After a few server problems the newest blog network to launch – Instablogs - has gone live. They’ve launched with 46 blogs (unless I can’t count) on a large array of topics. They are billing themselves as ‘A News Organization based on Blogging’. It’s early days yet for them so I’m not interested in taking them apart too negatively – but in responding to their call for suggestions and feedback here are some of my initial impressions:
- Content – Just over 50% of their first round of blogs have no posts – I’m surprised by this, I’ve never seen a blog network launch empty blogs before. A further 4 of their blogs have only one welcome post on them. The writing on the blogs I see with posts seems to largely be link driven (ie linking to an article with comments on that article). I’m yet to reach each active blog in full but so far I haven’t seen too much original content. I’m not knocking this style of blogging – just interested in which approach they are taking.
- Topics – They have chosen a nice wide range of niches to explore. Quite a few are the ‘typical’ blog network topics (why change a winner formulae?) but some are exploring new-ish ground which will be interesting to follow.
- Design – I like their clean design. A lesson I learned from Jason Calacanis though is that he found that WIN’s blogs do better when each blog has its own look/feel/brand. So far they are all looking pretty much the same with a few different colors in the headers. Of course this is challenging when you have 50 or so blogs – but something I suspect they’ll make some changes on this.
- Bloggers – One thing I’m interested in is the anonymity of authors so far. I wonder whether this will change.
- International – I’m excited by some of their internationally flavored blog topics.
- Ads – To this point I’m not seeing any. I’m sure this will come in time.
It’s always interesting to see how different bloggers and networks choose to go about setting up. I’ll be watching Instablogs with real interest. They’ve obviously got some big ideas which I wish them all the best in.