Aug 07 2007

Another Vancouver blog bites the dust

Published by at 2:20 am under blogging,BlogRant,Vancouver

Not this one, haters. No, I’m referring to the MetroBlogging Vancouver site, to which I used to contribute political commentary and amusing snippets of Vancouver city life.

WARNING: For those who find the inane rivalries of bloggers, well, uh, inane, READ NO FURTHER. I’ll probably have a post about evil dictators or the garbage strike or the how the Taliban wastes your tax dollars up shortly for my loyal fans.

My involvement with MetroBlogging began in the really exciting days just after free, user-friendly software like the one I’m using made blogging popular… and before Facebook rendered most ill-maintained blogs obsolete. Even Skeletor of He-Man fame got into the act with a little podcast from Castle Greyskull (shown above).

It was an exciting time… well, for some of us. I enjoyed my little foray into citizen journalism, but gradually, my actual paid writing gigs, regular teaching job and other mix-and-match of freelance creative duties have simply taken away any time for the project.

If I’m going to blog, and blog with passion, I’ll blog on my own blog.

Lo and behold, I seem to be merely the first in a veritable stampede of authors away from the site, which was having trouble attracting regular posters even before the summer crunch.

MetBlogs Captain Jeffery Simpson has valiantly kept the site alive pretty much on his own with a Herculean effort for several weeks. But how long can he keep up the solo effort?

Question #1: Can Beyond Robson finally claim the title of Vancouver’s definitive Web 2.0 blog – by default?

Question #2: Is this the moment for Urban Vancouver to finally reconquer a little market share in the Vancouver blogosphere?

Question #3: Does anyone aside from geeks like myself really care about any of this?

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6 responses so far

6 Responses to “Another Vancouver blog bites the dust”

  1. on 07 Aug 2007 at 5:59 am

    I don’t see this as a situation where one blog having “market share” means another does not. There’s lots of room in the ‘blogs about Vancouver’ arena, if you want to use a physical space metaphor for it.

    I don’t think Beyond Robson is a “Web 2.0 blog” either: it’s a fairly well-done blog with a geographic focus (i.e. a ‘placeblog’) covering what its readers want it to. Urban Vancouver probably needs a new direction if its readership is to increase and for conversations to happen on the site (the site’s original goal was as a community site for Vancouverites), and we have ideas, but the people behind the blog also run a business, so that’s where priorities currently lie. The other way I could put that, speaking as a managing editor, as diplomatically as possible, is that the site’s content isn’t as compelling as it could be.

    To answer your third question, people aside from geeks don’t care about the ins-and-outs of the technology behind it, nor do they care much about the ‘horse race’ storyline. They just want something good to read in the morning, afternoon, or whenever it is that people read blogs.

  2. on 07 Aug 2007 at 7:09 pm

    More blogs are always welcome in to the Vancouver blogosphere… it’s those damn aggregators that are starting to get to me though :-p

  3. on 08 Aug 2007 at 2:52 am

    I couldn’t agree more, Miss 604. More blogs are always welcome. Let our voices shout from the blogosphere!

    And since I can see your latest post back on the Vancouver MetBlogs site, I would be happy to announce that this blog post may seem premature… assuming the rest of the crew follows suit. Good luck to Jefferey in his efforts to rally the troops! Cheers.

  4. on 09 Aug 2007 at 6:26 pm

    This entry was linked to by BR, and it sort of clearly illustrates the difference between local blogs like Urban Vancouver, Miss604 and MBV and something like BR.

    At MBV I’ve always tried to use the site to highlight the really cool things in the Vancouver blog world, and Beyond Robson is often one of those really cool things. At Beyond Robson, since they’re far more directed by the need for ad revenue, they’ve been far quicker to try to start things with other sites.

    About six months ago (my timing could be a bit off on that by a few months, I’ll have to look at the email exchange), their Ontario editors tried to recruit me to captain BR and I declined because I like MBV and being loyal is important. Had they offered a bucket of money I probably would have changed my mind, but you know it’s blogging there’s no buckets.

    Since then though it’s been odd at how they’ve taken runs at us. I do think it’s a potentially competitive market for ad revenue and I wouldn’t be surprised if they’ve been getting some pressure from Ontario to compete with us more and maybe that’s behind their desire to go around claiming to be Vancouver’s best blogg and things like that.

    Which of course is unquantifiable, since taste is subjective. Also unqantifiable is visitor stats, since there’s no good way for us at MB to see what they get or for them to see what MB gets since Alexa uses the entire networks. As such MBV has much higher stats than BR but that’s largely because Alexa is comparing MB’s world wide network to their Montreal/Toronto/Vancouver axis and so it’s hardly fair.

    While Vancouver blogs all tend to be fairly supportive of each other, BR has been clearly taking runs at MBV for awhile. If they’re getting editorially mandated to do that, I’d say that’s unfortunate. Either way it’s how they want to run their blog, and that’s their choice.

    I’m much more interested in being positive.

  5. on 12 Aug 2007 at 6:14 am

    I’m heartened to see at least a few of the flock returning to MetBlogs in the past week or so. It’s definitely an improvement.

    Jefferey, best of luck rallying the authors to get the site off life support and back into several posts a day. I suspect all it might take is a few weeks of indoor-activity-inducing weather in the Fall.

  6. on 17 Aug 2007 at 8:18 am

    I’m really, and I mean REALLY not sure that Metroblogging Vancouver ever had what it took to be truly compelling. It seemed far too much like a template applied from elsewhere to a city that is, to be honest, quirky in the extreme. It felt prefab.

    Urban Vancouver feels like an aggregator, not a blog; it has no compelling editorial voice. That, at least, is something Beyond Robson has.

    Having recently broken into the local blogging community (although I live here, half my readers are outside North America) I have to say I’m really quite positively surprised at the number of blog readers there are in the Vancouver area. But look at the city: it’s an aggregation of discrete neighborhoods. Transfer that to the blogosphere if you want to connect with Vancouver, because that’s who we are. We are a lot of very different people all rubbing shoulders.

    What I’m saying is, it’s impossible for a blog to “own” the Vancouver market, but it’s quite possible for a medium-to-large number of blogs to serve various intello-cultural communities within Vancouver. Your soccer mom blogs, your ecoblogs (this is what http://www.happyfrog.ca is going for), your weekend warrior blogs, your socialite/singleton blogs (www.urbanmixer.com), and so on.

    Divide and conquer!

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