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Blog Aggregator Sites

“We need a way of sharing revenue with people who contribute to the site. ... I do not know how to do that right now.”
—Karl Martino
Philly Future

Greensboro, North Carolina, has an extraordinarily active local blogosphere. Web designer Roch Smith Jr. launched Greensboro101 as a community service to aggregate blogs in one place, but the site is more than a digest. Smith quickly concluded that some blogs were more compelling than others, so now he applies editorial judgment by creating a front page for highlighted blog posts. “We look for something that is well-written, that conveys some minimal completeness in terms of news and opinion and that has some grain of substance,” he said. “I found myself applying some measure of what traditional journalism might apply” to the featured posts, which regularly highlight the blogs of News & Record reporters and editors.

Before the city’s monthly blogger meet-ups, Smith runs an open Greensboro101 meeting where editorial issues are discussed. The site is now a for-profit corporation with a local advisory board. With an investment of $20,000 from a local businessman/blogger, Smith is working to develop an advertising model that would share revenue between the site and bloggers. “I see a lot of opportunities for things we could do if we were profitable,” Smith said, including lending out camera and video equipment and “allowing people to learn more about how to do good citizen journalism.”

In his free time off from working as a software engineer for Knight Ridder in the late 1990s, Karl Martino founded the blog aggregator, which he shut down in 2001. He re-launched it in 2004 as a hybrid site where blogs are aggregated, but non-bloggers also post original work. He now calls it a regional online community “seeking to coalesce what the entire region is discussing.” Six volunteers help him keep an eye on postings and promote stories to the front page. The site is currently a for-profit LLC (limited liability company) with a trickle of revenue from advertising. “We need a way of sharing revenue with people who contribute to the site,” Martino said. “I do not know how to do that right now.”

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