Examining the 9rules Network

    May 12, 2005

Scrivs has been writing some interesting information about the 9rules network and how it all operates. People want to know the catch’ and Paul is doing his best to show that there is no catch.

There are not rules about having ads on your site, no rules about how many post you have to write, no rules that say the ownership of the content is anyone’s but the blogger. Interesting.

The main requirement is that you link back to the 9rules main page – which in turn links back to you.

Ok – so what IS the catch? Is there one? Where is this headed? What is the point?

I’m sure Paul will post more on this as it goes but here are a few things that come to mind as I ponder the 9rulesNetwork.

How do the 9rules Network Owners gain?
Obviously there would be little point in starting a network if there wasn’t anything to gain from it – this is just human nature and good business sense. I don’t have an issue with people gaining things so lets not knock Paul and his gang for wanting to profit from this. But what is in it for them? Here are a few suggestions:

Adsense revenue – those blogs that do run ads on them allow the 9rules Network to place their ads with their publisher code on the blog. They collect all of this money (presumably tracking each blog’s earnings via channels) and then send this money to bloggers after taking their cut. Whilst I know the split it hasn’t been made public yet (it is weighted so that the author gets most of it) – I think Paul will reveal this shortly. Each blog currently in the network wouldn’t be earning much – but if they add 100 or so blogs over the next month or two this sort of revenue adds up (I wouldn’t mind 100 blogs paying me $1-$5 per day).

Page Rank – each page of every blog that joins links back to a central 9rules page. This is virtually the only requirement of joining the network and is probably as important for the 9rules team as the potential Adsense revenue. Such a strategy could mean that the 9rules domain name rises considerably over the coming months as potentially hundreds of blogs, all hosted on different servers in different parts of the world add their Google juice to the 9rules domain. One potential way of capitalizing on this down the track would be to start some commercial blogs on the 9Rules domain that build on the Page Rank that is built with the incoming links. I wouldn’t be surprised if we started seeing a few 9rules Blogs added to the mix at some point.

Influence/Profile – the 9rules Network become more powerful in their influence as each new blog is added to the network. If they play their cards right and work for the good of their bloggers then the flow on impact as bloggers return favors could be massive. Imagine the buzz that 100 bloggers could generate for a new project if Paul were to ask them to link to it. Whilst I doubt Paul would ever require network bloggers to participate in linking to new projects I bet many would as he goes out of his way to help them. Of course this is a potential danger – if 9rules don’t maintain good relationships with their bloggers, if they instead become disillusioned, angry, hurt or their expectations are not met the fallout could be quite spectacular to watch.

How do participating Bloggers gain?
It’s not all about what the network gets. Its also about the bloggers involved with it. How do they benefit?

Traffic – obviously there will be some flow on traffic from the main page. One of the things I’ve noticed about being a part of the Breaking News Blog collective is that there is some flow of traffic both between blogs and especially through the central front page. The 9Rules page randomly features blogs from within the network and their last posts.

Prestige – as the 9rules network grows in its prominence and popularity it will have flow on effects to blogs involved. The logo and brand will bring status (if they keep the quality up) that should benefit blogs involved.

Relationships – the thing that tempts me most about being involved with 9Rules is the relationships with other bloggers. Being a blogger can be a little isolating at times but working together on a common task is energizing. If the 9rules people pay their cards right they should get their bloggers linked up (not just with hyper links – but relationally) to work together, promote each other, swap ideas and working for the common good.

Advice – the 9rules people have some real expertise in making quality blogs. They know about design, income streams, writing, marketing and much more. Hopefully they’ll be able to make membership of the network a learning experience where bloggers increase their quality of output and produce better and better blogs. Of course it is in their best interests to help bloggers improve because the flow on effects are obvious.

I am sure there are more benefits (and costs) of being involved in 9rules – but I’ll leave it at these for now. What are your opinions on 9rules? What do you like? What worries you? How would you improve or change it? Is it a win win relationship between bloggers and the network or a one sided deal in your opinion?

Reader Comments…

Darren Rowse is the founder of ProBlogger.net, a blog about the many ways of adding an income stream to blogs.

Darren owns and writes a variety of blogs including Digital Photography Blog and Camera Phone
. He is also a co-founder of the Breaking News Blog Collective.