When Is A Blog No Longer A Blog?

In my Why I Allow Comments On My Blog post, I said that a blog that doesn’t allow comments is no longer a blog. Markus Frind of Plenty of Fish fame is asking if some of those blogs listed by Business Week should even be call blogs. In his recent blog post, Markus contends:

The article talks about “bloggers” making millions online. Funny part is few of these people actually qualify as “bloggers”. Shoemoney somehow made the list, even though only 3% of his income comes from his blog. Others mentioned like Techcrunch, boingboing, talkingpointsmemo, perezhilton etc aren’t blogs, they are media properties with lots of employees.

What Markus seems to be getting at is you’re only a blog if you’re a one-man operation and do everything yourself. In other words, you stay small. If your blog become super popular to the point where you need to hire a CEO to help run it (as TechCrunch did), you are no longer a blog. Instead, you are a media company.

While I agree that the TechCrunch network is a media company, I believe that TechCrunch itself is still a blog. TTZ Media Inc. owns John Chow dot Com. TTZ Media is a media company but John Chow dot Com is still a blog. How many people a blog employs shouldn’t be a factor on whether it’s a blog or not.

Flipping this around, I can ask Markus the question, is a dating site with one employee really a dating site? 🙂

What do you think? When is a blog no longer a blog?

87 thoughts on “When Is A Blog No Longer A Blog?”

  1. Gary Lee says:

    a blog is no longer a blog when it becomes stale and never updates . . . . that’s basically it

    1. Mybloggo says:

      Yup I support what you say…..

      1. Mubin says:

        Or when it makes so much money people are actually jealous of the blogger instead of being happy that they dont spend all their time online ❗

        1. i kinda understand where marcus is from
          i also agree with john

          so i suppose it’s a perception thing

      2. I have a lot of ideas about my blog. Contents, design, display etc… Original.
        Tell me if it is still a blog:
        Comments are enabled, but…
        Greetings from France John.

    2. Eric says:

      That’s right,

      As long as there’s content posted that anybody else wants to read, that’s a blog to me.

      If a blog after time isn’t updated, that’s a regular site 😀

    3. Alex Ion says:

      And I can add that when you take comments off it’s no longer a blogger. A blogger interacts with his readers. That’s the way it should be.

      1. Cash Quests says:

        I don’t agree.

        “A blog is a “web log” and is a journal of thoughts and ideas that are (usually but not always) ordered chronologically.”

        All these additions of interaction, comments and community are self-imposed and based on how you feel your site would change if they were taken away. If comments were removed, you may feel that it wouldn’t be the same blog (and it wouldn’t be) but based purely on definition it is still a blog.

        When is a blog not a blog? When it is no longer a journal of thoughts and ideas. As simple as that.

        It doesn’t matter how many people are running it and it doesn’t matter who owns it, if it is a journal of thoughts and ideas – it’s a blog.

        Markus’ comment is laughable. There are many bloggers out there where there blog is only 0.000001% of their income – does that mean they’re not bloggers? Of course they still are. If a company owns a car does it no longer become a car but a “commercial property” because it is owned by a company? I can’t imagine anyone saying “let’s go for a drive in the commercial property!”. It’s still a car.

        You can find more of my opinions on this topic at The One Phrase That Will Kill Your Blog

        1. cruzertech says:

          Yeah, I like this comment. After all, why don’t we categorised the blog like we did for company…

        2. TheWeeJenny says:

          Man, you said what I’ve been thinking every time I read “a blog isn’t a blog without comments” (and that goes for the post that you linked in your above comment too). Commenting on blogs is relatively new, outside of sites like Livejournal anyway. Several years ago (roughly 2001) when I started with a simple blogger account there was no commenting unless you added a third party service (and what a pain that was!) It was only a couple of years ago that blogger added native comment support support at all, and I think it was also not until they were acquired by Google.

