November 22, 2005

Why won't those jealous outsiders stop being so mean?

The Pajamas Media Death Pool.

UPDATE: Joe Gandelman: "You KNEW it HAD to happen: a site has been started to formally start a deathwatch for Pajamas Media.... Why did you KNOW it had to happen?"

48 comments:

DonSurber said...

I heard from an inside source that tomorrow the name will be "PB&J Media"
Many of us are in the same corner

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Well that was fun. Mean. But fun.

filch said...

Oh wow your title is brilliant!!!

What will those jealous outsiders do next?

PJM Death Pool said...

It's mean, but not unearned.

We're not asking for much to chip in. Details should go up tomorrow. But hey, we're not open source. We're working out the details. Just like Roger and Charles. How meta.

If it succeeds within one year or the span of the OSM/PJM contract (whichever) we'll refund the money... and probably launch another death pool.

Icepick said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Icepick said...

Wow, that last comment was Craptacular in its horrible spelling. Start again:

Death, the post was damning with its links. Laurence Simon is really down on the concept at the moment. Yikes! I'm going to keep watching his site because he is hinting that he is about to take some unreasonable action. We can only hope!

Meade said...

"It's mean, but not unearned."

Like the death penalty. Not that the death penalty can't be fun.

PJM Death Pool said...

Was: Death. Now: Should be PJM Death Pool?

Icepick: More links are forthcoming. We'll document this, as it goes down. If it takes a whole year? We'll be there.

Must add: We didn't know OSM/PJM would be this bad. We have zero issues with the people involved. We didn't care until this week.

But seriously, this is a debacle. A death pool is long past due.

WhatsAPundit said...

So Ms. Althouse, how much of your traffic right now is directly related to trashing PJ Media?

This is really pretty amazing. Haven't seen this much mud without scantily-clad girls or pigs involved.

No, wait....

Ann Althouse said...

Whatsapundit: You ought to take into account the links I'm losing from the insiders! Do you think I gain or lose in traffic by talking about them? The only reason I'm so conspicuous talking about how terrible the Pajamas project is is because so many others are refraining from talking about it, because they don't want big guys to link-starve them.

You can click on my Site Meter and see all my statistics, by the way.

WhatsAPundit said...

The great thing about the blogosphere (at the moment, at least) is that the idea of insiders and outsiders is pretty lame. Instalanches are nice (or so I'm told) and getting a nod from the Corner or the Note can make a blogger's month. But a blogger builds a readership (or not) and writes for that readership (or not).

Seems to me you have a very nice readership, lack of launch party notwithstanding.

For what it's worth, I'm in agreement that PJ Media's launch was badly done. I just don't understand the food-fight atmosphere.

Or is there an answer to PJ Media lurking in the wings, waiting to snatch away all those latent ad dollars that PJM would otherwise lock away forever.

It's early days, I think.

Tex MacRae said...

Speaking of sitemeters, this blog is linked in an OSM/PJ post today.

Here's the blog's sitemeter.


I could only find two hits from osm.org on it.

Ann Althouse said...

Whatsapundit: "I just don't understand the food-fight atmosphere."

It's a little thing we call blogging. I'll be the last holdout keeping that spirit alive, if necessary.

Tex MacRae said...

Weird. Is that sitemeter link messed up or is it just me?

sitemeter

Do over.

nada said...

tex,

Another good dig. (On top of the one you had earlier, namely, that Ed Driscoll's wife is/was the Pajama/OSM lawyer.) Two hits ain't a lot. Though Roger said they've already gotten five million page views.

Andrew Shimmin said...

"The only reason I'm so conspicuous talking about how terrible the Pajamas project is is because so many others are refraining from talking about it, because they don't want big guys to link-starve them."

Oh! Now I get it; you're speaking truth to power. Kudos.

Ann Althouse said...

WhatsAPundit: "I just don't understand the food-fight atmosphere." Were you around for Rathergate? A blog swarm is the norm for a media screwup. This one has so many angles and so much material. What is notable is how little of a swarm there is!

