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Collaborators no more in the conservative blogosphere

Collaborators no more in the conservative blogosphere

I previously have posted about doom and gloom for the small conservative blogosphere, first in response to a post by John Hawkins about how bloggers need to go big or go home, Is there a place for me?

Later as to what I was sensing leading up to and after the 2012 election, Whither small conservative blogs?:

When I first started blogging in 2008, there was a vibrant group of small independent conservative blogs, many if not most composed of newbies like me…. We survived emotionally on the kindness of bigger blogs which generously spread not just traffic, but more important, attention….

There is no way Legal Insurrection could have grown without the help of others.  I have done my best to pay back that kindness by spreading links to smaller conservative blogs.

I’ve noticed a change.

There has been a corporatization and consolidation of the conservative blogosphere, and the kindness to strangers seems to be waning.

Robert Stacy McCain has a post along similar lines, Where Were You in 2002? (via Instapundit):

This network/community concept seems to have been lost by (or, more likely, was never known to) newer arrivals in the ‘sphere. The idea that each of us is contributing to a common project is not just some kind of “Stone Soup” idealism, but is in fact the only way to build any genuinely meaningful alternative to that pathetic exercise in groupthink we call the Mainstream Media….

The problem is that if every blogger starts thinking of his own site as a destination, then the site’s value as a portal — directing readers to interesting material elsewhere — is necessarily diminished or eliminated. And if this destination mentality takes hold at all the larger sites, then there will be few opportunities for new bloggers to join the community, and fewer incentives for smaller bloggers to participate in the conversation, because nobody with any significant readership will ever link them. What will eventually happen, in such a scenario, is that the independent blogosphere will wither and die from neglect, and be replaced by a corporate simulacrum.

Which is already happening, to an extent. This was what John Hawkins was talking about two years ago as “The Slow, Painful Coming Death Of The Independent, Conservative Blogosphere” (with sequels here and here). Despite the fact that there have been notable successes in recent years e.g., William Jacobson’s Legal Insurrection has not only succeeded, but has produced a promising spinoff, College Insurrection — the fact is that the original idea of the blogosphere as an informal network of independent sites is being lost, not because independent bloggers are “taking the Boeing,” but because so many newer arrivals in the ‘sphere never even bothered with the concept of collaboration.

Thanks for the kind words, but I wish the reality weren’t so true that the days of collaboration and mutual support are waning.

It’s nearly impossible to get a link out of the new big names in conservative media.  It’s not even a conservative blogosphere anymore, it’s for-profit and non-profit corporate media which are protective of eyeballs.

Look at the list of shout outs in my post Thanks a Million! on September 29, 2009:

I survived on this blog through the kindness of strangers. I could not have kept up the good spirits, and survived Blogger Mood Disorder, without the encouragement of and repeated links from Professor Glenn Reynolds and Honorary Professor Michelle Malkin. These are two people who are sufficiently successful that they don’t need to help struggling bloggers, but they do anyway.

There were others who offered early words of encouragement at a time when it was needed, including Claudia Rosett, William Katz, Prof. Darren Hutchinson, and Ron Coleman. It didn’t hurt to have two Grandmas on my side, as well.

And along the way, I marveled at the generosity of the conservative blogosphere, including (but not limited to!!!), Ed Morrissey and Allahpundit at HotAir, Jim Hoft at Gateway Pundit, John Hawkins, Ace of Spades HQ, Robert Stacy McCain and Smitty at The Other McCain, Pam Geller, Doug Ross, Jules Crittendon, Dan Collins, Don Surber, Tim Blair from Down Under, Dan at GayPatriot, Patterico, Lance Burri, Moe Lane, Cythia at A Conservative Lesbian, Dan Riehl, Jeff at Protein Wisdom, Tom Maguire, JammieWearingFool, Sister Toldyah, The Anchoress, Pundette, Small Dead Animals, Jimmie Bise, all the Chicago bloggers who helped with my Blago coverage (Backyard Conservative, Marathon Pundit, Bill Baar, Illinois Review), Donald Douglas, Pat in Shreveport, Fausta Wertz, Little Miss Atilla, Bill Roggio at Long War Journal, and the folks at Real Clear Politics.

Not to fail to mention recent acquaintences such as Left Coast Rebel, NeoNeocon, Rosita, No Sheeples, Keith Burgess-Jackson, TigerHawk, Soccer Dad, Da Tech Guy, Another Black Conservative, Viking Pundit, The Stray Dog, Hugh Hewitt, and many, many others.

Most of them are still around, and blogging, but many are not.  (Soccer Dad is David Gerstman, btw.)  Everyone linked to everyone else, big and small alike.

And we were all better off for it.

Times have changed.  I’m not going to dwell on what has been lost.  We’ll keep up the spirit of collaboration here, and figure out a way to survive in the new reality.


