I generally don’t like blog networks. Too often they’re superficial, cheaply constructed communities used by the creators to give themselves a sense of belonging and purpose in the blogosphere. Some of the most prominent examples of this are on Livejournal, where anyone will create a clique if they’re an emo kid, a self-proclaimed “hot mom”, or even happen to hate Rachael Ray.
There was only one community that caught my eye in the four years I’ve been blogging. Several prolific sites I frequent, such as graphicPush, Snook, 456 Berea Street, and even Lorelle feature a small leaf on their site. I had to learn more about this little universal logo that was on many of the sites that inspired me, and the network called 9rules.
I discovered that they’re the only community with a philosophy and quality with which I agreed. As on their website, “9rules is a community of the best weblogs in the world on a variety of topics. We started 9rules to give passionate writers more exposure and to help readers find great blogs on their favorite subjects. It’s difficult to find sites worth returning to, so 9rules brings together the very best of the independent web all under one roof.”
Their philosophy is based on a set of nine rules to live by:
- Love what you do.
- Never stop learning.
- Form works with function.
- Simple is beautiful.
- Work hard, play hard.
- You get what you pay for.
- When you talk, we listen.
- Must constantly improve.
- Respect your inspiration.
Although I can say that I agree and follow every single one of them, number eight particularly resonated with me. It’s one of my reasons for living, and partially why I started blogging in the first place.
Becoming a member, however, isn’t a simple task. Every few months, they open a 24 hour window for people to submit their blogs. 9rules doesn’t have a specific criteria for what to accept. Sites are judged on consistency and quality of material, as well the passion for the subjects being blogged.
The community leaders go through every site together, often several times, before deciding whether to let someone join. They also maintain an exclusivity clause; members aren’t allowed to be part of any other community. There was even a purge once, to clean the network of any sites whose quality had dropped.
In the past, the acceptance rates have been between 8–16%. The most recent round (the fifth) was last October, with 1190 blogs being submitted. At the end of this round, the number of accepted members stands at a tentative 134.
Two weeks ago, I found out that I’m one of them.