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November 17, 2005

Open Source Confusion

Stop the ACLU rounds up reactions from the blogosphere, much of which is critical and skeptical.

RiehlWorldView is one of the skeptics, and has decided to remain an independent. Then again, he's got major-league traffic lately, and I'm not sure he'd have much to gain from aggregating with a host of (mostly) smaller blogs.

I don't know either way. I will say that, from the beginning, I never really understood what OSM was intended to be. I was one of the bloggers contacted for early sign-up -- I didn't really sign up; really they just wanted me to sign up so they could present potential investors with a list of blogs that might be involved in the thing when it launched -- and I never "got it."

Not to be too mercenary, but the only thing that I really understood and anticipated was the possibility of higher ad rates, something that I thought a bunch of big machers, backed by venture capital, might be able to swing. But as everyone now knows, the rates offered by OSM are not so terribly different from those offered by BlogAds. A little higher, maybe, but then the (basically) flat-rate contract offered by OSM doesn't allow for increasing rates based on increasing traffic. And of course most bloggers plan to, or at least hope to, grow their audience.

The other part of it -- the "Drudge Report Round Up" of blogs, the "original reporting from all over the globe" part -- I don't really get at all. There already is a Drudge Report of blogs-- called Instapundit. And original reporting is rare, only happening during a major disaster or, even rarer, a controversy in which there can be some advancement of the story through largely Internet-based investigation (i.e., Rathergate). I don't know how the fact that there are a lot of non-reportage blogs now aggregated into a big confederation of bloggers is going to increase the opportunities for original reportage.

There will be more original reporting on the Internet, but it will still be quite rare, and I don't see how OSM is going to change that much. Except that, OSM being dedicated to such original blog reportage, they will of course feature such posts and send traffic to such bloggers, increasing the benefit to bloggers for doing such reportage and thereby encouraging it.

But then... Instapundit and other big bloggers already tend to highlight original blog-reportage, even when it involves fairly local issues.

I always thought that someone in the organization was pretty psyched about creating a truly revolutionary media venture, and was determined to have such a revolution as part of the company's mission statement, but... never really got around to figuring out how exactly that revolution would come to be. Kinda like the underpants-theiving gnomes on South Park. They knew what they had and they knew where they wanted to go, but that crucial "Step Two" was always left blank, the details to be provided at a later date.

So I don't know. There's a bottom-line cash-money part of the project which is, while nice, very incrementalist, and a more ambitious and idealistic plan for a really revolutionary change in information-delivery, but which seems sketchy and unlikely.


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posted by Ace at 05:00 PM

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