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Blogfest hangover! No booze sponsorships or non-Brooklyn celebrities at this year’s webfest!

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The Brooklyn Blogfest is going back to basics.

This year’s annual gathering of the borough’s blogerati will be a decidedly low-key event — an obvious reaction to last year’s debacle, which featured a self-promoting appearance by non-Brooklynite Spike Lee, plus a sponsorship deal with Absolut Vodka, which was pushing a grotesque green-apple–flavored “Brooklyn” spirit.

The resulting blog-lash prompted organizer Louise Crawford to retool her May 12 event at the Bell House. Indeed, bona fide blogger Jeff Jarvis will be the main attraction.

“I can understand why last year was problematic,” said Crawford, who writes the Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn blog. “It’s just a fine line you walk when you have a sponsor — how do make it that the sponsor doesn’t inadvertently take over an event where it feels like it’s an advertisement, as opposed to just a behind-the-scenes support of the event?’ I would chalk it up to a learning curve rather than bad motives or selling out.”

So this year’s Blogfest will feature its usual video tribute to photo bloggers and special interest break-out groups. And keynote speaker Jarvis, who covers media and news at buzzmachine.com, will talk about monetizing blogs.

“With Jeff being a keynote speaker this year, I think it’s back on the right track,” said John Loscalzo, aka Homer Fink, who oversees the Brooklyn Heights Blog.

That’s positively a rave from Loscalzo, who last year unleashed his bloggers on their biggest quarry ever — another blogger.

“It was like trying to get backstage at a Justin Bieber concert,” Loscalzo’s told us after last year’s blogfest. “With access being so hard, I think people made the association, ‘Oh, they got a sponsor this year, and it’s impossible to get in — who do they think they are?’”

A back-to-basics approach could ease some hurt feelings, but it won’t ease the pain attendees will feel in their wallets: No sponsor means a $15 admission fee and a cash bar versus last year’s free admission and open bar.

But that’s how it was at the very first blogfest six year ago at the Old Stone House.

Not that having a sponsor wouldn’t be nice.

“If a sponsor did come along, I wouldn’t be adverse to discussing it and playing with that idea,” said Crawford. “It’s always a help.”

Brooklyn Blogfest at the Bell House [149 Seventh St. between Second and Third avenues in Gowanus, (718) 643-6510], May 12 at 7:30 pm. $15. For info, visit www.brooklynblogfest.com.

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Reader Feedback

VLM from Park Slope says:
Considering how badly Louise's blog sucks these days, it's a wonder anyone shows up to her self-serving blogfest. There are so many more better and worthier bloggers who should run this thing. Take a hint already, lady.
March 29, 2011, 1:15 am
VLM from Park Slope says:
Also L-O-L at the blogfest website still saying, "Brooklyn Blogfest 2011 is currently under maintenance. We should be back on March 25 2011. Thank you for your patience."

What kind of amateur hour is this anyway?
March 29, 2011, 1:16 am
fatimah from cobble hill says:
What are you guys talking about? What is a "blog fest"? A mind on blog fest is a terrible thing to waste. Spike Lee is a sell out.
March 29, 2011, 6:03 am
Bob from Brooklyn Heights says:
Last year's event was hardly a "debacle." The crowd did overwhelm the space (it was extremely hard to hear much during the panel discussions), but I'll take sponsored booze over a cash bar any day.

The most aggressive criticism last year was lobbed by Louise's competitor — the folks at Brownstoner.com. The Brownstoner people make their money off events like Brooklyn Flea, and they are obviously pissed they didn't do a Brooklyn blogfest before Louise organized one.

It's amazing that the Brooklyn Paper is shilling for the Brownstoner folks (who are probably Gersh's biggest competitor, and who positively KILL the Brooklyn Paper at event marketing) while dissing Louise (their former columnist).
March 29, 2011, 8:09 am
Joey from Clinton Hills says:
I was hoping Glenn Beck would make an appearance. Also, everyone should come in the underpants, like real bloggers.
March 29, 2011, 10:51 am
Not Goish from Prospect Heights says:
Just Go Away, Louise, please just GO AWAY!
This woman is not representative of 1) bloggers and 2) Park Slope residents and 3) Brooklyn residents as a whole. Just some awful old hippie trustafarian with a ginormous amount of free time on her hands.
March 30, 2011, 12:08 am

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