David Jackson makes a nifty case for Yahoo! buying Six Apart, and also links to a Mary Meeker investment report on RSS and blogging which I’ve just printed out and will consume at my leisure (note to Meeker: don’t use columns in PDF files, as I have to scroll down and up again to read them onscreen, hence the print-out).
Jackson makes the point that what Yahoo! would be buying with Six Apart is not the technology itself – they’re perfectly capable of building something themselves – but the network of existing blogs in the MovableType/LiveJournal universe. In the old days, they’d call this “buying an audience”, but this is something much more complicated. What they’d actually be buying is the right to put their ads on the blogs in that universe.
This seems to be an interesting power-reversal. Suddenly, bloggers are valuable because they’ve created real estate, and just like the side of a building is valuable to a billboard company, so this real estate is valuable to the Googles and Yahoo!s of this world. Jackson argues that the demand for text ads is “exceeding supply”, which is probably true. If it is true, it suggests that bloggers are busy building real estate which can almost instantly be monetised. They’re a bit like Dutch engineers reclaiming land from the sea. When I publish a blog, I add to this real estate, as I do every time I post something.
So, like the universe, the blogosphere expands and expands, possibly infinitely. But what’s it expanding into?