs. #3 can be fixed by removing comments and contact information from the blog or by ignoring the obnoxious feedback. And sell out bloggers (#5) may fool people for a while but eventually the blogosphere will discover and out them.

But clogs are a true threat to the blogosphere. Spam will probably continue to hinder blogging with increasing frequency just like it does email. Perlmutter's "clogs" threaten to clog the blog search tools and blog comment tools with unwanted offers just like those found in your email box. Clogs won't stop blogs but they will hinder their progress and gum up the works.