I had joined 9 Rules two or three months ago — actually I “applied” and was “accepted.” I was happy to be part of it. They have a lot of good sites with a lot of good content and I was proud to be one of them. They had a tech community metablog which drove about 5,000 hits a month. Not a huge part of our traffic, but like I said yesterday, I very much shoot for one new reader at a time.
But I guess blog networks are going to start being an exclusive thing. FM is coming out with a metablog, 9 Rules was going to start selling ad deals, and the two groups were going to end up being very similar.
So, sadly, Paul Scrivens, the guy running 9 Rules, informed me and Om Malik this morning that we had to go. He was very up-front about the whole thing — he contacted us last week and asked us for our opinions and how we thought he should handle it. He had previously removed some sites that belonged to a different network, and he was being accused of favoritism since he let the two FM sites stay.
But by the time Paul got in touch with us, I had the feeling like the decision was already made and he was just trying to break the news to us gently. We exchanged a few emails, and I left it at this:
This is a somewhat clarifying moment for 9 Rules, really. There’s a decision that needs to be made here that will go a along way to defining where 9 Rules sits in relation to other networks and the blogosphere in general.
My feeling is that by approaching Om and I, you were trying to avoid having to make this decision. If he and I just politely walked away, then this decision would have been deferred and everyone would have breathed a sigh of relief.
So at the risk of sealing my own fate, I guess I’m going to do you a favor and force you to make this decision. I think everyone will be healthier for it in the end.
And this morning, the email came. It’s too bad — I liked being a part of 9 Rules. But this is probably the future of blog networks. We’re going to descend into tribes, with each one jockeying for position. You belong to one or the other.
Comments are open, but please don’t use this as a forum to badmouth anyone or any group. Thanks.