Will There Always be Gate Keepers?

Apr 13th

A while ago many people referenced this article in response to a Wall Street Journal article about bloggers disclosing their relationships.

The thesis of The New Gatekeepers is spelled out in the opening paragraph:

For all that is being said about the democratizing effect of the blogosphere, the truth is that systems of hierarchies that have existed for thousands of years still exist in the online world. It may be that humans are hard-wired for hierarchies and find an innate need to give more power to a certain amount of gatekeepers.

Not sure if I would want to view myself as a gate keeper, but if that is part of my role while typing these keys I may as well open the floodgates to a few friends sites...

I am not sure what I think on the disclosure issue. I think if people read your stuff consistently they should get to know you. If there are lies in it that will eventually wash out. As content builds and people learn you over time more eyes are there to cross connect inconsistent behavior.

One of the biggest advantages small publishers have is the ability to blend content and advertisement to increase their effective income per unique visitor. But is there a magical line on weather or not there is cash involved in a deal? What makes something worthy of disclosure? Given that the web is social in nature shouldn't my content and context say what I think of something without having to restate things? If I link to it doesn't that say I like it or trust what is at the other end?

What would scare you more...

  • a site where everything referenced had a disclosure link next to it; or

  • a site which typically did that but did not put a disclosure next to 1 link

Disclosure: I wrote this post while tired ;)

If the role of gatekeepers remains it will move from those who have wealth toward those who are inherently exceptionally social beings, especially when they are willing to stand up to commonplace scams presented by old gatekeepers.

I recently started working with one of the larger internet companies. The return I will give them for the price I am charging will be immense, but at their gain someone else will lose. Luckily I think their business kicks ass, so I have no problem supporting them. It is really hard balancing content quality, features, and profitability.

Published: April 13, 2006

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