Billionaire Mark Cuban says bloggers should shun ads, sponsors

Easy for him to say.

Mark Cuban, owner of the NBA Dallas Mavericks and a net worth north of $2 billion, also happens to be a blogger. So when he came to speak at the BlogWorld Expo in Las Vegas, a couple hundred bloggers showed up and listened up.

Cuban said a lot of provocative things, but what I’m still shaking my head over his is “get-thee-to-a-nunnery” attitude about blogs and money.

“Should you worry about revenue?” Cuban asked the audience.

“No. 1, if you get a sponsor, your customers always own you,” he said. “No. 2, I have no doubt in my mind that a blog that has Google ads — it cheapens it, and it won’t get read.” He acknowledged that he’d outlined a “no win situation,” but added, “it is reality.”

So should bloggers take a vow of poverty for life? “Once you start getting some traffic, then you can make a decision (about advertising), but (not) in the beginning,” he said.

Cuban called bloggers who take ads “sellouts,” and included those who bring in sponsors or sell themselves to aggregators in the unapproved column as well.

“Are you still a blogger if you are getting paid to do it for somebody else?” he asked. “I don’t think so,” he answered. “What’s the difference between someone getting paid to write for Huffington (Post) vs. writing for the Dallas Morning News?”

Cuban clearly sees blogging as a higher order. “Blogging is a way for truth to come out — blogging is a way for alternative ideas and opinions to come out.”

In part because he sees his blog as a way to counter the mainstream media, he doesn’t have a lot of regard for newspapers turning their reporters into bloggers. “I don’t get it,” he said. “Either you are a reporter or you are not. To me, you got to keep them separate.”

Working for the man, so to speak, “your brain is gonna change,” he said. “If you take the step to get paid to blog, you are going to lose your ability to be perfectly honest. Because somebody wants something for their money … You go to work, you got a boss, you can’t be brutally honest.”

He celebrates the fact that with his blog, “instead of talking to one or two people I got to talk to a whole universe of people.”

But at the same time, he says a blog is “just an application.” And he’s not a fan of user-generated content. “When it is easy to create, then everybody does it,” he said. “The longer the tail, the longer it takes to crawl up to even the ass, much less to get to the head.”

With such an ocean of information to choose from, Cuban said he has set up RSS feeds on about 500 blogs and newsfeeds, and goes to the homepages of about 10 sites daily.

One of the automated feeds he said he gets is through IceRocket.com where he has a vanity search for his own name and misspellings of his name.

OK, so what would the billionaire like to buy next?

He likes Facebook. (And Facebook likes him. Mark has 4,459 Facebook friends as of this writing, along with a relatively private public profile.) “I look at my own Facebook page, and no place else is like that. Facebook is where you are who you are. Facebook has the opportunity to be ginormous.”

“Facebook, if I could afford it, I would buy it in a heartbeat.”

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