A Network of Niches is a group of niche bloggers, each with their own unique look n' feel but collectively part of a branded network of like minds. This could be the way forward for a big company like Yahoo or AOL to roll out their blog networks, at the same time giving hope to niche bloggers who write original and compelling content.
Following on from my post entitled Gettin' Paid: A Future for Content Creators? Redux, I noticed (via Darren Rowse) that Yahoo already has a beta blog service running. Yahoo's Health Expert Blogs is not disimilar to what weblogsinc and Gawker do - blog about a certain topic under a business brand. Indeed there are signs that Yahoo is about to launch a Technology blog network.
However it's not at the level of what I had in mind in my Gettin' Paid post. I am envisaging a network of independent experts, each with their own unique brand. This may be a pipe dream of mine, but I still hold out hope that Yahoo or perhaps AOL (with Feedster's help) will implement what I dream of. btw Yahoo and AOL, I'm available for consulting work to help you do that! ;-)
Yahoo's Health Expert Blogs are certainly one step ahead of Microsoft's Filter network. The fact that Yahoo names its bloggers, and indeed centers each blog around the expert that writes it, is fantastic. e.g. Rodney Yee's Yoga blog has some great writing in it. All it needs though is some unique branding and design to bring out Rodney's personality even more. The design of the Yahoo Health blogs is bland and doesn't do justice to the 'voice' of the blogger. That's why I'm pushing a vision of independently branded bloggers, yet still identifiable as part of a network of bloggers who write about a defined topic.
A note about the terms I'm using: each topic has a number of niches. There is 1 blogger per niche but, for example, 10 bloggers per topic. So there is real potential for a Yahoo or an AOL to collect together groups of like minds ("experts") and get the best of both worlds - independence and network effects.
Yahoo or AOL (or another bigco) should let the bloggers keep the unique brands they've built up, but fold groups of them under their wing as blog networks - and pay them! The bigco's benefit by gathering experts into networks and promoting them on their homepages. And they get great content :-)
If I had to come up with a term for this - it'd be a Network of Niches. Which I define as: a group of niche bloggers, each with their own unique look n' feel but collectively part of a branded network of like minds.