The following is a live transcript of highlights from Mark Cuban’s closing keynote @ BlogWorldExpo.
Connection between Dancing With the Stars and blogging. Dancing With the Stars taught me value of different mediums. People complimenting me for blogs is nothing like little old ladies telling me i should have won and that I was cheated on Dancing With the Stars.
I started my blog in 2004 because I did an interview with the Dallas Morning News about the Dallas Mavericks. I expected to see a write up that equated with the conversation. What was written was different than the email exchange. I decided it was time to start a blog. I put up a link to the article and then put up the email exchange. The response was amazing and was an accelerator for me to start blogging.
All of a sudden they realized they weren’t in charge of me. They had to realize they had to pay attention to people. Blogging isn’t just about people getting things off their chest, it’s a way for ideas and the truth to come out.
Over time I understood what blogging meant to me. Before kids and marriage I knew I could call up my buddies and we talked about everything on our minds: sports, tech, politics — but it was limited to the 5 or 10 drunks I knew
I got to talk to a whole universe of people. It was about how everyone was responding to me. More than 1 million people read the blog in 2004, and the software couldn’t support the comments. But it was the response coming back that mattered.
Are you honest in what you write or are you not? Are you just writing to get people to read. If you do that than you’re no different than mainstream media.
I learned you have to be brutally honest. Once you are honest you can define your brand.
If you’re gonna go the corporate route. MSM is trying to introduce blogs. If you’re a reporter for the newspaper — you’re a reporter. Either you’re a reporter or you’re not.
As exciting as we think our opinions are — we’re gonna run out. I think I’m gonna be able to whip something out in 15 minutess and I say someone is going to call me on that. I wrote a blog recently about facebook about opening its api vs what google is doing for opensocial. As i started doing more homework I realized I was not only gonna look like an idiot to readers but I was gonna feel like one. It becomes stronger when you do the work behind it.
The blogosphere is changing and becoming corporatized. You have to compete with nonbloggers; it’s your opinion vs The New York Times and The Dallas Morning News. You have to understand where you fit. As others enter your brand starts to dissipate.
Replenish yourself through good old fashion research and work. Decide if it’s full time or part time. Is it who you are or not who you are.
When you take the step to get paid to blog you’re going to lose ability to be perfectly honest. Someone is going to want something for paying your bills.
Bill O’Reilly is a moron. I’ve fallen into that trap. I’ve done my f you blogs. The hardest ones are the ones where you scream and yell at someone. It feels really really good. Then you remember these blogs are forever. The Internet archives are there forever. Whatever you write is going to be there forever.
What appears to be an honest answer that brands you today may not be in 2008. People Google you. When we hire people we Google them.
I don’t hold myself back but I’ve got a lot more money than you. I don’t care. I’m the luckiest guy in the world. I can sit up here and not care. But not everybody is that fortunate. But I’m not saying muzzle yourself. Just be honest.
Mark Cuban takes questions from the audience.
Q: When starting should you worry about ads?
A: GoogleAds cheapen it. They need to be appropriately placed. Once you start getting some traffic and you realize you can turn it into a business then you can make decisions about it.
Q: Have you ever considered turning off comments because of haters?
A: I’ve turned them off; deleted them. Anonymity makes people say the darndest things. They say I can’t dance because my toes are funny.
Q: How do you marry your business with blogging?
A: I have this site called Sharesleuth where we investigate companies. I’ll take a position in the stock prior to publishing. I’m open and transparent. We are factual. We haven’t been sued or questioned.
Q: Did it work asking people to vote for you on your blog?
A: I was a complete whore. I put it on facebook and on my blog. I spent more time on trying to get votes than my dancing.
Q: Future of blogging — what can change it? What can take over?
A: The history of all of this is the Website. A lot of people were setting up sites in the 90s. People were putting up sites and speaking their mind. There were forums in Compuserve and Prodigy. Then it was an application that changed it all Don’t think the game is gonna change all that much. I’m not a huge fan of UGC and YouTube. Whenever it is easier to create everybody does. The longer and longer the tail becomes. MSM is also adopting easy tools … other things will come up. It’s gonna be hard to have more than just the ultra long tail. Viewers or readership impact. Look at the music industry. It’s so easy to create a song right now, everybody does. It’s harder to stand out. It will come down to content is king, with marketing being a major part of it.
Q: What about facebook’s new advertising?
A: It’s an advertising forward. It’ll be okay the first couple of times. Then everybody turns into a super spammer and they ain’t your friend no more. Someone will get paid to send and someone to receive. There are much better alternatives.
Q: Do you write your own blog?
A: Yes I do unlike Donald Trump. See I always go back to the people I pick on. Yes I write my own blog.
Q: Do you find Bill O’Reilly’s attacks on you to be a net plus or a net minus?
A: It’s neither. I’ve been putting my e-mail out in the public since 1986. I put it up on the JumboTron. I’ve said it on Letterman and and Leno. It’s the same 25 people saying the same thing. He says I’m gonna get you. It sounds like my 4-year-old daughter.
We put together HDNET and Magnolia so you can see it before it goes to theaters also DVD releases same day. Sneak preview on HDNET. Redacted in limited theaters — theaters don’t want what we’re giving free previews of . But at the end of the day, even if you have large screen, you’re going to the movies — it’s a different experience.
Q: What do you think about UGC now? Do you still think YouTube is not a real business?
A: If the media writes about it, then more media writes about it. YouTube is subsidizing any video you want to put on the Internet for free. Because they hide behind the Digital Millennium Copyright Act — Google can’t get in trouble if someone puts up South Park. South Park has to find it and request it be taken down. They don’t know what’s there. They are hiding behind the DMCA. they can’t put ads around what they don’t know is there. Let Google pay. They can’t sell ads around non-licensed content. If it were any other company in the world, they’d be gone. But they can subsidize a lot of things.
Q: Is facebook overvalued?
A: It’s cheap at the value Microsoft gave if they ever really get to monetize their members. Facebook is the only place where there’s all that information about me. Facebook has the opportunity to be gianormous. But the biggest opportunity is a new OS right now. Microsoft is like 25 years old. Mac is great but you can only use it on Apple. It’ll be great to have something like what Google is proposing with a mobile OS.
Q; If facebook were for sale would you buy it?
A: Yeah I’d buy it but I can’t afford it. The two companies I would buy are Verizon and facebook.