Many are refraining from speaking, I'm guessing, out of fear of losing links. I chose not to, mostly because I had already posted about Pajamas last summer and it was thus one of my topics. It's one of the things I've kept a Google Alert for, for a long time.

In fact, I've pulled my punches. If I watched to do a full-out attack, it would be much stronger. I like a lot of the bloggers in the group and have benefited from their links in the past.

Anyway, I have no alternate program or financial interest here. My interest is in preserving and extending the great and beautiful phenomenon of independent blogging.

Tex MacRae said...

Emcliff,

It seems clear that OSM page views aren't translating into page views for the blogs linked in their posts.

As for Ed Driscoll's wife, I found her name by looking at who owned OSM.org and OpenSourceMedia.com domains (both are owned by Nina Yablok, Driscoll's wife.) I posted that info on one of Dennis the Peasant's comment threads and another commenter connected the dot's to Driscoll. It seems reasonable to assume that if she bought the domains for OSM she also did whatever due diligence was done in researching the names. If so, the ensuing debacle over the name might be at least partially her responsibility.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Notice the "New Coke" ad in the lower right sidebar.

Rich.

DonSurber said...

How about a contest: Guess when OSM has its first paid ad

protein wisdom said...

Ann --

I have no problem with your criticizing PJM (although I think the frequency with which you're doing it is a bit excessive).

But please -- can you stop it with the brave, "speaking Truth to POWER" schtick? I mean, look at your comments in this thread, each of them laying out how you are the champion of all those little blogs too afraid to level criticism. YOU'RE DOING IT FOR THEM! YOU'RE DOING IT FOR BLOGGING!

It's transparently self-aggrandizing.

By the way, how has Pajamas changed the individual bloggers involved, exactly? I mean, me -- I'm doing the same thing I've always done on my site. So are the other bloggers involved.

In fact, PM has done more to change your site, wouldn't you say?

Finally, I've yet to see a well-articulated argument about how constant criticism is protecting "the spirit of blogging" -- though that's the crusade you seem to want to claim you are fighting.

So please, help me out here.

Personally, I dont

Ann Althouse said...

Protein Wisdom: "can you stop it with the brave, "speaking Truth to POWER" schtick?"

No. I believe in decentralized, independent blogging. Too many times have I told the story of Roger L. Simon hanging up on me, so I won't repeat it, but let it be know that he hung up on me because I expressed, with fervor, the belief in the importance of the independent blogger. You can't handle this truth, Jeff, because you ... I won't say it. I will pull this punch. But, think hard, Jeff. It hurts, doesn't it?

protein wisdom said...

Don't pull the punch, Ann. Please, tell me in plain language.

Because honestly? You've been getting way too much mileage out of thinly veiled inferences and careful legal parsings.

Independent blogging? I don't get that. If your blog is aggregated or excerpted, does that rob you of your independence?

Please, expand on your thesis. I'm thinking really hard, and I just can't follow you.

I mean, at this point I'm tempted to suggest that maybe Roger hung up on you because you wouldn't get to point.

WhatsAPundit said...

"No. I believe in decentralized, independent blogging. Too many times have I told the story of Roger L. Simon hanging up on me, so I won't repeat it, but let it be know that he hung up on me because I expressed, with fervor, the belief in the importance of the independent blogger."

And PJ Media is going to ruin that, how?

The age of the gatekeeper (at least in regards to printed media) is ending. If you think PJ Media is going to reverse that trend, I would humbly suggest you've not been paying attention. At best, PJM will crash and burn if that's their plan. At worst, they'll crash and no one will notice, and some other set of idiots will try to turn back the clock.

Hate to break it to you, but my guess is a lot of the independents don't particularly want your protection from filthy lucre any more than the guys playing ball in the hood want protection from the pro scouts.

Or do you think blogging really needs an NCAA to protect the purity of the game? If so, I hear the U.N. is entertaining proposals.

