The elephant in the kitchen

Dare Obasanjo, of Microsoft, just pulled the ad hominem card. In debate class in high school the teacher would instantly award the other side a win if you ever pulled that card. Why? Because it demonstrated you lost your cool and couldn’t win through sheer logic or through a rational demonstration the other side was wrong. And, at minimum it just draws attention to your debating tactics rather than what we were supposed to be debating about anyway.

Hey, maybe that’s why Dare pulled the card out here and slapped it on my kitchen table.

To keep us from looking at the elephant in the kitchen! Brilliantly played sir Dare!

But, since I’m childish, narrowminded, and egotistical or whatever else Dare tried sticking me with, let’s just get back to the elephant in the room, shall we? 

What does Microsoft do when it says “we have the most blogs?” Or, when it says really ANYTHING about its Internet services?

It takes them to advertisers and says “pony up, we know you paid MySpace ‘XXX’ and we have the most now, so we want ‘XXX+y’.” See, the little game we’re all playing in this Web 2.0 world is advertising.

The other little dirty secret of advertising? Not all readers are the same. Unfortunately if you’re an A List blogger it’s egotistical (and elitist) to point that out. Since Dare pulled out the ad hominem card already might as well slap this elephant in the ass and make it sing!

Quick. Is Jeff Jarvis worth more or less to an advertiser than this guy? Or this? Or this?

I’ll tell you what executives from big companies (like Kraft, Procter and Gamble, GM, and others) who were at MSN’s OWN ADVERTISING CONFERENCE told me. An influencer is worth THOUSANDS of times more than a non-influencer (influencer is someone who tells other people stuff, which is why blogging is getting so much advertising attention lately). That’s why Google is charging more per click than MSN is (Google has more influential users). That’s why Federated Media is closing advertising deals left and right.

And, why Microsoft’s shareholders are totally uninterested in the fact that Live Spaces has 70 million spaces (you’d think that with such rapid growth that shareholders would be cheering and would be preparing for an advertising profit windfall and that they wouldn’t have balked with Ballmer told them “I’m spending $2 billion of your cash.”

You’re right Dare. Maybe I’m childish. But I’m tired of being told that bloggers don’t matter. Which is what the Live employee told me yesterday. And it’s what you and Mike are saying today. Mike even repeated it just today on his blog. Read his post very carefully. He is saying that bloggers don’t matter. Why did he do that? Well, he’s trying to take the high road and trying to tell people that his service is hip and for them, not like that lamo “MySpace” thing, which is for kids and musicians with weird hair. Not like that “blogging” thing, which is for those elitist “A listers.” He’s positioning Spaces for normal, everyday people.

Which would be great if his marketing department didn’t run counter to his positioning by showing up at BlogHer (totally explains why Live Spaces’ presentation was totally derided by people who were there) and by his executives who try to position Live Spaces to advertisers as “blogs” so that they can get the high CPM ($$$ per thousands of viewers) that bloggers are getting right now.

This is why I’m being called childish, narrow minded, and petty right now. I dared to not let them have it both ways. Either they have most of their inventory done by “normal, everyday people” that’s empty, like every single blog on their service I found today, or they have a “hip, cool, influential” service, like WordPress, SixApart, Flickr, Technorati, and Blogger have.

You can’t have it both ways. Well, actually, Six Apart is getting it both ways. They have Moveable Type and TypePad and they have Vox, which is aimed at “normal, everyday people.”

Well, this childish, narrowminded, egotistical blogger is heading off to bed. It’ll be a fun day tomorrow when I get more ad hominem attacks hurled my way.