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nanopublishing

noun [uncountable]

low-cost online publishing which uses techniques based on blogging (writing weblogs) to target a specific audience

nanopublisher

noun [countable]

nanopublished

adjective

'Nanopublishing will not replace magazine publishing or mass media. It is a new opportunity. It won't make money for political punditry or for the diaries of college students. But it will work for gadgets and sex and special interests such as disease – imagine a great weblog for diabetics – because it is so cheap to publish.'

The Guardian 30th January 2003

'Nanopublisher Nick Denton is apparently making cash from his sites …'

livejournal.com 26th November 2004

A weblog, or blog, is an online personal journal which is frequently updated and usually intended for general public consumption, often incorporating subjects of topical interest. The practice of blogging (writing weblogs), which began to emerge in the late nineties, has steadily gained in popularity during the last two or three years, with issues such as support or opposition to the war with Iraq triggering more widespread use of blogs as a platform for expression of opinions in a variety of political and social contexts (though not without potential risks, as a recent BuzzWord article on the new term dooced illustrates).

with minimal start-up and maintenance costs, but the potential to generate commission through links to Amazon and other retail sites, weblogs such as Gizmodo have inspired other blogging entrepreneurs to invest time and money in nanopublishing

Though weblogs have traditionally been of personal and non-commercial origin, entrepreneurs in the blogging community have more recently begun to realize that they have potential in reaching a very large audience quickly and cheaply. Blogs can be exploited for marketing, advertising and media purposes, targeting audiences with specific opinions or interests. This kind of activity has given rise to a recent neologism in online business: nanopublishing, with the noun nanopublisher coined to refer to bloggers who engage in it. There is also some evidence for a derived adjective nanopublished.

Among the first examples of nanopublishing blogs was Gizmodo, launched in August 2002 by New York based publisher Nick Denton. Gizmodo is aimed at gadget enthusiasts, with almost every gadget reviewed there linked to a purchase page on the Amazon shopping site. With minimal start-up and maintenance costs, but the potential to generate commission through links to Amazon and other retail sites, weblogs such as Gizmodo have inspired other blogging entrepreneurs to invest time and money in nanopublishing.

Background – nanopublishing

The word nanopublishing was coined by Jeff Jarvis, creative director of the US company Advance Publications Inc. Jarvis first used the term after being shown Gawker, a New York media gossip weblog launched by Nick Denton in December 2002. The prefix nano- is derived from the Greek word nanos, meaning 'dwarf', and is used figuratively in the word to denote the idea of 'publishing on an extremely small scale'. An alternative term incorporating the same idea is thin media.

The term weblog first came into general recognition in 1997. The original use of its shortened form blog is thought to be attributed to Californian Peter Merholz, who in May 1999 posted the following in his weblog:

'For What It's Worth: I've decided to pronounce the word "weblog" as wee-blog. Or "blog" for short.'

Blog was immediately adopted as a noun, and as a verb meaning 'to write weblogs', and gained currency when later in the same year the web publishing tool Blogger was launched by Pyra Labs, a dotcom that was bought by Google in 2003. The term blogger subsequently came into general use as a reference to 'someone who writes weblogs.'

by Kerry Maxwell, author of Brave New Words

This article was first published on 5th February 2005.

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