Critique of Weblogs, Inc., plan

· Nanopublishing

Nick Denton offers a good-natured, if tough, critique of Jason Calcanis’ business plan for Weblogs, Inc., inBlog empires. Denton thinks that the trade-publishing angle might bear fruit, but he doesn’t see revenue sharing as a particularly likely way to compensate authors, he offers some insightful observations about the value of branding to the individual writers, and he seriously questions the decision to develop a proprietary weblogging tool for the venture.
That all sounds about right to me. The weblog format would suit trade-nanopublishing just fine, but when much larger and more sophisticated enterprises are adopting Movable Type or converting over to it, building up a new weblog platform from scratch seems like a waste of time and energy, unless some radical viral innovation in the weblog form is impossible without the custom software.
As any technical architect or engineer will tell you, weblog software is relatively trivial to put together. Yes, getting the interface right and supporting all the vogue-ish features that bind together the blogosphere these days takes a lot of t-crossing and i-dotting, but it’s not the computer science equivalent of rocket science.
You’re talking a fairly simple data model (a few tables in a relational database), a neatly presented input form and some templates to render the dynamic content. It makes more sense to build on what’s already out there.