Corporate Eye

The Know More Media Business Debacle: A Series of Unfortunate Events – Are YOU Ready For Unfortunate Events?

Numerous online website and companies use Google as a source of revenue for their product or services and also to strategize how they will align with their competitors. The competition is fierce, no doubt, and the quest to be at the top of the Google search engine in any industry is coveted by large and small businesses alike.

Major online blog networks base and build their business model around advertising sales, keyword strategizing and placement and search engine ranks. The search for being first, being on top and being the most clicked site(s) consumes most days of CEO’s, journalists, bloggers, freelance writers and online marketers. But what happens when you simply cannot compete with the stiff competition that is in Google’s tight grasp, only to be given to the highest bidder or the most prolific clicker?

Only last week, Know More Media, a large online blogging network of business news and developments, announced that they would be closing their doors forever. Know More Media had been struggling some time with ad revenue and securing sponsors to keep their network afloat, but as the business owners found out…it was too little, too late.

Blogging is a task that is easy for any writer to begin. It’s been the latest craze for a number of years. As of December 2007, Technorati (a social networking site) reported that they are tracking over 112 million blogs on their system! Blogs are created for personal journals, corporate blogs (in the case of the one I write here for Corporate-Eye) and network blogs, like the one that was maintained by Know More Media.

The ease of starting and maintaining a blog for a writer is simple. He simply writes great, compelling content, uploads it to the blog and gets paid. How simple is that? But the business end of blogging for a corporate organization or a network is wholly a different story. The corporate blog network must constantly analyze data that relates to traffic, sponsors and ads and they have to continually review conversion rates and how those numbers factor into the revenue’s bottom line. It is a business that is easy to run but is a business nonetheless. Essentially, if a network is not productive or can not generate significant revenue through their ad placements, they suffer and this can make the network unappealing to potential sponsors or those willing to place ads on the sites.

Know More Media handled the news quite well and quite professionally in letting their bloggers and the Internet public know what the turn of events would be in the upcoming weeks. There were lots of sad bloggers and lots of heated discussions in the blogosphere on the reasons why this blog network failed. No one but the executives and the founders know exactly what caused the network to crumble, but there is general agreement that in order for a network of any size to function well and stay in competition, they must be managed well, be business savvy and know the inner workings of effective strategizing, marketing and online advertising in order for the network to experience success.

I for one was one of the bloggers at the network, and was taken aback by the news. My leadership blog at Leader Notes was one that had been started by the CEO of Know More Media, Hal Halladay. When I first began blogging on the network, there was an air of positive energy, attitudes that said “full steam ahead” and a business that was dedicated to thriving and seeing their bloggers do the same. It is amazing how so much can change in such a small amount of time.

Now with so many unanswered questions looming overhead, what will happen to the blogs, the bloggers, the founders and the network as a whole? How does a company bounce back from such a devastating action? What steps can your company take to ensure that this type of thing is avoided? Although the network is leaving and there are a number of bloggers in indecisive states, Know More Media is an unfortunate example of how quickly a business can take a turn for the worst. They have shown us all that we must carefully make provisions for the unknown and constantly think two to three frames ahead of ourselves in our business mind frame. I now speculate perhaps how they wish they had the chance to re-think all of their decisions…again.

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Bridget Wright

Writer, Blogger
I am a freelance writer, blogger and professional motivational speaker. I primarily focus on business content, offering my clients strategic marketing strategies for their businesses. I have been an entrepreneur for over 13 years, after having worked extensively in corporate America.

Good thoughts. Surviving and thriving without needing Google is so important these days for online businesses.

Bridget asked some great questions and saw KMM from the perspective of a KMM blogger. She inherited LeaderNotes from me, the co-founder of Know More Media and was a valued member of our writing team. The simple answer to why Know More Media could not survive was that Google unilaterally banned KMM content from the Google Search Engine Index. The ban occurred because Google created a policy against text link ads and we happened to have text link ads on KMM blogs. Text link ads are ads similar to those found as sponsored links on a Google search. The first we knew of the policy or the ban was the day our traffic dropped 60% because we had no Google search traffic. Only through our traffic logs and searching the web could we discover what had happened.

The ban reduced not only our traffic by 60% but our advertising as well. We were break even until this event and saw the opportunity to be a profitable business. We had a few choices when this occurred – 1) take a few months to retool including applying to be re-included in the search engine and remove text link ads then begin losing money again and strive to reach break even, 2) or shut down. We felt we could not afford to go back to losing money and with a weaker economy on the horizon (late spring 2008) we had to make a hard decision. There was just too much uncertainty. So we closed our doors and walked away from our dream and what had been a successful business that employed several writers around the world.

Search today for Know More Media and you won’t find any Know More Media content. Just content like this article about Know More Media. So that means 70,000 KMM articles about business are not searchable by Google. Who knows what else is not included?

Hal, I am so glad to see your comment! It’s also good to know that you are still with us in the online world. I was very enlightened by your comment and must agree whole-heartedly that there were a lot of behind-the-scenes footage that we were all unaware of. However, it was all handled with much grace and professionalism despite all. Hopefully, the wheels of your mind are turning and we shall see you emerge once again on this wonderful World Wide Web on a different project. You certainly have a wealth of knowledge to share with those of us in the business sector.

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