Open Salon is out in beta, and it appears to be a pretty decent idea at first. Basically, it is an opportunity for you to get a hosted blog, much like WordPress.com or Blogger (should you still want to use that one), but with two nice little extra features:
- More coverage, both on the Open Salon front page, which updates with a new “issue” daily, being selected stories from the bloggers, and in the future, from Salon.com itself.
- You can earn tips, being money paid by generous readers of your excellent posts.
The latter is interesting, but also a bit scary.
Tips range from $0.01 to $1,000, although most of it should be in the $1 range I’d reckon. The tipping, or payment if you will, is handled by Revolution MoneyExchange, and you get $10 to tip away with if you sign up for the beta. Of course, if someone wants to claim the money you’ve tipped them with, s/he’ll has to sign up as well. A clever way to get users, and possibly give PayPal a little nudge, perhaps.
So if you get started, you get $10 to tip with, and it seems easy enough to tip away. But then what, when the $10 is up, will you still tip for good content?
My guess is no, at least not more often than you click a Donate button on a blog, just because it wrote something good. In fact, I’d like to voice the same concerns, if you’d call them that, as JR Raphael over at The Inquisitr:
Blog networks may be notorious for paying tiny percentages, but at least they’re paying something to the people who give them content. This system might seem more reasonable if it were to provide some kind of base compensation, even if a small one, onto which the tips would be added. As it stands, though, the model sets a dangerous new precedent for how mainstream(ish) media could approach the Web 2.0 world.
That doesn’t mean that I think that Open Salon is doomed, no, on the contrary, I think it has some potential. There is always people looking to break through, and Open Salon, with its proposed content picks and pushes, might end up being a good way. And after all, perhaps the readership is adult and caring enough to tip as well? Or, as Caroline McCarthy wraps up her CNet post:
But the idea of this might make me inclined to write something of decent quality for Open Salon and see if I get some pizza money in return. Especially if I knew that Bill Gates were reading, or something.
Curious minded reads up on Tippem, the tipping system, and checks out the FAQ before venturing into Open Salon head first, with great content that could’ve ended up on your blog. After all, that can earn you some ad dollars too.
Will you give Open Salon a go? What do you think of the concept? Tell us in the comments!
Thord Daniel Hedengren is a designer, writer, and blogger, and also the former editor of The Blog Herald. He used to be a hotshot in the gaming industry in Sweden, but sold everything and went International. Most recently he wrote a book called Smashing WordPress: Beyond the Blog, and does loads of kickass design.