          Indeed, as you have said, all that is required is that it be a site with frequently updated content presented in a reverse chronological order, usually (but not always) in a diary/journal like style. Everything else is just an extra feature. 😉

        3. Gary Lee says:

          whoa . . sensitive subject for Kumiko 😯

    4. Lewis Empire says:

      This comment is so true, although I would agree that a blog that has a few employees is really a news site.

    5. Garry Conn says:

      The term blog is actually short for a term used in the 90’s called, web log. A web log can be anything you want. It can be an online journal, such as being in the format of an Internet diary. A web log can document progress on a particular goal. All in all, a web log or blog can be anything you want it to be. Accepting comments, displaying sidebars with the most recent posts, archives, etc… happens to be the current trend of how blogs are formatted today. But all in all, it doesn’t matter.

      What is WordPress? I use WordPress for blogging as well as for creating professionally designed web sites? What’s the true difference? I don’t see one. A blog is now the modern coined word for web site or web page. If John Chow didn’t apply a label and call this place a “blog”, I could easily debate this place as being a web site.

      What is the difference between a blog and a web site? None. It is all about perception or what you want your readers to believe.

      Is a modern day blog, such as this site anything like what a web log was like in the early to mid 90’s? Not really…

      Frequently or infrequently updated, frequently or infrequently visited, makes no determination in a site’s classification or label. Traffic isn’t a considering factor in the label. The only true label is that of what the readers as well as the site owner applies to it.

    6. lionstarr says:

      Yeah, I agree!

    7. shman says:

      This is to all websites “normal” and blogs… with this difference that blog is dead when not updated.

  2. Mybloggo says:

    John Chow How can i put the TTZ Media in my blog?Any Requirement?Like Blog Traffic Per Month and others

    1. oh, i see,

      i think anyone can join ttz media. just like joining google adsense.

      am i wrong?

      1. Mybloggo says:

        I think better wait 4 johnchow reply…….

  3. Sagar says:

    excellent review john….very well presented 🙂 cheers man

  4. shoemoney.com is definitely a blog

    i don’t think blog should be defined by how much money the blogger earns

    1. shaun says:

      I agree shoemoney is definatly a blog…it’s a one man operation and just because he makes more money from his other sites doesn’t stop the fact that shoemoney is a very succesful blog.

    2. Freebies says:

      Yeah, I agree, you’d be hard pressed to NOT call Shoemoney a blog. However, if he actually only makes 3% of his income from it, then I don’t think it should have been included in the Business Weekly article.

      1. Lewis Empire says:

        Exactly, unless his income from the blogging section alone would put him in the list.

  5. Rhys says:

    I believe a blog can still be a blog if it hasn’t got comments. However, it can only be so if it’s a time dependant set of events (such as a personal or news blog), if it’s time independant (like a selection of tutorials), then it isn’t a blog.

    1. Lewis Empire says:

      Then it’s just a website like any other…

    2. Mybloggo says:

      Yup just like my friend ,she always update his blog but hasn’t got any comments…….

  6. John Chow is jealous, John Chow is jealous, John Chow is jealous, John Chow is jealous, John Chow is jealous, John Chow is jealous, John Chow is jealous, John Chow is jealous. 😆

    1. what’s your point?

      1. Lewis Empire says:

        I think his point is John Chow is jealous!

        1. Mybloggo says:

          No he point is “Himself jealous Johnchow” \ 🙄

  7. Kirg says:

    Marcus’ opinion is exactly like music fans who stop finding a band cool/good once they become successful because they supposedly “sold out”.

    1. Joshua says:

      I don’t think so. I think he was merely pointing out that a large company having success vs. one-man or small operations having it are two different stories.

      The whole ‘hook’ for the Business Week article is that it’s so amazing people can make so much from these obscure things called ‘blogs’.

      But the reality is that some of the ‘blogs’ or people they featured, weren’t exactly ‘just’ blogs, nor did all make their money from blogging only.

      Shoemoney.com IS a blog, but Shoemoney himself makes most of his money elsewhere.

      Though I do think TechCrunch is still a blog, though maybe a corporately infected one… 😈

      Typical example of the media telling whatever they need to sell.

