Blogs on Ice: Signs of a Business Model?

Posted by: Rob Hof on June 02, 2005

Uberblogger Doc Searls once noted that blogs don’t necessarily need a business model to be worthwhile. “Does your phone have a business model? How about your porch? Or your driveway?” he asked at Dave Winer’s Bloggercon last November at Stanford Law School. “Do you refuse to buy furniture unless you can find a way to make money off of it?” His point: Blogs’ key value may be indirect, providing satisfaction on their own terms or leading to other opportunities.

Just heard about an interesting example of the latter: Ice.com, the online jewelry merchant, now has three blogs (here, here, and here) that are driving an amazing amount of traffic and sales to its main site. “We get thousands of leads a week from our blogs,” CEO Shmuel Gniwisch told me today. Clearly marketing vehicles, these blogs stretch the definition. But given that its customers on average spend about $200 an order, that’s a pretty good business model.

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Reader Comments

Jack Krupansky

June 2, 2005 08:32 PM

I would certainly encourage business journalists to *always* be skeptical of "investments" that don't have a very clear "business model". Sure, some of us are simply responsible for producing technology and its not our job to even know how people will make money using our tools, but you guys should be talking with the people whose job *is* to come up with business models for the deployment of technology. The blogs related to ice.com are in fact good examples of a business having a very clear concept of the *role* of a tool in their business and how it clearly *drives* customers to a place where a profitable business transaction can take place. No tool needs to have a "direct" path to profit, but there should always be a well thought-out strategy for the ways in which the tool can in fact meet organizational objectives. Maybe you should re-interview Doc Searls and see what he says today about the connection between blogs and business planning.

-- Jack Krupansky

steve baker

June 3, 2005 07:51 AM

I agree with Jack to beware of investments in phenomena lacking clear business models. But I agree with Rob (and Searls) that a phenomena doesn't need to have a business model to be powerful. What's the business model for political activism? Lots of people dedicate much of their lives to it, without pay, because they're passionate. Others write unpublished poetry, climb mountains, run in triathelons. Look around, and most of what people do when they're not at work doesn't fit into a business model (at least not for them) But they still do it. And with blogs, what they're doing is creating a global happening. I see it growing more and more powerful

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