Tim Oren’s blog is rising fast in my news reader, where I keep the blogs sorted in a rough rank order.
I highly recomend his recent essay No eBay of Blogs with which I largely agree.
But, on the otherhand… I think many people are missing out on how strong the synergies are between the client and the server in blogdom. That comments, trackbacks, identity, reputation, and moderating will all strengthen that entanglement. If that grows stronger it will be harder and harder to avoid a potent network effect emerging – one that appears to me to be much stronger to me than the document exchange network effect that makes the Microsoft Office so strong a monopoly. If you owned that, you’d get the hub, you’d be the eBay, you’d be the landlord. An embrace and extend strategy looks quite plausible here.
I don’t know if that’s any different an insight than saying the same thing about the client/server synergies around HTTP. Nobody grabbed that hub. Many tried though. The build out was so extremely fast, making hubs easier to grab since that reenforces the power-law. But the early winners were open, so at least the server side has managed to remain reasonably open. The client side remains in contest, but some poeple think the good fairy Ms. Open is starting to gain the upper hand there too.
One reason the landlord of HTTP was hard to grab is that powerlaws are more likely to emerge when new entrants lack the knowledge to make informed choices so they just pick the market leader. In the HTTP case folks installing servers tended to be highly knowledgable about the lock-in risk and hence valued open. I mention this because I don’t think that’s true about the majority of folks that will be adopting a blogging solution. If the client and server become one, as I suspect is likely, then that will further reenforce the emergance of a landlord of blogdom.