July 7, 2006

Economics of gender in the blogosphere

I got thinking about gender in the blogosphere today when I stumbled on the now resurrected blog Underneath Their Robes. UTR is, of course, the now infamous blog that made the Court system seem sexy, all while discussing the jucier questions in life, like, just who is the hottest judge? (I'll give you a hint, the judge who occasionally goes by the nickname Hedgehog did not win.)Anyways, one of the chief reasons for UTR's infamy was that the author of the blog, who was blogging from the perspective of a woman (and a rather sultry one at that) turned out to be a man. That got me thinking, given that nearly every big name in the blogosphere is male (I don't think I read a single blog maintained by a woman), what are the economics of gender-related blogging. Would more people read this blog if George, Andrew, and I were masquerading as attractive women? Would our hit count be any higher if we all had enticing profile? Especially if it catered to the unique clientele in the blogosphere, that seems to have a universally share a crush on Anne Hathaway. I’m thinking something along the lines of this profile that I found today? My guess? Well the key is probably not so much the idea of women blogging about normal things (like the law, torture, or whatever). There is a huge supply of that, and I just don't see any value added from reading news analysis from a pretty woman. Rather supply is desperately low for anyone out there that will talk about the things women tend to talk about.I have to admit, a woman discussing the things every geek with an internet connection is interested in would be pretty enticing. And before you start conflating my suggestion with some dirty sex blog, I was thinking something along the lines of what ex-Maroon columnist Leila Sales use to do so well. If you took that and added in some politics, economics, and maybe a little law, you'd get a pretty deadly concoction. Yeah, I'd read that. I guess that is basically what Lat was trying to do with UTR, although a lot of the fun seems spoiled now that we know he hasn’t (hopefully) ever worn high heels or flirted with Judge Kozinski.Too bad there is really no way of really testing this hypothesis though. There is just too little money in blogging (and too much risk) to really create the necessary incentives in the market. Right now all the market is really running on is the utility bloggers get from having more visitors and seeing other people link to your writing. Regardless, I bet if there were more money in blogging, more would copy Lat's approach. But until that day, I'll refrain from discussing how difficult men can be or my game plan to get a hot summer boyfriend. Sorry.