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Stowe Boyd is a well-known media subversive, and an internationally recognized authority on real-time, collaborative and social technologies. His new blog is Message.
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August 09, 2005

MSN Filter - where do you stand?

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Posted by Arieanna Foley

Where do you stand on the MSN Filter debate? Pro or con? Here are some thoughts on what people think of MSN Filter.

For those who don't know, MSN Filter is a new network of blogs MSN has released to be the "inside scoop" of various topics - basically filtering "the best" of what other people have blogged about and, by the sheer size of MSN, giving those original bloggers their "15 minutes of Internet fame."

Pro:

Jason Calacanis - "Now, I’m thrilled MSN is in the game because at some point soon I’m sure they will make these Filter sites and/or Start.com the default homepage for tens of millions of MSN/IE users. Tens of millions of folks will reach our blogs via Microsoft’s RSS reader and meta-blogs. The alternative—which we are living with right now—is our blogs are no where to be found on the MSN, Yahoo, Google or AOL home pages. Having these big players move blogs to the top level will be huge for blogging."

Mike Sigers thinks that the speed and volume of the filter process will force some into writing original content, rather than being filters themselves - [note, I see this as perhaps being good for blogging]. "One more reason you need to set yourself up as the expert in your niche, with original, thought provoking, expert, educational comments."

Adam Sheppard (MSN) - The model is essentially Nanopublishing as originally championed by Nick Denton at Gawker Media and Weblogs Inc. Both great blog networks with their own audiences that they'll continue to be successful with... The people at MSN care about making a difference... With MSN Filter I hope to increase awareness of Blogs and give users a voice and forum to submit interesting content to our hired bloggers. This is something we want to learn from and evolve over time."

Steve Rubel - "It’s good content, it’s short, it has a lot of links and it is updated often. It is also very news driven and that’s a good idea to keep it current and interesting."

Con:

John Walkenbach - "So you read an article, and you want to make a comment. You see this: You must sign in using a Microsoft .NET Passport to publish a comment to this website. Get a clue, Microsoft."

Paul Scrivens (9Rules) talks about the lack of community in these new blogs. "It’s simply more of the same and how can the same be any exciting? ... I’m not saying that this isn’t a good business model, but I don’t think it’s a good social model. [bolding mine]

Darren Rowse - "My initial reaction to MSN Filter is that i’s pretty bland and boring - without too much personality. I think not naming the bloggers is a bad move... I guess MSN are wanting to concentrate more upon the content than the profile of their bloggers - the name ‘Filters’ I guess gives some indication of this."

Richard MacManus thinks that this move by MSN to invite in nameless bloggers to filter unoriginal content will spur on Yahoo or AOL to perhaps do it right and "inviting truly independent content creators into their fold."

----

I am probably more on this Con side of the fold. Although competitive pressure is a great plus coming from the big guns, past movements will show us that the big guys need to get it wrong for a bit before they figure it out. I think this is happening now. MSN has decided to "embrace blogging" for one reason or another, but instead hired a whole bunch of junior writers or editors to capture and spit out a high volume of information rather than taking the time to build meaningful relationships with bloggers, to hire good writers and community people to share knowledge and truly add value to the content.

There is nothing wrong with being a filter, so long as what is being aggregated and digested comes out with more value than when it goes in.

I am also equally concerned about the lack of open blogging guidelines. How do they filter? What is the selection process? How much Microsoft stuff will get slipped in? Why are they filtering comments? Why do you need a .NET password to post a comment? What's to the rumors of charging bloggers to submit content?

Funny aside - I did early on consider applying for the blogger jobs at Microsoft, but decided against it in the end. I had an inkling that 10 posts a day were not "quality posts" and that I would not enjoy it. Looking at what's been produced and the complete lack of profile being given the bloggers, I am quite glad I passed up the "opportunity."

What are your opinions of MSN Filter?

Comments (1) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Technology


COMMENTS

1. Mike Sigers on August 14, 2005 09:11 PM writes...

Arieanna,

Thanks for the quote/link.

I'm hoping that MSN Filter will drive traffic/readers our way. I'm not afraid of them, in fact, I hope they cut down on the number of filtering bloggers out there.

I read blogs that have original, thought provoking, educational content. I'm not in need of anyone to tell me where a good post was done.

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