February 23, 2006 9:56 AM PST
Full-time blogger Kottke throws in the towel
Kottke announced on Wednesday that he is no longer seeking payments from people who enjoy his blog, Kottke.org. He said he hasn't managed to attract enough readers or developed "a sufficient cult of personality" to support the subscription model.
He also explained that he wasn't able to keep providing the time and energy needed to make his blog successful enough.
"My (unstated) intention from the beginning was to approach the site as a start-up, but along the way, life intervened (in a good way), and I couldn't focus on it as much as I wanted to. The site became a normal job, a 9-to-5 affair, which meant that I could keep up with it, but growth was hard to come by," Kottke wrote.
Kottke was part of the first wave of bloggers. He set up his site nearly eight years ago and was awarded a lifetime achievement award at the Bloggies in 2003. He announced that he was going to work on the blog full time on Feb. 22, 2005, and was seeking micropayments from regular readers.
Kottke revealed on Wednesday that he had raised a total of $39,900 from 1,450 donors. Most of that was received in the initial fund-raising drive in February and March 2005, when his project began.
It's unclear what Kottke will do next.
"In the short term, (the blog) is going to be taking a backseat to some other things going on in my life. Longer term, who knows? I might look for other ways to fund my efforts on the site, or maybe it goes back to being more of a hobby. But there will be posts and links and other things here almost daily, just like there have been for almost eight years now," he wrote.
Dave Sifry, who founded the blog search engine Technorati, believes that the secret to creating a successful blog is to specialize in a certain topic. This will help attract attention from other bloggers and push the blog into what Sifry calls the "Magic Middle" of the blogosphere, he argued in a blog posting earlier this month.
Robert Scoble, known as The Microsoft Blogger, published a book last month called "Naked Conversations," in which he argued that individuals and businesses cannot afford to ignore the power of the blogging community.
"Blogging has (passed) the denial and most of the anger phase. Now businesses see blogging's huge potential and have begun to adapt it to business needs," Scoble wrote.
Graeme Wearden of ZDNet UK reported from London.
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