The Blogosphere freaks out again over content producers making money

Filed as General on July 20, 2006 9:18 am

I continue to believe that there are a large group of vocal individuals out there in the blogosphere that believe that any form of making money online is a near-sacrilege upon the high altar of what the web was “really supposed to be about”.

First, they flipped out over the first banner ad.

Then, they flipped out over the first text ads.

They continued to go nutty over larger ad sizes, such as the skyscraper and the medium/large rectangles.

Then came blogs. Blogs were pure and innocent. Some even had halos.

Then Jason Calacanis came along with Nick Denton around the same time and began paying bloggers.

“We’re all going to hell!”, some said…

Now the blogosphere freaks out yet again when Weblogs, Inc. CEO Jason Calacanis offers to pay the top content contributors to Digg / Reddit / Flickr / Newsvine $1,000 monthly for submitting content to the new Netscape.

Based on the reaction from the blogosphere yesterday, I would say that Jason might have been better perceived if he had taken a few babies out in the middle of the street and pumped bullets into them.

And once again, the mainstream blogosphere is dead wrong on this issue.

Jason has managed, if it works, to provide income to some of the better content contributors out there and use their knack for finding the top stories to drive traffic and repeat visits to Netscape. And I believe his idea will pay off in the long run.

Others will continue to knash their teeth and scream about the outrage – some even go as far as say that this is a huge red flag at netscape.

I think they’re all wrong – and this will drive contributions and traffic at Netscape. It’s not a sign of desperation, it’s a sign of a savvy marketing leader making a move to trump his competition.

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  1. By John Evans (SYNTAGMA) posted on July 20, 2006 at 10:38 am
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    As I aways say (when asked) media is about publishing, and you don’t attract the best authors without paying for them. It’s a no-brainer. Do these folk think the great print publishing houses were built on altruism, or did Atlas merely shrug?

  2. By Ted posted on July 20, 2006 at 11:32 am
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    One thing that you’ve got to admit though, is that it changes the nature of “social news”. Why would I contribute for free when others are getting paid?

  3. By Jake posted on July 20, 2006 at 3:17 pm
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    Two of the top motivators to humanity are 1) enjoyment and 2) money. The blogosphere is so unique because it is powered mostly because bloggers enjoy what they do, throwing a couple of bucks at them certainly isn’t going to hinder the rest of the community because most of us do it just for the fun/enjoyment of doing it.

    And besides, $1000 a month may be a nice bonus but it is certainly not enough to let someone quit their day job. It will just be a nice incentive to test Netscape for those that qualify (i.e. top ranking Reddit users), and be a little bit of vindication for all of the countless hours they fried their eyeballs searching the internet :)

    I say more power to them…

  4. By John posted on July 20, 2006 at 3:27 pm
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    It has sooo much more to do with marketing and promotion than the actual offer of pay. Raiding the competition is almost incidental to the real benefits.

  5. By Mike posted on July 20, 2006 at 6:07 pm
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    Their outcry makes me want to go find a way to make even more money and market my blog even harder.

  6. By Jessica Doyle posted on July 20, 2006 at 6:40 pm
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    A thousand bucks a month is something many people could actually live off of because they in fact already lead a frugal life. If people, generally speaking, can in fact make a living at blogging then why not go for it! It all comes down to personality / honesty and belief in yourself that you are not alone.

    For every personality out there, there are many others reading, who have a similar personality however, the one who blogs with said personality is more than likely to get monetized eventually, simply because they will continue to attract like minds. The real beauty of the blogosphere though is that you will inadvertently attract those readers, and bloggers, of a different mindset to your blog. Cross-pollination?

    In the end blogging is becoming the new TV. The difference being that blogging is something everyone can do and contribute to. Even if you do not have a blog you can contribute through comments. It is the world’s largest live conversation on everything! How wonderful!

  7. By Geoffrey Gonzalez posted on July 20, 2006 at 7:50 pm
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    Sorry, to ad this piece. People really got disturbed with those small camera POP ups.

  8. By Duncan posted on July 20, 2006 at 9:50 pm
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    Matt
    First, this is your BEST post since your took the Blog Herald off my hands! by far! Got to admit I was a bit shocked at first with what JCal was proposing, but the more I think about it, the more I know he’s right, and your right in saying that others are wrong…you’ll only have to sift through the archives here at the Blog Herald to see what happened when (god help us all) people started making money from blogs. As much as it is contriversial, I do think JCal is ahead of the game on this one, and there is no reason why social networking (for lack of a better term) cant be monoterized like blogging was. You’ve not mentioned it here, but I’ve read it elsewhere, that isn’t it amazing how the elite rally against this stuff, god help us all if the plebs actually get paid for their work!

    Good stuff!

  9. By ashwin posted on July 21, 2006 at 4:42 pm
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    Great piece. We are launching something similar in india via smondo.com. Check out http://www.smondo.com

  10. By optimus posted on July 22, 2006 at 2:52 pm
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    I’m inclined to agree with Matt here. Digg isn’t a non-profit. Digg isn’t owned by its contributors. Digg users provide an input to the business (submissions and rankings) and they are compensated by a sense of contribution to the community, fame, and all the other intangibles associated with being a member of the blogosphere. Digg profits by offering a value proposition (submissions in exchange for valuable intangibles) that resonates with their users. For readers, the value proposition is a set of posts that provides interesting and valuable information to them.

    Weblogs Inc. is offering a different value proposition for readers and contributors. Contributors get paid in cash instead of community goodwill. Readers get a similar set of filtered news and information. Will readers trust content generated this way? Will the right contributors be willing to trade cash for their intangibles? Who knows, but there’s nothing remotely unethical in Weblogs’ offering.

  11. Calacanis goes deeper on his $1000 offer for Netscape.com contributors at The Blog HeraldJuly 23, 2006 at 7:48 am