You know you’ve made it when people think they can make money off you.
Austin Bloggers has been around as a loose community for years now, and is one of the older community-aggregator sites around. At last night’s meetup, two people attended because they see the community as an opportunity to make a buck.
One of these guys is not a blogger himself. He doesn’t have a blog. He does, however, have an excellent command of the most annoying buzzwords on the Internet today, which he flings around with unironic abandon as if this will impress us: his company is all “web 2.0” and “user-generated content.” Web 2.0 in this case apparently means “shiny” and user-generated content means “you fill up my site for no pay, and I make money off it!”
The other guy is a blogger, and has what sounds like an interesting blog, but again, he was there to sign up people for something that would benefit him: he’s developed a bit of code that bloggers can put on their blog-templates that will show a box with headlines from other bloggers in their community. This in itself is not particularly innovative (and has been implemented hundreds of different ways), although his has the interesting twist of putting together headlines from multiple sources. But the box always has a little link to a “sponsor” at the bottom. The sponsor has paid him money, he has given you this little code snippet, and in return, the sponsor gets to use your blog as part of a link-farm to get more google-juice. This guy at least had the good grace to realize that what he’s doing is slightly exploitative
Gosh, where do I sign up?