  8. A blog is a web platform for communication, not a type of individual. Sounds to me like Markus doesn’t know what he is talking about or is the jealous one. So if you start a blog making $0 and eventually make tons of cash with it and hire writers etc, then that same blog is no longer a blog, and you aren’t a blogger? Doesn’t make sense. A blogger is someone who writes on a blog.

  9. James Wilcox says:

    I think the fundamental thing that makes a blog a blog is that posts are regular and the format is informal. Blogging in and of itself is akin to writing in a journal.

    1. Lewis Empire says:

      I agree here. It’s the informal posts that make a blog great. If it’s a series of items that are designed as an education tool rather than a daily update then it’s not a blog.

  10. Rob says:

    i agree with Markus and i don’t know what a blog have to do with a dating site 😯

    1. Ryse says:

      Markus owns one of the most successful dating sites online.

  11. Douglas Karr says:

    The convergence of content management systems and blogging has begun… I think we’ll be having this discussion a lot more until it disappears altogether.

  12. Jason says:

    It is too difficult and nearly impossible to classify anymore. I think you just have to look at it on a case by case basis.

  13. B. Durant says:

    A blog is no longer a blog when it loses that community feel. Technically it might still function as a blog, but when it become nothing more than a fancy information portal for a larger site it is not a blog.

    That being said a “blog” can be run by one person and not be a blog, or it can be run by 100 and be a blog. It’s all about the presentation more than about the budget spent on presenting things.

  14. A blog is a web site which has posts in chronological order and usually allows readers to interact with it by writing comments. There can be one user posting and maintaining posts or multiple users from a large corporation.

    It has nothing to do with the number of posts or their frequency, the number of users, or even its theme or lack of one.

    A blog is any web log software. That’s all.

    1. B. Durant says:

      So in that case a bulletin board such as phpBB or Vbulletin would be blogs? They all allow posting in chronological order, reader interaction by way of comments, and multiple users can use/maintain them. If that’s all that makes a blog, the technicality of the function then I submit to you that each and every forum online is actually a blog even if not run by the administrators as such.

      No, what makes a blog a blog isn’t the software. If it were as simple as that no one would have reinvented the wheel from the aforementioned model or even from the old BBS that we used to know and love.

      1. Dan says:

        I would argue that a blog has a single person (or a select few individuals) that write posts. Readers can then comment on those posts, but readers cannot write new posts and start new threads.

        A website where a single person (or small group, as above) posts messages, in a chronological order, but does not allow comments by readers is an online journal.

        A website where a single person (or small group, as above) posts messages, in a chronological order, and allows readers to comment on them is a blog.

        A website where users can post their own messages or comment on others’ messages is a web forum.

        1. B. Durant says:

          True except in a forum the moderator can turn off the ability of anyone but the moderation team to start new topics. At that point is it a blog, technically?

      2. A blog is a variant of a forum. Would you say that a database is a spreadsheet because a spreadsheet is derived from a database? Is a car still a car if its hardly ever used or not used properly?

        The software is what determines what an application is. The use of the application leads to a further description of what its used for. What we’re perhaps trying to define is what application blogging software is being used for. Is it used as a starting point for discussions with community participation, or is it used as a soapbox with no audience participation.

        Let’s not start redefining words in the English language just to win an argument. The definition of a blog is simple. What its used for is another story.

        1. B. Durant says:

          “Let’s not start redefining words in the English language just to win an argument. The definition of a blog is simple. What its used for is another story.”

          That was kind of my point when I responded to you originally where you said (paraphrased here) “What makes a blog is the software. Period.” I’m getting at the fact that the software might give it the technical functions of a blog, but it’s more than the software which makes it a blog. I also pointed out that other pieces of software though not deemed “blog” have the same basic functionality.

          I’m still of the belief that the community makes a blog a blog and not the software. It might be “blogging software” in design and function, but it goes beyond that to be a blog. Lot’s of dead blogs out there that use blogging software and I doubt anyone would call them blogs except for that software they use.

