When a Launch Goes Badly....

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I was talking to Duncan Riley earlier this morning, we talked a bit about B5Media, his co-owned blog network that launched the other week and gave us all a lot of enjoyment ripping apart the business model. Apparently they've been inundated with applications from folks wanting to blog with them. The phrase "everyone and his dog has a blognetwork" came up more than once.

We moved on to the latest entrant into the growing trend for blog networks, instablogs.com from our friend Nandini. Her launch, with 50 blogs did nto go well.

According to Duncan, there were a whole bunch of empty blogs being linked from the main site, and the whole thing was a day late. Not a great start.

So, what do you do when faced with that kind of handicapp out of the gate? blog about it of course and link to those that are giving you a hard time - gone are the days when anyone can just shush something up and pretend it didnt happen, and I agree with the approach, get it out there, get it over with, move on.

If we put the unfortunate gaffs of launch to one side, you'll see on the right of the mother site a whole bunch of blogs - in a range of categories (the empty ones appear to have now been removed).

Some of those titles leave me asking the question: Where is the business plan here? I do like the uniform, clean feeling UI though, and have added a couple to the RSS.

Tell us what you think....

Comments

You know

I am not convinced that the launch is always the big deal it is made out to be. Think of a lot of dotcoms, they launched with big fanfare, superbowl ads, favourable reviews, industry plaudits ... where are they now? It's not the initial hype, it is living up to it that is hard. Start with everyone dismissing you and you might just suprise everyone. For UK readers I think this is similar, Jade Goody didn't win big brother and while she was in the reality show was vilified. Now she is one of the UKs highest ever earning celebrities from reality tv. And they also say no publicity is bad, after all we are talking about them ..

empty blogs eh, guess no one

empty blogs eh, guess no one has trolled through the list of sites on a noteable high profile blog network sale this week, I saw a few 'placeholder' blogs and a few other dead ones.

I like the look and feel of the sites there. The branding of a network is tricky. If you make the magazine comparisson Conde Nast publishes different magazines but does Jane Consumer know or care she is buying a Conde Nast publication? Of course if you do regular 'Best of Network' posts every so often, you will get some crossover.

I see you guys are using wordpress, are you using multiple installs or do you have some admin console that supports multiple domains.

Thanks for appreciation

Yeah we faced an intial problem with our dedicated server, we weren`t able to migrate the data properly. But we are alive now after the intial delay.

We have launched with 46 blogs, since we want to launch others, which we are regarding as our Heavyweight Champs in coming few day, after the dust settle down.

But still after the intial outburst, people are coming and exploring us. The reaction we got from the whole blogging industry is really inspirational. We don`t have Pro Bloggers like B5media has, neither we do have piles of cash like WIN or Gawker had. We are just a small company, and I think we have done pretty well in getting eyeful of INITIAL attention. Now we have to build ourselves from here.

The good thing is people are loving, hating us. The valuable suggestions we are getting from the blogosphere will be the success ladder for the Instablogs. We have also tried to build our own script, rather than using free script. This will further help us in uniting all our blogs to a greater extend. Script, Design, features right now are pretty much in Beta Stage.

But apart from the criticism, people have appreciated our cartoons, and unconventional topics. I am getting tons of mails of bloggers who are interested in joining us. Now we are seriously considering to build an online team of Instablogs too. I welcome more suggestions and opinions, which will further help us.

Thank you Guys
Nandini

I wouldn't worry about the

I wouldn't worry about the launch too much either, in a couple of weeks it will all be in the past. I think Nandini and Commpany blogging about the critics is refreshing. I like the nice clean look, just added one blog to Bloglines and I intend to check out a few more.

> am not convinced that the

> am not convinced that the launch is always the big deal it is made out to be.

I'm with Chris, and I go a step further. I tend to discount the liklihood of value in the website and its long-term prospects using a roughly inverse ratio to the amount of press releases and Web2.0-type ballyhoo I see. Yes, these methods DO work in a world where the masses still have one foot remaining in old media, but they are also a very frequently a sign of "not getting it."

Suggestions

I welcome more suggestions and opinions, which will further help us.

Personally, I'd suggest providing support to your paid webdev clients instead of fucking about with a blog network.

Concern about lack of attribution

Nandini, I am concerned about the lack of attribution on your blogs. For example, this post on aerofreaks by 'Flying Squad' appears to be a copy of this article.
:-(

That's a direct copy.

That's a direct copy.

Uncool.

start small and then you miss most of those problems

I always said to start with one good channel and then you can add some.

I have outsourced work to various friends who ended up hiring people for content creation, and plagiarism is a huge problem. Far more common than one would think.

That is part of the reason to start slow and small...so you can learn from what feedback you get, and so that you can build trust with your writers and audience.

If I were her I would probably scale back the project to a few channels...get them going good...and then extend out. She is selling herself short overseeing that many channels at once, especially with limited history on the blog creation front.

Some people will probably continue to ride Nandini pretty hard over that post, but it is common all over the web...she just needs to scale down...build a system...and then build back up, that or hire more people to watch over the writers, but the whole blog channel thing is a game of margins...best if you can develop a trusting relationship directly with each author.

Thanks for pointing that out.

One of our bloggers has made things much harder for us now. That post was a balant copy of the original article. It was a fault of whole editoral and administartive team as well.

http://www.instablogs.com/entry/the-instablog-story-an-apology/

I agree with Aarron that we should have started with low amount of blogs, anyways I am taking off that blogs from the roll now. The last week has made us grow more stonger and yet more detemined to stand all odds, but sometimes things become real difficult when people you put trust on, betrays you.

But still I am taking this issue as my personal mistake and blunder, and hope people forgive us.

my two cents:

my two cents:
Launches in general are better ignored. I prefer soft launches over hyped ones anytime. As the recent thread on that Google news reader shows, some things will always be wrong at launch.

But is it right? Of course not. People should make sure their stuff works at launch, even if it's a soft launch. You wouldn't buy a television set or a car if it didn't work, so why can a website or a piece of software get away with it? They shouldn't unless clearly labelled "test" or "beta" - and especially not if they require membership, registration or other forms of payment.

However, with (free) software and web sites some of us (definitely not all) have grown accustomed to minor flaws and bugs being present in early releases (note the "minor" here). Knowing that somebody is working on it makes this bearable, and the problems do tend to get fixed eventually.

So, in the grand scheme of things, a launch isn't really all that important. Around two weeks to a month later the users will know their way around, and a year later even Google will feature the site ;-)

--
I should add that for the crew behind the launch, the launch is a good moment to say thanks for the effort, give each other a few "high fives" and have a toast. Followed by "we made it" and "never again" statements of course ;-)

It was not an easy launch

It was not an easy launch for nandini, but overall they have gotten a lot of attention that I can not see they otherwise would have gotten.

I am quite sure that they will get this off the ground, but that they will still need some time to develop the editorial staff.

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