Monday, May 9

I Repeat: There is No Revolution.

IN a New York Times interview by Tom Zeller, Nick Denton on Gawker Media disavows the claim that blogging is the new way to get rich. Denton, owner of Gawker Media and publisher of at least a dozen blogs and more to come, tells us that while blogging has turned out to be profitable, there is still no blog revolution.

Each Gawker blog is expected to have at least 12 posts a day, of which 8 should be posted by noon. In a published interview, I Want Media estimates that each blog’s “editor” gets something in the ballpark area of $2,500 a month. Profitable, yes, definitely, Gawker managing editor Lockhart Steele concurs. "We're very small, have no overhead, no office space. Everybody works from home. And you heard what we pay our writers. Nick founded Gawker very specifically with the idea of starting a whole bunch of blogs in very niche topic areas, hire freelance writers to write each of them, hopefully draw a lot of eyeballs and then sell advertising around it. He had the idea that no one site would probably ever make a fortune. But if you have 10 sites each making $75,000 a year, then, O.K., maybe it's not like Condé Nast money, but it's a nice little business."

Gawker understands the need for finding its consumer niche, and knows the advantages of having an advertiser foot your bills. So all in all, seventy five grand is a tidy little amount, aight? Enough to keep the business in the black, but a business nonetheless. Some critics see the Gawker business model as commercializing blogging, compromising the independent spirit by committing to a publishing schedule. Blogging is supposed to be indie, and turning it into a profit venture is tantamount to killing the news. And yet, some other quarters are convinced that Gawker was never that indie to begin with. It’s old media disguised as edgy new media.

But isn’t that what happens after some time? This new new thing will transform into the status quo, with its own guidelines and profit margins. What I’m more concerned with is if this sort of business model is feasible in the Philppines. Taken loosely, blogging is still independent publishing that can be turned into some kind of empowering tool. The net is still all about the survival of the fittest. There are lots of blogs floating around, but not everything’s that readable, and a lot of them will probably be discontinued once the blogger gets bored. A sizeable amount of the Pinoy online community still has to churn out pages and sites that are readable and appealing. Add to the equation the fact that only a small number of PInoys are actually plugged online, and most of them visit only email sites and friendster, you realize that it’s still a long way to go.

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