Brian Cook

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Here’s the post that made me think.

This one I liked.  It helps to explain the enthusiasm, but…  Poorly done, yes, continued improvement (isn’t that what it is all about?), not necessarily great next year, and I don’t like the “Go Blue” at the end.  Reading more, the overall blog is, well, less than attention-worthy.

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Our brief exchange…

Brian,   Thanks!  My thoughts, if you are interested follow.  I wonder what would happen if I were to post this as a diary on your site?   Peter


No no no no, I don’t want to be a blogger.  Brian Cook at MGoBlog is really good at it.

I never really understand why blogs refuse to repeat information learned from pay sites.  I suspect the sites inform customers that if they do, and it is found, that their subscription will be canceled.  Aside from that, how is it different than re-posting other copyrighted information?  Regarding the pay sites, if you are paying them you should have certain privileges.  Why not write “I learned it from an source I cannot disclose.” 

But back to blogging.  It is fun, entertaining, and a way to share and spread information.  MGoBlog has a tremendously devoted fan base and large U-M-based market, as can be seen in the minute-by-minute comments and posts.  That, the forum, is a real asset but is also something that could quickly leave and make a home elsewhere.  Brian’s blogging holds it all together.  Personally, once in a while I find a post (e.g., the one on Morgan Trent et. al.) I like but the rest I just scroll through.  Football and basketball recruiting is something that is fun to watch:  the unpredictable if not irrational hype over sixteen and seventeen year-old kids and the even more curious attention they receive.  Brian’s “signature” (his word) is a play-by-play regurgitation of Michigan football games, which is something, like so much else there, that I have very little interest in.  Again, Brian’s role is to be the glue that holds it together and keeps traffic up.  It is a perilous role because so much of the content is not original, the market (if not the won-loss record) is fickle, the competition is omnipresent, and the overall concept is easily imitated.

MGoBlog is and will be fun to watch.  They-Brian, TomVH, and the gang-are riding a large crest.  Theirs is a big and growing-at-the-moment, market; but it is, per Brian, an immature product if not category.  I remember the online forum with “Angelique S. Chengelis” of the Detroit News when people wrote in with questions about Michigan football.  It was terrible.  In her writing she exhibits no particular flair or talent nor does she display an above-average knowledge of her subject matter.  Nonetheless, she is a trained and experienced journalist and the large newspaper needs a beat reporter to cover Michigan sports.  She has a role and a function.  What will it be with MGoBlog and how can one characterize the professional accomplishments of its proprietors?

Back once again, this time to Morgan Trent.  There was the SNAFU over comments allegedly made by Rich Rodriquez, relating to the NFL draft, which were less than complimentary.  Lloyd Carr joined the circus by apparently doing who knows what.  Brian wrote a great piece recognizing incomplete information and a call for employee loyalty; he didn’t say it, but he strongly implied the truth:  ‘Carr, you had your chance, for whatever the reasons you stepped aside, and now it is RR’s turn.’  Then the News publishes a brief quote from Carr saying the original book quote is a “distortion.”  In response, Brian fires off a complete, seemingly sobbing, retraction.  Why?  His original post suggested this is nothing really new and there are probably kernels of truth in it.  The bigger point still holds:  Get Out of the Way!  (To me, somewhere in it, Brian is saying something along the lines of ‘I don’t want to alienate anyone because these people are my bread and butter.’  I admit, I don’t know, but that is my inference).

Is that the lesson?  Is that really all a blogger can do?  A blogger can point to the bigger picture, bring in some history, write with nice flair, and suggest that there is probably some truth in it.  Me?  I use my blog as a filing cabinet; I do it to collect my thoughts for my real ambitions, such as my business and my hobby of writing.  So what if the blog is your business and your ambition?  Some of us question an ambition based on stealing (okay, using, repeating.) content from elsewhere.  Some of us question a business based on oddities like selling for $20 t-shirts that compliment your business or prohibiting users-customers-from posting new topics on a forum.

As I wrote, I am curious.  Just like recruiting, I am as interested in watching the process as I am in seeing the actual content.

—– Original Message —– From: Brian Cook To: Sent: Wednesday, May 12, 2010 11:51 PM Subject: Re: Just Curious
If you’re talking about the text, that’s like 1,000,000% fair use in all cases. A model so replicated across the internet that suing me is suing the universe. It might happen, but it’s kind of a risk I have to take. I never take more than a couple paragraphs from an entry and believe that the increase attention for the articles is compensation for the quote; I get enough emails these days asking me to mention something that that seems more than reasonable.

The images… problematic. I don’t have a way to pay anyone a reasonable amount without individually emailing photographers, which I don’t have time for. As the industry matures, I likely will, and I will do so.

On 5/11/2010 12:18 AM, wrote:

Hi Brian,   I’ve been reading your blog for a couple of years now–like many others, I am energized by the RR era.  Your post on Morgan Trent made me think and I’m going to put something on my site.  It is excellent.  But, a limited blogging approach, $20 t-shirts, the business possibilities, the career “enhancement” potential (e.g., reporting), etc.  And I remember “On Writing Well.”  So, unlike, again, your strong piece on Trent, I haven’t put my thoughts together…   Anyway, one thing in particular has stuck in my brain since I first read that you make money at it and do it full time.  Aren’t you concerned with all the proprietary, copyrighted information on your site?  I mean, how can you get away with–is it ethical and is it right–to reprint or repost content from elsewhere?   Just wondering.  Thanks in advance for your attention.  I hope you will respect my desire not–at this time–to see this posted in a “mailbag” post.   Peter Pfeiffer Evergreen, CO   (my site is more like a filing cabinet; very low traffic; very weak, I admit)  

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