Ann Althouse said...

Jeff: I think you've lost independence by connecting yourself to them they way you have. You now have a shared interest, and you're protecting them and sparing them mockery, which they obviously deserve, and which I think you'd admit if you weren't limited by self-interest. The only reason I stand out in the talk about Pajamas is because others are holding back.

The big master blog links only to the bloggers who signed on. In the old system, the one I support, people linked based on what was good. It was a decentralized, self-organizing system, and it is brilliant and beautiful. Blogging is about freedom of expression and the free flow of expression. Pajamas does not reflect those most basic values. Roger L. Simon, in his phone call to me, admitted that the project was all about making money. His point to me was that I should take it or leave it but certainly not talk about it. But I chose to talk about it, and it's certainly not because I see personal advantage in it.

Ann Althouse said...

Whatsapundit: First, I want bloggers to make money from their writing. I have BlogAds, and I rejected the Pajamas offer primarily because the dollar among was pathetically low for what they are asking. I'm amazed that other people thought it was a good idea to yoke themselves to an unknown entity for 18 months for so little. I want a flexible system for making money that the blogger controls -- basically, BlogAds.

Second, I agree with you that Pajamas will fail in its grand scheme. I object to what it hopes to do, but I'm not actually afraid that it will happen. Still, it deserves mockery. We mock everything else as we see fit. It's a big juicy target for mockery, and it irks me to see bloggers laying off -- out of disgusting deference to power.

Oh, by the way, have you member bloggers gotten the money yet? I don't see the ads on Jeff's site, so I'm guessing the money has not gone out. Why don't you blog about that, Jeff? Because you're yoked to their project.

Andrew Shimmin said...

It can't just be that it's boring? Bloggers aren't talking about OSM because they fear the boot of Roger L. Simon? Really?

If you want to talk about creepy conflicts of interest, how about BlogAds bloggers worrying whether their sweet, sweet ad revenue might dry up if the upstarts get any traction? Is that any less likely than OSM bloggers forming an OSM ghetto?

As for defending the bloggy tradition: I know that what I've always liked best about blogging was the endless carping on ad revenue. What could be bloggier?

protein wisdom said...

The big master blog links only to the bloggers who signed on. In the old system, the one I support, people linked based on what was good. It was a decentralized, self-organizing system, and it is brilliant and beautiful.

Are you talking about the blogroll? -- or the news items on the main page. Because under the news items I've seen links today to Think Progress and Kos, just to name two.

You now have a shared interest, and you're protecting them and sparing them mockery, which they obviously deserve, and which I think you'd admit if you weren't limited by self-interest. The only reason I stand out in the talk about Pajamas is because others are holding back.

Actually, I get paid no matter what, according to the contract. And as for sparing them "mockery," my first post about the enterprise was a fake liveblog that depicted Roger Simon as a wannabe hipster and Tim Blair as an angry drunk.

And today, I posted a piece introducing "Pajamas Media At Night" -- which touted the ridiculous iminent spectacle of Michael Barone and David Corn, along with C-list guests, doing a live streaming webcast in their sleepwear.

How that is sparing them I have no idea. Are you sure you aren't confusing "mockery" with incessant, self-important criticism?

Because what I haven't done, however, is try to bury an enterprise that is a week old -- mostly because it's my opinion (and I've written on this) that it's going to have to feel its way around for a niche. There's no harm in that -- bloggers do it all the time, and PJM is, when all is said in done, just another blog site, though it is looking for a way to advance the medium.

My guess is it will eventually do this, if it's to be done, through local citizen journalism, widely linked carnivals and debates, liveblogs, and -- eventually -- multimedia that includes video and audio glossing of major events.

But then, maybe I'm just a dreamer.

Getting back to you, though, you say that "blogging is about freedom of expression and the free flow of expression. Pajamas does not reflect those most basic values."