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I’m not sure if this post is wishing for more exposure, or if it’s perception is NOT reality, but I came here from Breitbart myself. I find myself reading here more often now than the “Bigger” sites. Personally, I think there is more of a “Field of Dreams” quality to an excellent blog site. If you build it (correctly), they will come.

Well, here I am. 🙂


It is hard to be giving away valuable information because of the consequences if it remains unknown and run up to someone concerned that you may be telling an aspect of the story better.

Given the propaganda assault from the media and in education at the relatively few who want to know more, we really should be coordinating among ourselves. In a broken up jigsaw but organized plan for an increasingly predatory state, it is foolish not to build on each other’s areas of interest and expertise.

Thanks Professor.

Still a minnow but moving along.

I’ve listed your fine efforts here for many months now and recommend you to the more cerebral types.

I’m not nearly as refined as you are, and my blog is aimed primarily at the quagmire that is the corruption of our local politics here in Clark County, WA (Across the river from Portland, OR)

it may be just me, but there have been few new blogs of any variety locally, even though there’s roughly 2.5 million people in the Portland Metro area… so perhaps, this malaise isn’t just for conservative bloggers.

I started my effort in 2005; never aimed for a huge audience and what I’ve been doing is tweaking the nose of local power, regardless of claimed party affiliation, reminding them that corruption is frequently a bipartisan outcome of their power, getting the hell beat out of me by the local daily.

But I wouldn’t have it any other way. I just wish more people would join the chorus and speak their minds, a frequently exhilarating exercise.

    Torqued in reply to K.J. Hinton. | April 28, 2013 at 11:47 pm

    That rag the columbian is still around? Blech.
    We left clark county nearly 11 years ago. Don’t miss it one bit. You would think after living somewhere for 25 years you would miss it a little bit. Nope.

I don’t read any of the big commercial sites. Insty, Althouse, AceHQ, Hot Air, Gateway are my daily reads along with Legal Insurrection. Others are occasional but still none of the big ones. Now that you point it out the blogs I read are all generous in their links, praise of other bloggers and just plain kindness. Please keep doing what you are doing Professor.

I’m not part of your comment community, but I’ve linked LI since its inception – your early support of Palin drew me in, and I’ve hung/lurked around since. Keep up the good work, Prof.

I got here from Ann Althouse during the Wisconsin debacle. Your analysis kept me coming back. You’ve really expanded a lot, and more power to you. The volume of articles, though, makes the page go by very quickly, i.e., things don’t stay on the front page for very long, and no surfers go to page 2.

That’s OK, but I also like a blog that moves more slowly and keeps a discussion going longer. In those blogs, cross-linking is essential so that readers can get their fill, and the slower pace allows a reader to digest multiple sites. I hope that bloggers don’t all try to up the pace, because readers will downselect due to overlap and sheer volume.

I played second fiddle on a low-pace Catholic blog for a few years. That was great while it lasted. Maybe I’ll get back to that, but as an owner next time.

[…] PEOPLE REALLY linking to each other less? I think I’m linking to other bloggers about as much as always, but maybe I’m a dinosaur […]

Sarah Palin bowing out of contention short circuited my enthusiasm, to state it without breaking out in tears.

Obama can not longer be defeated… he is term limited.

Those two events really pulled the blogging motivation plug for me.

I didn’t blog for the sake of blogging… nor to create a name for myself, nor to capitalize monetarily. I did to play a part the best way I could to push back at an evil.

I had a deep seated purpose and a drive to blog.

I exchanged a lot of traffic with you professor and gratefulness does not sufficiently express how I feel about you.

I found a number of 1st tier blogs stopped displaying pingbacks to them, thus didn’t rate linky-love… the first to halt it was There is no longer even a place for displaying pingbacks.

First tier blogs displaying pingbacks from other blogs is critical to smaller blogs to get traffic.

I have made friends with some big league bloggers, you being one of them and that started before you were really on the radar. I wanted you to get the traffic and often cited your blog with links.

Once a blog like mine goes dormant, it is daunting to begin the climb back up the traffic mountain. It can be done but it’s a vertical slog to do it.

I turned to my twitter account which had laid virtually dormant since opening the account. It had but a miniscule number of followers but I wanted up close and person slug fests with liberals. I had a score to settle.

I eventually settled down and found a rhythm and a mythology and began building alliances and followers.

Today I tweet to provide others with political ammunition to use in the fight.

It’s all quite similar to blogging in so many ways…

I’m close to 11,000 vetted followers and have blocked upwards of 6,000 frivolous twitter accounts and spam accounts that tried to follow me.

It suits me. I like to design titles and that fits right in with tweeting.

Your titles… YOUR titles… absolutely tickles the *dickens* out of me and they are sooo… compelling.

