Can you buy a blog community?

What is the value of the O’Flaherty community? If the prices was right could I sell it?

Those two question have been on my mind since Chris Brogan asked "is your community for sale?" in his reactionary post to Andrew Baron putting his Twitter account up for sale.

What value would a purchaser take with them if they purchased the O’Flaherty outright, including my live show locations and  social network accounts.

What would somebody purchasing my name outright (or yours) be getting?

Obviously they’d be purchasing access to my audience. They would be forking out cash for my direct access to my RSS subscribers, the folks who visit my blog, follow updates on Facebook, watch O’Flaherty Live, everyone who subscribes via email.

In short they’d be paying for access to you!

Yet I think that such an investment would ultimately be a wasted investment regardless of which blogger you managed to purchase.

Blogger’s tend to have a unique community which is not the same as they community for a larger social site.

On a larger site such as say a popular forum you could actually purchase the community  because you wouldn’t be removing or replacing any aspect of the experience of the site. It’s the users interaction with each other around a topic that makes the community the community.

With blogs, once you’ve purchased a blog and remove the original author (or authors) you’ve taken away the key thing that made that site valuable in the first place.

On blogs it’s not as much about the users interaction with each other (although this is till very important) but more about their interaction with the author.

Blog readers become loyal to a blog because they typically become engaged by content. They feel an affinity towards the authors style of writing and personality.

This is something which can only very rarely be replicated. If you have a successful blog with a high reader count, the chances are that replacing the original author could result in a max exodus of readers.

Change the author and you change the readership.

Like print authors who are successful regardless of what publisher they use, good bloggers will take their audience with them to whatever new domain they decide to blog at leaving the original domain with little value except for the page rank and incoming traffic which may eventually die off as people stop linking to the site and the value of existing links diminishes.

Ultimately you end up paying for a very short lived period where you have the brief attention span of the original authors audience with diminishing return over time.

But what about a Twitter account, as in Andrew Barons case?

I would here that all you would be purchasing is the ability to spam the community for a brief period of time.

If other Twitter users are anything like me then they quickly stop following accounts that become spammy and I’m sure that the clicking of the "un-follow" button will be vastly accelerated once followers realize they are no longer following who they thought they were.

At the end of the day can your really buy a blog community? I don’t think so.

4 thoughts on “Can you buy a blog community?”

  1. Paul, the problem as I see it, is in the definition of the words “community”, “forum”, “blog”, etc. Now, let us take this site for instance. What would you call it? It certainly is not a social net working site, nor is it a forum. While it certainly is a blog, over some time, you have built up some regular visitors who comment, give opinions etc and so could be called a community built around a blog created by an individual. If you were to sell it, people like me, would no longer be interested in continuing the relationship. What would the new owner do with the site then?

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  2. If you are able to maintain the contain the tonality and content of a blog I believe that it is possible to actually transfer ownership of a blog community. You must be fully educated in the blogs content, objectives and style to maintain it though. Then again, these are not quantitative things that are easily transferred. There is no single formula that makes a blog work. You might be able to buy a blog community, but to make it as effective as it was is the question.

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  3. @Dining Exactly my point mate. The community will follow move away so in the end you just buy a name.

    @Wonderabby While I suppose that could be achieved, you may be better off building your own audience for the amount of effort that would be required to pull it off.

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