SA blogging industry growth pains...

I've been watching with interest the controversy expanding around the credibility of the SA Blog Awards. While I'm way too slow on the uptake to get involved in the heated debate - and in some ways don't want to. It did get me thinking.

I won't even summarise it. Enough has been said already: here, here and here.

If we all take a big step back, it's pretty obvious what's happening. The South African blogging industry is going through growth pains. We're a young industry, a very young industry - where our members are both our support structure, our voting public and our pioneers. That makes for some strange dynamics.

And in any young industry, you can expect issues like this to crop up - as our population learns to regulate, adminstrate and award itself.

Just take a look at where we are in terms of stuff on the web. This post cites the introduction of mass-media blogging platforms as one of the reasons the web has exploded over the last year. It's from September 2006 - not that long ago.

September 6, 2006 -- (WEB HOST INDUSTRY REVIEW) -- Internet usage has seen a significant growth over the past month, according to Internet researcher Netcraft.

In the firm's September 2006 Web Server Survey, it received responses from 96,854,877 sites, an increase of 4.2 million from last month's survey. In the first five months of the year, the Internet added an average of 2.75 million new hostnames per month, but since June, that average has more than doubled to 5.4 million sites per month.

Netcraft says growth is being driven mainly by two trends: the popularity of blogging services, and the battle between Microsoft and Google for new users for their Web platforms.

That's a big piece of pie. Of which SA forms a very small slice. Maybe we should give ourselves a break? Safe in the knowledge that the Americans, Chinese, Europeans and Nigerians (oh yes, BIG on the web) have probably gone through this stuff already - and come out more experienced.

I tried to find some higher power commenting on industry growth pains. And couldn't. In the absence of credible linked information - a quick adaption of the product life cycle wouldn't go amiss. Presenting Andy's Blogging Industry Growth Cycle Graph.

Industries tend to perform similarly. We just need to identify where we are in that cycle and deal with it accordingly. It's not about whether the judges are objectively selected, nor about who got nominated and who didn't. It's about a community learning from its experiences and doing it better next time.

Remember, SURELY the idea of a Blog Awards is not to cause bloggers to pick sides. It's to develop a platform upon which talent can be highlighted. Go watch behind-the-scenes at a fashion show if you REALLY want some controversy. :)


  1. Nice post. You get it.

    Too tired of reading comments of the "sorry state" of the current awards.

    Constructive analysis (including life cycle graphs!) and feedback is really what's required to make this work.

  2. Thanks lad... I agree. And that comes from someone who wasn't nominated :)

  3. I agree 100% It's almost as if people expect something to be perfect 1st time round. When all one can really expect is a foot in the door to start moulding an 'industry' / 'project' / 'business'. In this case referring to the SA Blog Awards.


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