Technorati's terrific report this week on the State of the Blogosphere concluded with a look at the commingling of brands and blogs --- specifically, too, how blogs are becoming their own brands and how willing they are to shepherd marketing messages and content from non-traditional sources.
Yes, bloggers are getting full of themselves (one in five don't think newspapers will exist in a decade, while half believe blogs will be a prime source of information in the decade ahead). But Technorati notes that bloggers are worth watching for another important reason: They adopt new technology earliest and are the sentries for the wider societal adoption of techniques and gear.
The report points to an increased credibility of blogs as sources of content and of legitimate media players. Technorati's package indicates blogs are now part of our lives in 2008 (they need no introduction that they needed, say, two years ago), that bloggers are increasingly making money, that they are adding to the public sphere, and that they are evolving swiftly into a vibrant form of media.
Technorati Media is the latest addition to the blog advertising networks. The launch today is the latest in a smallish field of blog networks that reflect the real and loyal traffic in that sphere.
Advertising is sold on a CPM basis and the revenue split is seemingly negotiable. Using Technorati's technology should assist in targeting ads quite well, so the premiums for ad sales ought to be high --- at least, that's the theory.
In the latest Infoworld, Technorati CEO Richard Jalichandra comments on the blurring between blogs and conventional media.
"Mainstream media gets it now, and they realize that they can create a lot more content with participation from the community. Today, a lot of mainstream media articles are written on a blogging platform as opposed to a [traditional] content management system, and it's an interesting challenge."
A challenge in two respects: How to cultivate community content and how to ensure it achieves a certain standard of quality. Newsrooms everywhere are wrestling with this dilemma.
On the one hand there is the reality of an expanded public sphere of content that can help shape a conventional organization's content. On the other hand there is the reality of little discipline and verification of content, and that will ultimately pose a serious threat when a legal framework emerges around digital content in such areas as defamation.
Andrew Keen's book last year, The Cult of the Amateur covered this ground, but while it's true that conventional media are getting it, they're also uncertain about what they're getting. This is not an easy blur to accommodate.