BloodhoundBlog is six month’s old today. The first post, an accidental prophesy, was about the incipient disintermediation of for-pay content providers in the age of the internet:
If almost-as-good is free or nearly free, what is the market value of slightly-better?
I documented the birth of the blog soon thereafter, but it’s reasonable to argue that BloodhoundBlog is a natural progression in the erosion of the castle walls surrounding for-pay intellectual property. When Joseph Rago rails that weblogs are “written by fools to be read by imbeciles,” by what sum, precisely, is the Wall Street Journal enriched? Is it plausible that more wealth was “monetized” in the Rago-reaction than ever was realized by the original rant? If “no man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money,” who made more — Rago or the anti-Ragoons? And what persists, in the end, but another “free” opinion in an unmetered atmosphere of “free” opinions?
Their world is done. Ours is but begun. There may be a way to build a wall around original reporting, particularly where the information is time-sensitive, is difficult to obtain or is available only from an easily-restricted source. The obvious example is a real-time — as against time-delayed — stock ticker. What’s left after that? Habit? Status? Higher production quality — which may be a further expression of status? What argument can the vestigial Joseph Ragos make for the added value of “metered” air? It’s time for a deep breath, isn’t it? Why not? The air is “free.”
Do you want to argue for the superiority of your content? Good on ya! Produce superior content. Is it your goal to argue that your content is so much better that you deserve to be paid for it? Good luck with that plan. You may be able to draw enough eyes that you can dupe some advertisers into paying for the chance to try to hook a few — just like the endlessly preening broadcast news. If you see your future in a box office — a toll booth on the information superhighway — then do, please, take that deep breath. There’s a clue in the air, and you just might catch it.
We come at this game with no illusions. I have never believed in the real estate marketing power of real estate weblogs — certainly not at the level this is purported to exist. We built BloodhoundBlog to be by, for and about real estate professionals. This is where the audience is, and this is where our interests lie. But here is the interesting thing about “free” intellectual property. The internet is a lousy way to sell that content itself, but it’s a great way to sell intellectual property producers.
If you sniff around that paragraph for a while, you will understand BloodhoundBlog. We’re not selling real estate, and we’re not selling real estate intermediaries. We are selling experts and their expertise. In the long run, we could be market makers in real estate expertise. But the long run can be very long, and the rules of the game change every day. It is sufficient for now to be the best we can be in everything we do.
Counting Richard Riccelli — who wishes not to be counted but who continues to surge forth geyser-like with killer post ideas — we are eleven webloggers strong by now, where we were but two when we began. The minds we have added are among the best in the RE.net, and this will continue as a matter of policy. We want to be a place where you know you must come every day. And if Russell Shaw should deliver a speech at your state’s Realtor convention, you’ll know why you must attend. And if Kris Berg should write a book, you’ll know why you must buy it.
I’d love to tell you that I foresaw all of this, six months ago, when we were putting this together — but I didn’t. I knew what I wanted, but I had no idea how to get it. But if the rules change every day, then every day is a fresh opportunity to learn them anew. What we have achieved — at our puppyish age — is so far beyond what I had envisioned, I can only marvel at what might be yet to come.
I am very proud of — and very grateful to — the roster of contributors we have assembled. The truth is we’re just getting our legs under us. Keep an eye on us over the next six months and we’ll see just how far this hound dog can run.
Speaking for everyone at BloodhoundBlog, here’s to your health, wealth and happiness in the coming year!