Caesar from Kuwait-Music submitted this article to be postd here on Kuwait Blogs Suck! It is an excellent and interesting article about the history, degradation, and possible solution for blogs in Kuwait. If you have an avid interest in Kuwait blogs or have your own blog then this is a must read.
The wretched state of bloggers and their corporate chums, in Kuwait.
Back in 2004-6 , blogs in Kuwait were far and few but they were quality. The likes of Chillnite and 248am.com ruled the roost and posts were relevant to lifestyle, opinion and topics were discussed rather than vomited out from the wrong end of the conscious. The web industry was still at a very premature stage in Kuwait (not that it is firing on all cylinders now!), and being a blogger back then was like having that second fancy phone that you carried around to look good.
Times have obviously changed, but not for the better.
Back in 2004, wordpress and blogspot weren’t as popular as they are today. This meant that options for setting up, customizing and publishing your blog weren’t as many. So statistically, most bloggers were typically designers or developers who understood a bit of code and had some constituents of design backgrounds in them. This scarcity actually boded well for the industry because bloggers focused on quality and not quantity. Over the years the transformation of wordpress in particular, from a purely blogging platform into a full blown CMS (content management system) allowed seamless integration with other mediums, got a lot of non-technical folk onto the bandwagon. Mind you, this is not a bad thing. Look at Smitten Kitchen in the US for example, where bloggers with zero technical knowledge can earn tremendous success simply by having vision, purpose and a clear directional strategy for the blog.
But like the automotive and fashion industries in Kuwait, when they have a new toy, most people here don’t know what to do with it. 99.9% Youtube code, 1000 pictures per post, ad – infested sidebars, animated gifs that look like they belong on a 6 year old’s playscreen, and pitiable English flung into the mix; is what ends up happening. The quality and purpose of running an “opinionated web log (blog)” has been defeated.
Can you blame them? Yes you can.
Kuwait is not a touristic destination and art is not encouraged here. So writer’s block is quite common. But this is no excuse to buttonhole the Kuwaiti blogosphere with dull, besotted , drivel that is both irrelevant and insubstantial. Kuwait has a lot more to offer than just food, Youtube videos and, errrm, food.
Here are some classifications of the “sad-osphere” we live in:
- 1. The Youtube hog
- Standard: Post Title | 3 words | Embed code.
- 2. The ad-infested lagoon. So sad it should have its own freshwater stream.
- When the ad size dimensions in the sidebar are larger than the images and videos in the posts themselves.
- 3. The food connoisseurs
- Out of 1000 posts, 999 are about food. Yet they are a “blog”. If I need food reviews, I have epicurious and don’t need your sad excuse to tell me how much you enjoyed the apple tart or the hummus with laham.
- 4. The newspaper cut outs
- Blogs that purely exist to copy and paste text from news portals like Kuna, Arab times and Al Rai.
- 5. The status quo regiment
- Bloggers that start blogs for namesake and event gatherings. A domain name and a “Hello world” post are all they need to deck up and attend some event sponsored by naïve corporates who actually believe these bloggers will make a difference in their publicity stunts.
- 6. The engrabic gurus
- Those that post in English and Arabic at the same time, in the same post. They probably sing that way in the shower too.
- 7. The review extraordinaire
- Those that believe it’s their birthright to review the world and actually believe their reviews will benefit people. Reviews are done by trained and certified professionals who understand dissection, weight-age, and opinion meters among other factorials, not some part time blogger who’s being incentivized by a corporate.
- 8. The list goes on…
Oh, you think that is bad?
It gets worse. To top it all, you’ll find these bloggers with media kits that boast exaggerated prices for advertising. From KD 200 upward to KD 600/month! KD 600 is approximately 1,950 USD. With that money you can run a highly targeted small size Google adwords campaign and receive tons of relevant hits that will boost your conversion rates. On these blogs, you won’t even get a third of that traffic with the useless “passerby”. Yet, naïve corporates buy advertising for the sake of visibility and errrm “status”. The icing on the cake? Most of these blogs don’t provide you with real time statistics for your ads!
There are a handful of exceptions though like 248am.com and others that are transparent and provide real time access and bang for your buck, but the vast majority are running on a ruthless existence based on “offline relationships”.
So what can be done to improve the standard of blogging in Kuwait?
I have been building web based businesses internationally since 1995 and in my humble opinion, standardization and monitoring has always been key on the web. A union or a platform such as Technorati needs to be established locally and managed with goals, strategic initiatives and a mission. Technorati is the world’s biggest blog rating platform. It rates blogs based on content scores, SEO performance, niche value, design, style, identity, technical quality and others. Once this happens in Kuwait, a lot of the current bloggers here will start to disappear because advertisers will only invest in the ones doing well in the “real” ratings. None of that Alexa and fake media kit crap.
But until then, its back to the Youtube madness!
This long post has been brought to you by a Youtube-less, picture-stripped, thought-infested, opinionated mindset.
By Caesar Fernandes
Caesar is founder and Chief Ideas Officer of Kuwait Music, Kuwait’s largest and most influential music network. Kuwait Music has been featured on the BBC world report, arab times, Bazaar magazine, EMI Capitol records and has transformed the way the world looks at Kuwait’s music industry. The rest as they say, is history.