Even I am getting bored with commenting on Mr Draper's latest organ, but something he said in THIS article from the Guardian's Digital Technology Blog is worthy of further discussion. On Monday I wrote on CiF...
Draper plans to spend three days a week on the site. That's not enough. He needs to breathe it morning, noon and night, especially in the first six months. It's his baby and it is his efforts that will make it succeed or fail. He's got to be the inspirational driving force behind it. It needs to be updated many times a day. Just posting the odd new article will not be enough. I update my site between 5 and 10 times a day. ConservativeHome has something new on it virtually every hour. More than half of my 80,000 monthly visitors come to my site more than three times a day. I just clicked on LabourList and nothing new had been added in the last 14 hours. OK, OK, it's in beta mode, but most people judge a site from their first couple of visits. It's not good enough to plead that the site doesn't launch properly for another months. As far as most people are concerned, it's live now and that's the end of it.
The Digital Technology blog asked Draper to respond...
Draper rejected Monday's comments by Iain Dale that Draper wouldn't be able to run the blog properly just three days each week because he'd need to "breathe it morning, noon and night". "He doesn't get it," said Draper. "I'm not the sole contributor like he is, so even if I decide to lie in a hammock for a day there will still be five posts a day on the site and hundreds of comments." Draper says the "received wisdom" about opposition being stronger in the blogosphere is wrong. "Look at LabourList or look at Kevin Maguire in the Mirror - there's no problem attacking the opposition. We need a tonic to the Tory ideas and values of greed and short-termism - those are all valid targets. The idea that the progressive left has nothing to rail against is just wrong."
Derek, mate, it's you who doesn't get it. You might not be writing each post, but you will be editing, soliciting articles, cajoling, persuading and God knows what else. ConHome has two full time staff to do this. If you really think you can take such a hands off approach I tell you now, LabourList will fail, and deserve to.
I've just taken a look at the site and noticed that not a single new story appeared yesterday. Presumably that was one of Derek's days off. Incredible considering the site only launched on Sunday. And with one exception, every single post published so far has had one intention - to slag off the Tories. Websites fail if they are constantly negative and have no positive narrative.
I have wished LabourList well, and continue to do so. But the initial reaction to it has been far from universally approving, and I can see why.
This will be my last comment on this subject for some considerable time, you will be relieved to hear.
UPDATE: This week's New Statesman carries an article on Draper's site by James Macintyre - it's not online yet so I can't link to it. But it carries a quote from Derek Draper, allegedly shouted to LabourHome's Alex Hilton at a Labour fringe meeting last September after Labour Home had published a poll showing Labour supporters were very unhappy with Gordon Brown...
“If you want to wake up in March 2010 and say you were the star blogger of the election, and you got on to Radio 5 Live twice, but the price you pay for that is costing Labour votes and David Cameron in Downing Street, then you can fuck off out of the Labour Party and run your own independent blog somewhere. But the point is no one would bother reading you, would they?”
So there we have it, a tacit admission that LabourList will be nothing more than a government parrot.