Blogebrity Interview

A few days ago, I noticed some traffic coming from a site I hadn’t seen before. Apparently, I had been classified as a B-list blogger. The site, called Blogebrity, has since started to garner a fair amount of attention. I caught up with one of the site’s creators over IM. Here’s a quick IM interview, done in the style Jason blogs in:

TNLNYC:

Congrats on the slashdotting. How are your server and ego holding up?

blogebrity:

well, right now we’re hosted on the Contagious Media servers, which seem to be weathering all the traffic storms well. As for ego… Nothing like a nice slashdotting to keep you somewhat humble… somewhat being an operative word haha

TNLNYC:

Here’s a dumb, and possibly recursive, question: when will blogebrity appear on the blogebrity list?

blogebrity:

HA! Well, as we work to make the system fully automated, i guess it is possible, based on the criteria we designate, we COULD turn up there but man….right now we’d definitely catch some heat for it.

TNLNYC:

and what are those criteria?

blogebrity:

well, we’re trying to basically take it from a more Yahoo-style index (with a lot of human editing), to something more Googleish and
algorithmic… if that’s even possible… an A-list algorithm could be tricky

TNLNYC:

any details? just ripping off Technorati? Any other approach?

blogebrity:

Well, we’re trying to add in extra details to account for… like if a blogger’s made tv appearances, or gotten corporate media attention… and more focus on WHO is linking to you and what their reputation is. And finally… trying to add in for Reputation Monitoring, so if someone posts a bunch of B.S., they aren’t ranked as high as someone who consistently delivers truth/accuracy

TNLNYC:

but isn’t truth/accuracy a subjective term? Especially when it comes to some of the political blogs?

blogebrity:

oh yeah, totally.

TNLNYC:

how do you account for that?

blogebrity:

yeah, that’s what we’re wrestling with. Some people over here think a mostly human-edited system is more the way to go. I keep arguing about how much we can automate it but as it develops, we will share more with the public and call for some input.

TNLNYC:

Over the last 48 hours, you’ve been getting a lot of link flow… the magazine, according to your site, arrives “summer 2005″… What does that mean in terms of schedule? Is summer a may-june schedule our is it more something along the lines of before the end of September?

blogebrity:

yeah, definitely later in the summer for anything in print. Right now, the focus is on our “full” blog site. Right now on the contagious media servers, we can’t really go to town and install whatever we want so we’ll be launching a full site, on MT or Drupal, with a full message board and other goodies, in June… and then ironing out the details on any print, or other media extensions of Blogebrity.

TNLNYC:

and is there a business model behind the blog? behind the magazine?

blogebrity:

HA–business model? Again… We’re sort of ironing it out as we go…. When it started, we knew we had an interesting concept but we never dreamed it would get so much attention so fast. The coolest part is—all the attention is drawing more and more people/contributions our way.

TNLNYC:

So, at this time, it’s more of an idea that you’re trying to turn into a business?

blogebrity:

yeah, i’d say that’s a pretty accurate assessment.

TNLNYC:

do you think the site is attracting people because of the novelty and/or controversy of setting up a list? how do you plan to sustain the kind of traffic over the long run?

blogebrity:

yeah, i think there is definitely some novelty factor but i also think its reflective of the maturity process of blogging. It’s reached a point where some additional taxonomy/structure is valuable to the community, to better understand the mass of information available on the blogosphere. And, like it or not, our culture responds/understands this sort of celebrity-style classification very well.

blogebrity:

but really for us, this is about a group of die-hard blog readers/writers, looking to dig deeper, to find new ways to explore the conversations going on in blogland… and/or provoke some discussions too.

TNLNYC:

In the beginning days of the commercial internet (right after the Netscape IPO) a similar phenomenon arose about the Internet (with new “internet celebrity” magazines popping us on what seemed like a daily basis). After the big shakeup, none of those magazines survived. Do you think that blogebrity will have a limited window of opportunity? And what happens when the mainstream pubs start covering the blog space more heavily (for example, the NY Times is starting to have a regular monday feature about blogs)? Is that competition?

blogebrity:

we eat the NY Times for breakfast! just kidding No, I definitely think there are going to be plenty of challengers and I think for us, it’s about staying in touch with what’s going on in the community, and developing relationships with bloggers. So we can provide “access” that others might not necessarily have, as well as analysis and understanding that has greater depth than the mainstream media options. I mean, definitely one inspiration for “blogebrity” was just laughing at so much of the big media presentation of blogs: It’s like, they don’t really get it, they just know it’s big… and want a piece. We want to be the guys who really get it. Hopefully, people feel like we do.

TNLNYC:

and what does “getting it” constitute of?

blogebrity:

well, i see SOME people focusing too much on blogs as mini versions of the old media entities that have been around on the Web since its inception. And i see SOME focusing heavily on the conversations going on, without analyzing the context effectively. And plenty of people that think it’s just a fad that will go away. Oh… And we see a lot of bloggers taking themselves WAY too seriously. So there’s a healthy amount of tongue-in-cheekness going on with the “blogebrity” title and A-lists and such and we aim to maintain that throughout. Yes, blogs are the best thing since sliced bread; But no, just because you have one doesn’t mean your Pulitzer prize is in the mail.

TNLNYC:

I’m pretty sure you’ve seen the analysis by blogging.la and I was wondering… Is this the beginning of another blog network? and if yes, how about some words about the competition (Jason, Nick, etc…) ?

blogebrity:

good question. Well i’ve started quite a few different blogs… Not totally sure if we want to dive into starting a bunch more in a network-style but it’s definitely one option we’re pondering. I am personally more interested in being somewhere in between that and a technorati or feedster—a hybrid of blog network, with real analytical tools that supplement our content.

TNLNYC:

Gotta run but one last question: Any words out to Jason or Nick (that is, Kottke and Denton, since you have them on the mock covers of the magazine)?

blogebrity:

ummm….keep up the great work…..and anytime you want to do an “Exclusive” blogebrity interview, let us know. We’ll send out Pat O’Brien right away.

TNLNYC:

thanks… I’ll post this on my blog soon.. Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions 🙂

blogebrity:

no problem… anytime

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