So the day that would never arrive has dawned. Open Source Media finally got off the ground with a great deal of schmoozing and feel-good speeches. That’s great, and I wish them all the luck in the world. I just don’t think it’s a great idea for the Boyz. There are a few reasons for this.
Steven den Beste is worried about all of this. (If there’s any way to link to an individual post at Chizumatic, I haven’t found it yet. Just look for the essay that starts “20051116: Single points of failure…”) The reason why is that it puts a great deal of blogs that he now reads on one platform, which means that a great deal of content is now on a single point of failure. This is proof positive that Steven is first and foremost an engineer.
Still, he makes a good point. The core reason that the Internet was created was to disperse communications so they couldn’t be destroyed in the event of a nuclear war. It wouldn’t take nearly as much firepower to down OSM. A few lawsuits would do it.
The main appeal for OSM seems to be the promise of ad revenue. People who have been struggling with trying to make blogging pay think that they’ll sign up, blog as usual, and then the cash will come rolling in. I really doubt this is going to happen.
I know that I’ve raised the question of getting some cash for blogging in the past, but it was all a bit of japery. Andrew Sullivan managed to get some hefty bucks for this little hobby of ours, as does Kos and a few others. But I really don’t think there’s enough ad dollars out there to pay off everyone who blogs.
I was extremely fortunate to meet someone who was involved even before they laid the keel for OSM. Dennis the Peasant is a very smart cookie, a lot smarter than I am. He jumped ship long before the blueprints were sent to the shipyard because he was sure that it would sink as soon as it rolled off the stays. (How’s that for beating an allegory into submission?)
Dennis makes some very interesting points from a business standpoint. He came away from the whole thing with a boatload of frustration, so it’s tough for someone with no business experience (such as myself) to be able to tell if his pessimism for OSM’s chances are sour grapes or savvy financial acumen. The only thing I can say is that he convinced me that he knew business theory and accounting practices, and I’m not at all sure that anyone else involved has as much experience.
Like I said before, I hope that the whole thing is a big success. Nothing would please me more than to see OSM get to be so big that there’s a repeat of the payola radio scandal, but with blogs this time around. I would certainly cry myself to sleep every night if Madison Ave. firms started dispatching vans full of high-class hookers and envelopes of cash all over the portion of the Blogosphere that OSM controls and we didn’t sign up in time. Something tells me that it isn’t about to happen, though.
Keep in mind that I’m just a contributor here and have little influence as to business decisions. If Jonathan decides to sign up with OSM then that is that. I’m just a bit leery of the idea.
Steven tells me in the comments that I got it wrong. Dennis the Peasant didn’t leave OSM voluntarily. He was booted out by Roger Simon at the same time they informed 230 other bloggers that they were no longer part of the system.