          Anyhow I think we’re arguing technical vs practical aspects which serves no purpose for anyone, including ourselves.

    2. I partly agree with you, a typical blog is a site that contains a web log, which can be created with several types of software.

      But it appears that the term “blog” is being refined by how it is used today in our Web 2.0 world.

      It also seems that it is partly up to the reader and author of the log/blog/site to define what it exactly is.

  15. Robert says:

    The company that I recently worked for was the same way. They wanted blogs, but no comments. Being that they are a newspaper/media company that means they just have a bunch of columns and editorials.

    Their view was that they would moderate the comments and once a week or so allow the ‘best’ ones, much like letters to the editor.

    They were also afraid of liabilities by people’s comments, but it turns out there is a federal law (in the U.S.) that prevents those who publish such content from being liable.

    It takes a while for old school media to get it I suppose.

  16. Amanda says:

    Correct but like me for my community I still consider myself a blogger since my writers are unpaid and do it whenever they have time to offer their expertise on subjects.. sort of like guest blogging. and i make a fairly decent income on it. Not enough to live on it only where I live now but when I move heck yeah.

  17. AgentSully says:

    how do you add the text that shows up in the feed reader:
    “Attention: Unless you are reading this from a RSS reader, you are reading a scraped feed. This site has violated copyright laws by stealing the content of John Chow dot Com. Please let us know where you read this so we can take legal action against the scraper.”

    thank you.

  18. Edwin says:

    You can be a part time blogger even if you took 5 minutes to preload wordpress with 30 plr articles and hit the submit button to make it load articles ..ehmm posts each and every day…During that small timespan you updated your blog and you were a blogger at that moment.

    And even a blog that wasn’t updated for a while is still…a blog. Maybe in need of a bit attention but it doesn’t change it’s appearence.

    To me a definition of a blog…if it looks, smells and feels like a blog it must be a blog

  19. HMTKSteve says:

    Once you start hiring CEOs you stop being a blog and become a media company.

    1. blogcrowds says:

      The Crunch Network needed a CEO not necessarily TechCrunch itself. TechCrunch is a blog inside the media company Crunch Network.

  20. Bloggers tend to blog about everything and not solely on their niche topics. But when the blogs stop posting new post and stop the comment function, it will eventually dies.

  21. I think a blog is no longer a blog when the blogger gets out of touch. For example even though John is ranked 2477 on alexa and top 100 on technorati … he is still involved in conversations and comments on his blog. When you lose that touch with your visitors, your not a blog anymore.


  22. Justin says:

    Hi I do agree 100 % comments is blogging.
    Have a good day.

  23. sauerkraut says:

    I agree with Alex Ion. And, to add, dating sites are not blogs. Nor are sites whose only purpose is to sell merchandise or services. I’m not saying that a blog should only be a diary, but to have no opinions or interactions with anyone is contrary to the entire concept of what is a “web log.” Fact is, with so many “blogs” out there, we, the readers, can find plenty that truly are blogs. And those are the ones I read. If I want to visit a commercial site, I’ll go to amazon or homedepot or sears.

    Well, okay. So I don’t really go to sears.

  24. chtanxw says:

    I think a blog (or a website) is not longer a blog (or a website) when it is dead. No more contents are updated.

    We should have an open mind to accept every new things come along…No such laws to say a blog must have how many people to be employed, how much money it must make…etc.

    Who knows what is the next hot item after “Blog”?:grin:

  25. Eric says:

    Is a blog still a blog if users can’t post comments? If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

    Yes to both.

    1. chtanxw says:

      A blog with no comment can be considered as a private blog. Private in its uniqueness! Nobody care about it…so what?
      It is the owner’s journal…or anything else.

  26. Dev says:

    I think it makes sense to say that a blog is no longer a blog as and when the author(s) do not have any personal connection with their readers.

