Friday, January 27, 2006

Leaving Las BEgas

I'm a free market type. I don't see any reason why a webmaster -- for example, the webmaster or webmistress of the blogosphere's biggest traffic exchange -- shouldn't be able to make a business decision not to promote competitors, or to decree that his or her site will not be used as a forum for arguing that decision. Matter of fact, I've said precisely that right here before.

It may come as a surprise, then, that I'm leaving BlogExplosion (lack of link intentional -- I won't be around to benefit from referral signups, and I no longer care to promote BE). Not an earthquake or anything -- I've only referred 22 bloggers to them and only spend low double-digits in cash for their services, so it's not like I'm a "big fish" there -- but a surprise.

Why would I retire from a site that has driven significant traffic to mine? Several reasons, some good, some bad, all personal.

1) I'm still in the Top Ten on BE's "Battle of the Blogs" (number 8, last time I checked). However, I haven't been "battling" much lately, and I'd rather get off that dogpile while putatively "on top." It's been fun, but it's no longer absorbing.

2) I've met a number of worthwhile acquaintances and even good friends on BE ... none of whom I can communicate with via BE anymore since they introduced a "chat" beta that seems to require either connectivity speed or computing power I don't have. My friends know where to find me; I know where to find them.

3) The perpetual drama surrounding BE has reached a point where it's difficult to conclude that there's not significant childishness at the site's managerial level. They've gone from banning a competing traffic exchange (their call) to banning argument over that decision on their chat facilities (their call) to banning blogs residing on that competing exchange's hosting service -- which, by the way, their own new entry into that market looks a lot like, whether coincidentally or by design (once again, their call, but a stump-stupid one in my opinion -- and my opinions govern my affiliations, just as their opinions govern theirs).

To put it bluntly, I have no firm conviction that BE won't next start demanding that their clients remove links to competitors from their blogs, or banning blogs that link to blogs that are hosted at "the wrong place," or banning blogs that link to blogs that link to blogs that ... well, you get the picture. Moreover, after seeing the tone taken by BE's factotums in discussions of such subjects, I simply don't care to be involved in what seems to be turning more and more into ... well, a trite little cult. It may be more a reactive thing than a proactive thing, but it's visible in the arguments and the concomitant bans and subtle encouragement of abject toadying that follow those arguments. I decline to further support, or be involved in, these things. It's a market decision -- BE is welcome to continue its descent into blogospheric Pyongyangism, just not with me on board.

I hope that my BE buddies won't avoid Kn@ppster in the future, any more than I avoid their blogs. But they won't find me on BE.

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