Saturday, December 30, 2006

Barriers to Entry in Blog Reading

There are tens of millions of blogs out there. In any subject, even the most obscure, you can find dozens of people blogging about it. I went on a search mission to find some good geology / rockhounding blogs and found Ron Schott's. I liked a couple of his posts and went to leave him a comment only to find out I needed to log in to do so.


In economics, that's called a barrier to entry. In this case, I'm a customer (a reader) and he's made it harder for me to interact with him. Not only that, he doesn't post his email address either. There's no way for me to converse with him. He might as well be deaf. Blogging friend Jake Silver moved to Xanga for a short while and I had to register in Xanga to leave him a comment. That got old quickly. When it comes up now, I just leave. That goes for MySpace bloggers as well. When I find them on Thursday 13s, I just move on to the next one.

In a world of perfect competition like the blogosphere, any barrier you erect against visitors, even unintentionally, will be fatal.

Ron's got a great blog with beautiful photos. I'll post one here and send him a trackback to see if he gets the message.

Arch formations at Arches National Park.

Update: The Rockhound blog has the same problem. Argh! Their formatting is all hosed on their main site and I can't read the thing. I'd like to send them a screen capture, but I can't contact them without enrolling, registering, logging in and giving them a blood sample. %!@&*%!#&*%!!

Update 2: Rockhound blog works perfectly in Firefox, but not in IE. The Rockhound blog is outstanding with lots of tidbits of information for, well, rockhounds. What else would you expect? I still can't leave a comment without a WordPress account. Is that true with all WordPress blogs?

With what I discovered about my own readers, where less than 3% of them were willing to answer a simple single-click poll question, the percentage of readers that would actually navigate the WordPress account issue must be in the tenths of percents.

Update 3: This goes for trackbacks, too. If I link to you and can't send you a trackback ping, you can probably forget about me sending any more links in the future.


Anonymous said...

My apologies for how my blog appeared. Were you using IE? I have just received emails from a couple people having the same problem. I use firefox so I never have come across this problem but I have learned a valuable lesson as to check with a couple different browsers and not just one. I had someone make this blog up so I will be asking him to correct this asap.
thanks for stopping by, gary.

Anonymous said...

Thanks to this post, I've modified my own blog. I have a huge comment spam problem, and as a result I had effectively turned comments off.

I've since installed Akismet (a wordpress plugin) which takes care of the 400+ comment spam messages I get daily. I've since reinstated open commenting, but I still require comments to be approved by me before they appear (I may turn this off in the future, though).

In regards to IE, I've not checked my theme against IE7 or IE6. I use a Mac, so finding a machine with Windows and IE7 is a little more than trivial. My theme checks out against w3C specifications, so all compliant browsers (Safari, Firefox/Mozilla, Opera etc) display it in a consistent manner.