Calacanis: most bloggers suck

Update: see Jason Calacanis’ comment below. He was misquoted or quoted out of context, and does not believe that non-top-ranked bloggers suck. At least not automatically. (Check his comment!)

Quick question: are you in the Technorati Top 100? If not, I hate to break the news, but you suck. If it makes you feel any better, I suck too.


Well, according to Jason Calacanis’ recent keynote at Blog Business Summit, if you don’t rank high on Technorati, you suck. Simple.

”Blogging is the biggest meritocracy in the world. It’s not broken. You don’t rank? It’s because you suck. … How well you do is up to you.”

However, there is a simple way to not suck:

He said all you have to do is look at the top stories on TechMeme, say something intelligent about the story, link to the other five top bloggers talking about it, and do that for 30 days straight, then you’ll be an A-list blogger.

Do most bloggers suck?
Obviously, most bloggers are not in the Technorati 100. Some us can’t even get Technorati to index our blogs regularly (see the last updated “4 days ago” nonsense).

Do we suck?

No! Some of us talk about things that are not mainstream. Some of us just haven’t gotten the break that pushes us out of the millions and into the thousands. And most of us just don’t want to do something as silly as blogging reflexively about the top three stories on Techmeme, day after day after day.

That said, I have to be careful here. I haven’t heard the keynote myself, and am just going on what other bloggers are publishing about it.

One more caveat: it sounds like he’s saying the way to be popular is to …

  1. write well
  2. write often
  3. write on topics other people care about
  4. and comment intelligently on other people’s blogs

Fundamentally, I have no disagreement with that at all. That’s all true – as far as it goes. I don’t think doing that guarantees that you’ll hit the Technorati Top 100, but it’s all good advice and IS going to get you higher ranking, more traffic.

What I disagree with is saying that bloggers who don’t rate high suck.

. . .
. . .

Update 10:24 PM:
This post just hit the home page of Techmeme. Also available here.

[tags] calacanis, technorati, ranking, blog business summit, keynote, sucking, john koetsier [/tags]

19 CommentsLeave a comment

  • I don’t think Calacanis is in the position to be handing out criticism, especially when he’s trying to revive a dead horse (Netscape) AND failing. To put it simply, he’s a moron.

    It’s pretty ironic how Calacanis suggests bloggers leach off of other high ranking bloggers – maybe it’s ironic because of his own attempt to steal (read: BRIBE) contributors from Digg. No, I’m not a Digg fan, but I think Calacanis hit a low with that one (isn’t paying people to contribute called EMPLOYMENT these days?).

    I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt; maybe he hasn’t figured out that most people blog for enjoyment, as in “journal”. But then again, I wouldn’t expect a moron to figure that out too quickly, just like I wouldn’t expect a moron to figure out Netscape has been dead since the mid to late 90’s.

    Disclaimer; I’m only “calling names” because Calacanis feels that it’s obviously appropriate. Too bad Sparkplug 9 “sucks”, because I really wish Calacanis could see this message.

  • Hey Robert,

    Actually, Jason has linked here before, and I don’t want to start a flame war or anything. To be real honest, I have a lot of respect for him as someone who is willing to try stuff and see what works.

    I just don’t like saying 49 million bloggers suck.

  • It’s the old “cream floats to the top” theory. While his intentions are good, I do think it places too much faith in the ranking system, specifically that of Technorati. I’m certain there are many awesome blogs out there where the author just hasn’t gotten around to promoting it.

  • Comment deleted at Robert’s request.

    He was a little ticked at Calacanis, but, after settling down and also getting Calacanis’ side of the story (see Jason’s comments below) he changed his mind.

    I prefer not to delete posts or comments, but I think in these kinds of cases a mulligan is definitely called for. Congrats, Robert, for the courage and character you’ve demonstrated! We all make mistakes; it’s what we do after we figure out that we screwed up that separates the men from the boys (and the women from the girls).

  • Webomatica: yeah, it’s very American and free enterprise and capitalistic … market forces will take care of everything … the problem is that the world/blogosphere is not that pure, and not that simple.

  • So… let me see if I have got the recipe for success right…

    (a) Be a sheep and only write about the things other people have already written about.

    (b) Write about them whether or not you care about the topic.

    (c) Write incessantly, no matter what.

    (d) Go and talk about these same topics that you’re not really interested in at other people’s blogs.

    Well, that explains a thing or two…

  • I was talking about folks who complain that they can’t make it with their blogs because thy are being blocked out by the “a-list”—not that there is an A-list anyway.

    Most folks–including myself–are not blogging to make the A-list or get a ton of traffic. Most folks–including myself–are blogging to express themselves and talk to their friends.

    I was only talking about the folks who blame advertisers or the blogoshpere for their own inability to make their blogs into a big business.

  • Point taken Jason, you have been fully re-credited with respect AND I apologize for my harsh comments.

  • John,

    Can you remove my first comment as well? It’s really harsh, and I wasn’t thinking clearly when I posted it.

  • I guess I owe an apology, too. Though my comment didn’t criticise Jason directly, it did try to make him look foolish.

    Goes to show. Only comment on what you really know.

  • As I pointed out in the comments to my own post (which was linked above), I didn’t really read Jason’s comment as that malicious.

    Watching him speak in person was really cool, and I can see how people frequently end up misquoting him – he speaks quickly and he throws a lot of ideas at you and then moves on. Which is too bad, because he really is right 80% of the time (skip every 5th post).

  • Forget Technorati; it’s a distraction. My research shows that the vast majority of readers of blogs have never heard of Technorati, neither have most bloggers. Striving to be in their Top 100 is nonsense. It’s like trying to get your book included in an exclusive library, when you should be concentrating on the people who will buy it. For instance, if you are a paper clip manufacturer and there is a blog on paper clip marketing, that’s going to be essential reading for you, but it ain’t gonna make Technorati’s Top 100 – probably will never even be indexed. What Internet users want is relevant, targeted content – not to know that some random list reckons what they are reading is important. Being in the Top 100 is great for your ego, but pretty useless for your business.

  • Well, being realistic, how many of the T100 blogs don’t suck? A lot of them don’t say anything, but are empty suits or are afraid of putting forth any opinion for fear of losing the audience.

    Eh, that’s the fun, though. The T100 is ignorable if you really understand blogs. 🙂

  • Graham: what you’re saying makes a lot of sense, if you’re focusing on readers.

    I guess the echo-chamber effect in the blogosphere, and the ratings frenzy, is all a result of focusing on other writers.