The other day (okay it was a few weeks ago, but I didn’t have enough content to actually write about it till now) I realized something that’s fairly unique to your gold community: We’re the most monetized sub community in the WoW blogosphere. I mean think about it, most of my fellow bloggers, including myself, at least have google adsense up, or paid gold guides, referral programs or something to squeeze some money out of the blog.
Now the likely cause of this is the nature of the business. People who blog about making gold in game are likely to be those who are most passionate about it (though not necessarily the best at it) and among all gold makers there’s a desire to make gold, so it only makes sense that in the most passionate of the lot would have this trait manifest itself in the real world in the form of the desire to monetize their blog.
Obviously I’m guilty of this as well which is obvious to those without ad blockers, I’ve got google adsense both on my site as well as in my feed as well as a book contract (though frankly if it wasn’t the fact that they approached me I would never have dreamed of writing a paid guide, and in the back of my head I’m still expecting them to pull the plug on the project). The google ads are an attempt to recoup some of the costs of my blog (I pay for the domain and web hosting) and hopefully the cost of my subscription. Honestly so far the attempt has been in vain, I haven’t even made enough to pay for my domain for a year, but it really doesn’t matter to me all that much since I’m blogging for the sake of blogging, not to make money off of it (as for the book I took the deal because a.) it was a fucking book offer, who turns those down? and b.) I’m a broke ass college student).
Another thing I’ve noticed? We’re fairly sequestered in our own little world, we have very little interaction with other WoW bloggers. Something about gold blogging seems to have an effect of keeping our interactions within the gold making community while most of the other WoW Bloggers out there enjoy the the benefits of cross pollination so to speak, they get lots of love from other bloggers not specifically in their niche; you have paladin bloggers talking about druid bloggers, druid bloggers talking about artsy bloggers (sorry, couldn’t think of a better term there), artsy bloggers talking about role play bloggers and more.
For a while now I’ve been hanging around on the out skirts of the Blog Azeroth community which for those who don’t know is an excellent community of WoW bloggers. What do I notice? A lack of gold bloggers. And it’s not like the greater WoW blogging community is ignoring us oh no, it’s us that seem to be eschewing them. Take my blog for a moment, notice anything? Yea, there’s not a single link on my site as of this writing that’s not related to gold making, not a single one. Why is that? I don’t really know to be honest, though I can take comfort in knowing I’m not the only gold blogger that does this.
It’s not like I don’t follow anyone outside the gold community though, far from it in fact. I follow lots of blogs outside the gold community, most of them in the WoW community, so why do they hardly ever get an link love from me? Again, I don’t know, but it seems to be the trend in the gold making community.
What’s the result? We’ve basically put up a giant wall around our community. Okay maybe not a wall, more like everyone’s been trained by an electric fence that is no longer there. There’s nothing actually restraining us from embracing the rest of the blogging community, but everyone’s been conditioned against it.
Earlier this spring when I started to withdraw from gold making I got removed from The Undermine Journal’s list of syndicated blogs. While I was peeved about it in the beginning, I can understand why; after all it is a resource dedicated to making gold so it does it’s users no good to have my random ramblings clogging up the front page. This however is no excuse for a blog, but it seems we maintain this mentality anyways.
I wish I could say that at least within our own gold making community everything was copasetic but it’s not; throughout out own little community there’s fissures – different sub communities, cliques, and rivalries. Even in my short tenure I’ve seen the raise and fall of empires so to speak, I’m sure we all remember the markco fiasco (though admittedly that was less of a fall and more like a free fall from orbit smashing into the earth and leaving a huge crater and dust cloud in it’s wake).
I think what causes this phenomena in the gold community especially comes from a few sources. Although this isn’t limited to the gold community we do have a tendency to elevate a few select people which then draw their own subsections of the community into a little sub-orbit, creating a sort of Hollywood elite amongst the community.
There’s a tendency to attribute magical skills and knowledge to people who’ve been elevated in some way – appearing on TV, or having an impressive title, or coming from a wealthy family.
(Persuasion by Arlene Dickinson, p.80)
(You guys have no idea how long that quote has been sitting in my notebook waiting to be used, pretty much since I won a free signed copy of it back in November.)
As these stars in gain more influence they start to flex their muscles, pulling strings in the community, almost like spiders on a web. I myself have seen this effect, I’ve been weaved out of some people’s webs for my recent discussion about bots (I assume, I didn’t exactly get any notification, my secretary probably just lost the memo or something) which while I think is silly is perfectly within their rights. A time comes though for many where something snaps or fails and they sort of have a fall from grace.
(Yes I’m going to switch analogies here, I’ve never been very good at these things, bear with me.)
Of course as someone gets more and more influential, impressive, or popular what have you, it just means that they’re fall from grace will become less of a bird falling out of a sky and more of a giant piece of space rock plummeting through the atmosphere leaving destruction in it’s wake.
Here’s another clear division: Forum users and blog users. It seems to me at least that bloggers and forum goers form two distinct groups. Most bloggers don’t really contribute to forums, though you can’t really blame them, if they had anything constructive I’m sure they’d much rather put it on their own blog, I mean that’s why we have the things right? Plus the blog format is much better for certain things like long winded posts, like this one! Some forum goers also accuse bloggers of just ripping off content from various other sources and rebranding it. I wish I could deny this, but it’s at least plausible. In our defense a lot of this information doesn’t really come from one particular source, and bloggers have a tendency to put their own spin on things.
What can we do about it? That’s easy, there’s a lot of things we can do, but in general we just have to work on being more inclusive.
I’ve been a part of (I unfortunately have to use that term loosely) the Blog Azeroth community for a while now, even partaking in last years Furtive Father Winter (which I fully intend on taking part in again this year) where I ended up writing a post for Disciplinary Action (who seems to have since pulled it down which I can’t really blame her for, it wasn’t my best work) and I got a wonderful post from Kamalia et. alia who wrote the Rejected Karazhan Opera Encounters: How to Succeed at Gold-Making Without Really Trying for me (if you haven’t read it yet, go read it now it’s worth it, go ahead, I’ll wait).
Two weeks ago I also signed up for the Blog Azeroth blogging circle, basically a comment exchange. There have only been two featured blogs since I signed on, but it’s got me reading more than usual and expanding my horizons, a nice breath of fresh air.
What else am I going to do? I’m going to redo my blogroll to include other blogs in the WoW community that I read anyways. I’m also going to expand my blogging horizons a bit and touch on other topics about World of Warcraft. I’m also going to work on participating in the greater WoW blogging community more, commenting on other blogs, engaging more people on twitter, giving more link love in my posts and what have you.
So here’s my call out and message to other bloggers who might or might not be reading this: First, I’d like to apologize for excluding you all from my shenanigans, and I shall endeavor to me be more inclusive in the future. Second, if you have a blog drop me a line (there’s a bajillion ways to contact me, I’m not picky) and I’ll add you to my blogroll and personal reader if I haven’t already (my blogroll is set to only show a set amount of recent posts so it doesn’t overwhelm people with old content).
As an olive branch I’m going to be turning off the no-follow attribute in my comments as an incentive to get the conversations going!
P.S. How is my comment system anyways? Easy enough to use? It’s hard for me to tell how bad or good it is myself.