At home yesterday morning, my wife looked over my shoulder as I was reading James Fallows’ Sunday NY Times article The Twilight of the Information Middlemen. “That doesn’t sound good,” she said. But headlines can be deceiving and even The New York Times publishes idiotic articles, even by well-known writers. (This seems to be increasingly the case.) Fallows argues that a) the rise of blogs, and b) the web-availability of publicly-financed information (weather, scientific journals, etc.) are daggers in the heart of various information intermediaries. He’s dead wrong.

Now, the most interesting things about blogs are business models and ways to aggregates them – and filtering out the stuff that Fallows claims “inspires despair”. The need for Kinja, Newsgator and the like rises dramatically as the number of blogs increase. So, there will be a battle of the middlemen in the blog space just as there is in the SEC filing space where GSI, Edgar-Online, 10K Wizard and Disclosure survive aggregating and acting as middlemen for free, publicly-available information. Only business reasons prevent Elsevier from surviving as a middleman for scientific journals – poor pricing and limited value-add.

Ten years ago I gave a presentation to Knight–Ridder executives that focused on the potential disintermediation of Dialog as the web became more prevalent. But Dialog didn’t languish for a decade because it was the twilight of the middlemen, it just couldn’t figure out how to be a competitive intermediary and better meet it’s customer’s needs. Rather than the twilight, we’re in the early morning hours in the life of middlemen.