Attempting to Build Giant Blogging Community

Posted on November 21, 2005

The Seattle Times reports that a community blogging website called is trying to build a huge subscriber base. plans to lure bloggers by offering them Gather Points that it says can later be redeemed for products and cash.

Gather will need at least 1 million regular subscribers to support its business model, said analyst John Blossom with Shore Communications. Its true strength is in community as content, he noted.

"Rather than aggregating the content as the value point, it's the community itself that represents the most important aggregation," he said. The rewards structure and insulated feedback loop could protect Gather against poaching from bigger services like Yahoo! and MSN.

As news shifts from print to online, community-based services are all trying to crack the same nut: doing for news what eBay did for yard sales, Yahoo! did for forums, did for books, did for dating, Slashdot did for geek-think and so on. looks like a large group blog but it also offers community and social networking services. also ranks the most popular authors and the most popular articles. Gather says it is different because it will be offering the Gather Points which it defines as "your currency to purchase goods and services from your favorite Gather partners. Top earners can even exchange their points for cash." The text below is from Gather's about page.
Gather will make money by displaying advertising to people who use Gather's services. It just seems fair that we share our advertising revenue with you based on the quality and popularity of the content you contribute on Gather. We will also share some of our revenue with you if you choose to use the site actively, exploring content that others write, searching on Gather and on the web, and inviting your friends, family, and colleagues to use the site. We will pay occasional users in points that you will be able to use to purchase goods and services from Gather partners in a few months. We will pay frequent users, who write great content consistently, in cash if they choose.
Cash is a reliable lure for attracting bloggers -- many of the small blog networks are trying to get bloggers to join by offering cash or the promise of future cash from ad revenue sharing deals. Straight cash in the form of a freelance payment or salary is the most attractive offer and is much more appealing than a shared percentage of ad revenues. But redeemable points for products or coupons is not going to be nearly as attractive.

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