    Btw John – Are you a fan of the Harry Potter books? I just covered a post on 5 Secrets that Harry Potter Can Teach Us About Blogging over at http://www.dailymoolah.com/2007/07/21/5-secrets-harry-potter-can-teach-us-about-blogging/

    Check it out if you can and let me know what you think 🙂

    Cheers – Dev

  27. Laura says:

    I think a blog is formed by entries that are chronological in date and time and includes interaction with the readers. Otherwise it’s a website.

    Everyone has seen websites that have an accompanying blog. What’s the difference between the two? The website might have daily updates but they are informational and no discussion is required. Often websites will have a contact page to encourage people to contact them through private means such as a form or email.
    The blog can also be informational but it invites public input from the readers.

    A blog that makes a lot of money or no money is still a blog. If there is one person or 100 people adding content to the blog, it is still a blog.

    That’s my .02 and I’m sticking to it! 😉

  28. Mybloggo says:

    1)a blog is no longer a blog when it becomes stale
    and never updates
    2)A blog formed by entries that are chronological in date and time and includes interaction with the readers.
    3)a blog is no longer a blog as and when the author(s) do not have any personal connection with their readers.
    4)a blog is not longer a blog when it is dead. No more contents are updated.
    5)blog shouldn’t be defined by how much money the blogger earns

  29. betshopboy says:

    I remember someone recently just wrote in their post that a blog is no longer a blog when the commenting is turned off. I think many people could accept that as a “no longer a blog” turning point.

  30. Philip says:

    a blog is not a blog when its owner gives up on it. Even if there is a add comment in the blog nobody would click on it because nobody accually visits the blog.

  31. Starboykb says:

    a blog is not a blog when the bloggers turn most of the post into news and which are not entirely fit his own categories. I guess… 😕

  32. I would say that a blog would have to be updated regularly to be a true blog, otherwise, it is just a static website..

  33. ciken says:

    i agree with you Michael Fultz..

    If blog never updated..that blog is dead!

  34. lionstarr says:

    There are blogs, with more than one author so a blog can have more than one author but hasn’t got to!

  35. Yes John, i totally agree with you. Frankly i was shocked that you’re NOT in the list, instead some unfamiliar faces.

  36. bob cobb says:

    Blogs have evolved so much in the past couple years its really hard to say what is and what isn’t one. I see good points from both sides though

    1. There’s idd a pretty thin line between what’s a blog and what’s not. Some people even call Slashdot a blog 😐

  37. moom says:

    If someone is writing a “blog” because someone is paying them a salary to do so and they wouldn’t do it otherwise it isn’t much of a blog. The personal aspect is key I think or it isn’t very bloglike. Some of the blogs which are driven primarily by trying to get ad dollars rather than express the thoughts of the author aren’t very bloglike either….

  38. I agree. Though I think having a company of people researching and writing a blog does sway away from the meaning of a blog it is still a blog. The personal connection is lost though this way. Not the type of blog I like to read.

  39. Mike says:

    A blog is a blog for as long as it’s active. It doesnt matter if its a one-man operation or if it’s multiple people and guest bloggers. Being a ‘media company’, does seem to meld well with being a blogger because you do have an audience, and in some ways you are almost like an MC, the Host with the Most, your blog is your microphone, the internet is your studio and audience. Audiences and media/marketing go together like peanut butter and jelly. If you hav eone, its almost required that you have the other.

    A similar question would be ‘when does The Tonight Show stop being a tv show and turn into a marketing vehicle?’. It stops being The Tonight Show when people stop watching and it goes off the air.

  40. Francesco says:

    A blog is a blog when you can feel the personal touch of the owner.

    If it becomes just a news holder to me is not a blog any longer.

    Your Italian friends

    Guadagnare on line con Nuovibusiness

  41. This article has brought up some good points. In my opinion, a blog is a blog as long as it is updated with fresh content…

  42. A blog is no longer a blog when the posts are not dated.

  43. I do agree that a blog is no longer a blog when the owner gives up on it..

  44. Nathan Roe says:

    I think it is a blog when it is personally written

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