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Two Critiques of ESPN's Insider Blogs

My response to Om Malik's criticism of ESPN's blogs:

Our blogs are encouraging the spirit of openness–there’s nowhere else on our site where writers like Karabell, Ford, etc. express themselves as frequently or candidly as on their blogs. You are insinuating that charging people to read interesting content that happens to appear on a blog is a karmic violation of the unwritten laws of the blogosphere.

Brian Behrend has a more valid critique of ESPN's current blogs.

What do you think? Are blogs "supposed" to be free? How useful do you find it to be to post comments directly on a live site, versus emailing feedback to the editorial staff?

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Comments (Post | Latest)

1. Ben said on May 20 2005:

I don't think there's anything intrinsic to blogs that should prevent charging for content. However, I think they should all have RSS feeds :).

2. Brian said on May 20 2005:

I think weblogs are a medium for content publishers to interact with their target audience on a more personal level. I'm not sure whether it matters who that target audience is. It could be the general public like most blogs, or paying subscribers like on Insider, or maybe even more limited such as to just family members. I'm not sure blogs are "supposed" to do anything other than foster communication between writer and reader.

Of course, a commenting system would go a long way in helping encourage that open communication. Karabell and the others get so many emails that it's often essentially a one-way deal. Open up comments and maybe they'll be able to chime in responses to comments every now and then, but more importantly I think they'll be some pretty good discussions just among the readers.

Of course there's always going to be problems when you open up comments, but I think the paid sign up takes away a lot of the anonymous a**hole and spammer problems you normally encounter. I think the biggest problem will be to keep things on-topic. I have a feeling the fantasy blog would be a ton of "who should I start at first base" comments, regardless of the content of the actual post. And the college football blog could get a little uncivil between OU and Texas fans, but a little moderation will go a long way. I'm sure a single reminder that ESPN reserves the right to revoke memberships without refund will help keep people acting like normal human beings.

3. Elie said on Jun 5 2005:

What happened to the sports biz section on Now all of the sudden all that's left is a blog that's considered Insider that you have to pay for?


Hi, I'm Kareem Mayan. I co-founded eduFire, an online video tutoring company.

I've done time at ESPN and FIM.

I advise WorldBlu, helping them build democratic companies.

I moderated a council for Creative Good.

And, I helped bring Barcamp, a technology un-conference, to LA, which is where I live. I am now living and working in cool cities around the world.

More about me.

Opinions stated here are mine alone.

Contact: blog -at- reemer


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