I don’t know if I will resume blogging… I just don’t know.

I didn’t know I was going to stop till it happened.

    snopercod in reply to VotingFemale. | April 29, 2013 at 10:10 am

    I know of another female conservative blogger who “pulled the plug” like you did. She was conscientious and spent a lot of her time on that project but it didn’t return anything for her. I’m pretty sure she gave up because she thought America had passed the point of no return. The blog is still there, but dormant. She (and the other contributors) wrote some great stuff, but nobody cares.

    Here’s part of her opus:

    America is now infected with an apathy, self-indulgence and sloth that represent the core reason for our impending fall. Yes, there are courageous and vigilant pockets of citizens … ‘tea party’ organizers and faithfuls among them … who remember the vision and sacrifice of, and stern and heartfelt warnings issued by, our Founders … and who revere the American Constitution as the most magnificent blueprint for governance ever conceived by the mind of man.

    But such patriots find themselves in an ever-decreasing minority. America’s ‘leadership’ in Washington, the mainstream media, institutions of ‘higher learning’, and the ever more powerful ‘entertainment industry’ now hold the reins of public opinion with an iron-fisted grip. All four of those powerful opinion-makers for more than six decades have been systematically infiltrated by left-leaning ideologues bent on ‘transforming’ our Founders’ vision into something frighteningly grotesque and diabolical: the implementation of an ideology that considers individual human liberty … and all of the belief in ‘right’ and ‘wrong’, progress, productivity and sense of personal responsibility that that precious commodity engenders … to be its most threatening enemy.

    It is a mass ignorance of our noble roots, combined with a laziness and unwillingness to consider them at all, that has allowed evil men to gain, and scheme to retain in perpetuity, the upper hand. And the U.S. Constitution, and the concept (and reality) of individual liberty, have found themselves premeditatedly murdered in the process.

I’ve had my current blog since 2009. Blogging was light this year until I replaced my crashed computer, but I am still here, and my traffic has, strangely, not fallen off much despite lack of new content. While traffic is low compared to LI’s volume, it is still a decent amount for a hobby blogger who is all over the map. For the most part, my mainstream political posts on widely-covered topics sink immediately into the great abyss and never generate another page view. Instead, most of my traffic comes from my own rather unique take on political or cultural topics that didn’t get much other play in the high-traffic blogosphere, or my normal life How-To & DIY posts.

I still get traffic from the small blogs I link to that have been kind enough to link to me, even those that have gone dormant. I get traffic from places where my readers shared info from my posts. But high traffic blogs have never reciprocated – not in 2009, not in 2013. This blog has never linked to mine despite being on my blog roll & cited in some of my posts (not criticizing at all, merely presenting an immediate example – Belmont Club has never linked to me either LOL). I cite sources out of courtesy to give credit where credit is due. I use my Blog Roll as my personal favorite reading list, instead of subscribing. I like to support good sources of thoughtful reading & info. It is boring if all the blogs are using the same set of talking points or the same POV on everything.

My concern about the fates of small blogs is less as a fellow blogger than as a member of the audience. I try to support my favorite blogs by commenting where I think I can add something. Not daily or even weekly but once in a while when I have a free evening. Interesting comment threads increase traffic on any site, and encourage others to add their voice to the mix. But the old courtesy of the blog author responding to comments seems to have died. Even low volume bloggers fail to acknowledge the comments people leave on their posts. How can I know a blogger appreciates the time and effort it takes me to comment on their posts if they don’t occassionally take the time and effort to reply with a “thanks for commenting”? Writing has always been an element of my professional life, so I don’t need affirmation to know my audience is out there. But others are not yet confident, and the positive feedback of a response or a link can go a long long way toward keeping them engaged while they find their voice.

A list of all-stars! I love reading the blogs listed above. I look at LI every day. Thank you for what you do.

[…] Collaborators no more in the conservative blogospherelegal Insurrection (blog)When I first started blogging in 2008, there was a vibrant group of small independent conservative blogs, many if not most composed of newbies like me…. We survived emotionally on the kindness of bigger blogs which generously spread not just traffic … […]

The theory of the demise of small blogs is an absurdity for two reasons:
1-It costs relatively nothing to blog;
2-there is no gatekeeper ‘network’ to keep out even the smallest, most insignificant, crappiest blog from reaching even the tiniest of audiences (The Fine Report, being an example);
3-blogs by their very nature are grassroots and small in scale — and necessary bandwidth is cheap; and
4-conservative blogs can get as corporate as they want, but they will commit ‘Rubio,’ or ‘Coulter,’ snd lose their viewership in a day. On the other hand, a previously unknown, poorly executed, inartful, barely articulate blog (again, the The Fine Report) can explode onto the scene and take a faux conservative blogs viewers in a second.

