Dilbert Blog gets the Freakonomics treatment, becomes a footnote in blogging history.
On 11/26/07, Dilbert creator Scott Adams announced that he is going to be blogging less because his Dilbert Blog doesn’t make enough money directly and hurts the sale of his core Dilbert products:
“I found that if I wrote nine highly popular posts, and one that a reader disagreed with, the reaction was inevitably ‘I can never read Dilbert again because of what you wrote in that one post.’ Every blog post reduced my income, even if 90% of the readers loved it.”
There’s more to it than that snippet, so I encourage you to read the full post. Is Scott Adams forgetting about the branding effect of the Dilbert blog? I’m a Dilbert fan. I became a fan of the Dilbert Blog as a result of the Dilbert comic strip. I purchase Dilbert products at least every year. We have a Dilbert calendar at the office, for example. And when I’m standing in the checkout line at the bookstore trying to choose a desk calendar, I choose Dilbert. Branding has something to do with that decision. And blogging has something to do with branding.
Maybe I’m smarter than the average reader. I certainly understood when Scott Adams was baiting his audience, and I found it very entertaining (and Andy Kaufman-esque).
On 11/27/07, the Dilbert Blog quietly switched to a partial feed. (See more on partial feeds below.) I tried the usual tricks, including EchoDitto Lab’s tool for converting partial feeds to full feeds (which I use on several feeds in my blogroll from other bloggers who don’t quite get this blogging thing), but that failed. So not only will I not be reading the Dilbert Blog daily, I won’t be reading it at all.
Of course, the only true way to test Adams’s theory that he’s losing money due to blogging is to establish a parallel universe, blog in one, don’t blog in the other, and compare the results. That’s the sort of thing that Scott Adams would enjoy blogging about. But I don’t think Scott Adams understands the power of blogging as branding. Because he’s not just Scott Adams. He’s Dilbert creator Scott Adams.
Maybe you don’t have to blog daily. But at least use a full feed. Sheesh!