Blogcritics has launched, promising the ‘best writers’ online talking about music and stuff. I didn’t recognise any of the names myself but that’s fine, right? An opportunity to find some good new online writers. The issues some people have with Blogcritics’ self-promoting style aren’t much of a problem for me – they’re not denying there are other critics out there, after all – but I think the format is a big own goal.

Why? Because the nice part – and the unique part – of reading criticism in a blog is that it comes from somebody you’ve got to know, via the rest of their writing. Even when the style is reviewer-formal the context is one of informality, a friendly recommendation or warning maybe. (Several of the reviews on Blogcritics seem to start from a sense that ‘critics’ – the professional kind – can’t be trusted to give you the straight deal like regular folks can.) So the reviews on, out of the context of their weblogs, lose that context – and to be frank they then lose any uniqueness a blog-based criticism site might have had. What we’ve got here is a series of consumer opinions – no different really from Amazon reader reviews or Epinions. I’m not sure how this problem could be solved (links back to the actual blogs?) but for the moment Blogcritics feels oddly anonymous.