What makes blogs attractive is their cutting-edge nature. With web viewers still able to make a viewing choice, word of mouth still being the most powerful marketing tool, small blogs aren’t going anywhere.

Analogous to this argument is the content on Youtube: the most talked about Youtube hits are not content by big concerns — rather, they are usually generated by a kid and his or her iPhone.

The conservative appetite for honest content will wane only when ‘conservative’ blogs sell-out. That said, don’t be surprised if we discover the left is covertly working hard towards that end.

For one, The Fine Report will never sell-out — unless the price is right.

[…] Legal Insurrection has this great post up on changes in the conservative blogosphere since the 2008 election. […]

Spiny Norman | April 29, 2013 at 2:08 am

Collaborators no more…

Funny you should say that, Professor, since Protein Wisdom is no longer on your blog roll. Jeff stands his ground and refuses to back down, even though he been “delinked” by many of the big hitters in the conservative blogosphere. It’s a shame, really.

Hell, I was blogging back when you had to hack out HTML code to make a page work. Only person who ever gave a damn was Misha over at “the Rott” (

even harder running a forum/article site even if you link to many places.
link to too many or have too many pro-second articles and google adsense bans you for life.

There _is_ a gatekeeper to the blogosphere, at least a partial one. It’s the search engines, who rely heavily upon links to decide how to rank content. Less linking doesn’t only mean that you aren’t sharing traffic, you’re making it harder for someone completely outside the community to find any of these blogs. Blogroll links are pretty much ignored, it’s the content links that make a difference.

Most of the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) crowd is on the left in their political views and they understand this. If this trend continues, searching on an issue related phrase will be more likely to turn up a lefty view. Links don’t divide the pie, they make it bigger.

[…] William Jacobson has noticed that the conservative blogosphere has changed considerably in the past …, and highlights a lot of changes I’ve noticed too. He links to an article by Robert Stacy McCain on the same topic: […]

Little fish as well. I do it not because I fancy myself any kind of writer, but as a way to get information out number 1, and number 2 I do it to leave bread crumbs for my kids who someday may read my rants wanting to, in a way, visit with me after I’m gone. I do dangerous stuff for a living, and who knows what tomorrow may bring?

That said, I don’t break many big stories, I think one or two things I posted ever really went anywhere and when they did, the big fish picked it up and ran with it. More power to them, they do it for a living, me, when the mood strikes me.

I actually learned a lot about blogger etiquette from reading RS McCain’s occasional rants on the subject. Good stuff about not stealing whole posts, tracking back to where you got the material for the “rest of the story” and a lot I pick up from you, good professor.

Michelle Malkin taught me snark. You and McCain taught me to be thorough (even though I still get lazy sometimes), and a guys named Vassar Bushmills and Josh Trevino taught me to tell stories to make a point.

The only thing left now is to somehow get motivated again after 2012 taught me not to care about anything but my own immediate family, that our country could only be straightened out by God kicking our “collective” asses.

The right’s hands are tied because they are not permitted to discuss race or sex in any substantial way (I think we all know why). The right wing blogosphere is 10 times more interesting than anything on the left but the main stream media is so terrified of being politically incorrect that it refuses to acknowledge that it even exists. Writers such as Steve Sailer, Heartiste, VDare, etc. own their respective categories but because no one in the MSM will pick up on their threads they remain the best kept secrets rather than influencing the public discourse in the way they should. At best, they can influence other writers (Ross Dothat) who can safely publish their less interesting bowdlerized work. Meanwhile on the left, they can say and do pretty much what they want. MSNBC is basically channeling the Nation Magazine. In a multicultural country, White people need their own television network(s).

[…] I forgot to include this link about conservatives and collaboration in the […]

I admit I had not been active in my blogging over the past couple of weeks, having only done 3 blogs a week and only 2 of them are original. However, in looking at this entry I dare say that all those who had posted and mentioned this article in pingbacks on their blogs are inspirations to me as all of you are on the forefront in getting the word out there. And many of you are actually putting Andrew Breitbart’s words to good use. All of us, myself included, have developed a relationship with like-minded allies and allowed them to share in the fortune of a good blog entry through what Robert Stacy McCain calls good linkage.

I thank you for this post as well as all the comments, as they have inspired me to press on.

[…] been a lot of chatter about The Death of Blogs the last few days, among media both mainstream and conservative, prompted in part by the New York Times‘ decision to shutter a few of its own. Marc Tracy, […]

[…] a lot of chatter about The Death of Blogs the last few days, among media both mainstream and conservative, prompted in part by the New York Times‘ decision to shutter a few of its own. Marc Tracy, […]

[…] refers back (via clinical law prof Bill Jacobson) to this article by Stacy McCain, that suggests that if you see your blog as a destination, rather […]