In my opinion, most storage ex-bloggers tried to write for somebody else rather than for themselves. What they failed to do was to treat the readers, however few, as peers and build relationship. They just wanted to sell or show off something to their readers.
I firmly believe page hits, clicks, links and the number of readers don't count for much. What matters most is the level of interaction with readers, not only online through blog comments but also offline through emails, phone calls and face to face encounters. Differences of opinion doesn't matter, take solace in the fact that at least readers felt comfortable enough to share their opinions and express differences.
Even though directed at companies, The Cluetrain Manifesto gives advise that every storage blogger should heed:
Can you put yourself out there: say what you think in your voice, present who you really are, show what you really care about? Do you have any genuine passion to share? Can you deal with such honesty? Such exposure?The reader sentiment, in my small sampling at SNW, about storage bloggers was very consistent. The readers expressed liking storage bloggers with personality and have one or more qualities of being opinionated, straight-shooters, analytical, passionate and even somewhat of nut-case. The blog readers in storage industry and in end-user storage community subscribe to most known storage blogs but they related to very few of them.
Actually, no corporate storage blog made the grade on building relationship with the readers, especially the readers from end-user community. The reasons for skepticism were quite varied like only covering topics aligned with the interest of their companies to when do these supposedly busy executives find time to write blog posts. Most readers wouldn't be able to differentiate most blog posts from the company marketing collateral if both were presented in same format. Some even assumed that topics and majority of content for corporate storage blogs may be generated by ghostwriters and marketing groups.
The data storage professionals who work in end-user environment also felt uncomfortable blogging about storage. The reluctance was particularly strong with ones who are involved in evaluation and design of storage solutions. They felt that the topics of interest to them like architecture, design, performance and problems are typically protected by vendors confidentiality agreement as well as fear of potential reprisal from storage vendors and their own management. My suggestion to end-users was to blog anonymously, as guest writer on other storage blogs or just feed the sources they trust, whether analysts, journalists or bloggers doesn't matter.
Hearing end-users at SNW unsolicited praising IBRIX, Isilon, 3Par, Gear6, and Acopia while thrashing products like SVC from established vendors, my advise to storage startups is to start blogging and also facilitate end-users to blog that are testing and using your product.