While I’ve been ranting, er, raving about the value – and validity – of business blogs, a parallel phenomenon has taken off in the past year that you may or may not be familiar with. It’s niche-content blogs supported by advertising. And they’re doing very well, thank you. Two of the key players in the blog publishing world spoke yesterday at Ad-Tech: Jason McCabe Calacanis of Weblogs, Inc. and Nick Denton of Gawker Media. These aren’t blogs published by a company as an online branding or relationship-building tactic. These are blogs whose purpose…

… is to lure you in with engaging content written by passionate experts… and hope you’ll stay long enough to click on the contextually relevant ads.

Let’s look at some examples of Weblogs properties. There are currently 60 of them, spanning a range of B2C and B2B topics. Techno / gadgetry is the most popular topic, as you might imagine:

Autoblog (“obsessively” covers the auto industry)
The RSS Weblog
The Open Source Weblog
The Mortgages Weblog

Note the clean, simple design of all the Weblogs listed above. Very much on purpose, according to Calacanis. You get your content… and you get your ads. But not much else to distract you.

And now for some Gawker blogs:

Gizmodo (the gadgets blog)
Gawker (New York gossip)
Wonkette (Washington gossip)

These blogs are using Weblog publishing software to update quickly, easily and cost effectively. But they’re not the kind of blogs I’m talking about when I refer to business blogging. If there’s a point to this ramble, it’s that a blog is just a publishing tool… and you can use it to add an always-on, instant component to your online marketing mix.