Howso? By aggregating opinion? Does Real Clear Politics express those values? Memeorandum? How is PJM not about freedom of expression, exactly? Because it has members contributors, like, say Volokh or Powerline?

Really, explain this to me.

And what any of that have to do with the individual bloggers, who are under no obligation to change their content? I certainly haven't. I simply gave PJM the permission to syndicate my stuff -- which I would have written anyway -- and place ads on my site.

My interest in PJM's success is no different than was my interest in Huffington's Toast -- the parody site for which I wrote -- except that this one is willing to pay me a bit more than I was making from blogads, and in exchange, it gets to use my content, which I'm hoping brings me new readers.

All of this is a violation of the spirit of blogging...how, exactly?

protein wisdom said...

Oh, by the way, have you member bloggers gotten the money yet? I don't see the ads on Jeff's site, so I'm guessing the money has not gone out. Why don't you blog about that, Jeff? Because you're yoked to their project.

Well, the contract calls for payment at the end of the quarter, which is not until latef December.

But I got the signing bonus, which I cashed and used to buy a Haitian boy to clean my floors and watch over me when I shoot up the heroin I bought with the rest of my filthy lucre.

Bill from INDC said...

you're protecting them and sparing them mockery, which they obviously deserve, etc.

I have no self-interest, having declined a Pajamas association (after considering it), so please don’t bother assigning assumed phantom motivations to my comment; other than being friends with Goldstein, I’m pretty neutral on the whole deal, even a bit negative, perhaps (as Jeff can attest). Yet I find your mockery to be ridiculously spiteful and obsessive.

The point where you really went off the deep end begins with the dire warnings about loss of independence for the bloggers involved. Pajamas Media can be reasonably described as a run-of-the-mill blog aggregator and new ad network a la Blogads, seeing as they don't have editorial control over the blogs in their network.

This is especially evident because some of the blogs in their fold have offered criticism of the venture, if moderately tempered. Just because criticism doesn't descend to "mockery" that Pajamas ostensibly "deserve(s)," does not give you some BRAVE TRUTHTELLING MORAL AUTHORITY as an independent observer, and your repeated claim of this high ground reeks of self-aggrandizement and situational rationale as a scaffold for your odd hostility. In fact, speaking as another independent observer, I think your tone since the launch reflects awfully poorly on you.

As far as the potential for Pajamas to represent a syndicate that trammels the merit-based linking in the blogosphere - well, there is that potential. I’ve had those concerns myself, largely because Instapundit already serves as the clearinghouse for worthy links, a teat from which you’ve certainly suckled disproportionately. BUT –

1. Whenever I saw the umpteenth link from Reynolds to Althouse, I didn’t shake my fist that he ignored a piece of original reporting that I did in favor of a run-of-the-mill Althouse post, pissing and moaning and wondering why I wasn’t special enough to be in the rarefied cabal of circular linking law professors. Let’s face it, you have an in. And by a slightly modified version of your logic, you are part of the MAN’S CONSPIRACY to keep the worthy little guy DOWN. Just because you aren’t getting paid (or vice versa) doesn’t mean you aren’t throwing a wrench in a system of TRUE merit.

2. More seriously, whenever I get the impulse to fret about the potential of Pajamas to hoard traffic and ignore worthy bloggers outside the network, I first say ... “well, wait and see.”

Then I realize that a bunch of talent banding together to solicit ads and try and make money from blogging is a worthy business endeavor, and any starry-eyed nostalgia for mythical fairness and entitlement in an unprofitable environment requiring hours and hours of weekly effort reeks of some serious hippie-dippie horseshit in a vacuum of perceptual unreality.

This isn’t some finite area of real estate hoarded by robber barons and BIG BUSINESS kneecapping the little guy. It’s the damn internet. And if an up-and-comer wants to stake a claim, it may be more difficult because there is competition and an entrenched network, but it’s not exactly impossible (e-mail me if you'd like some tips) – all you need is talent, a url, and perhaps a camera and a telephone would help.

So apply your bright-eyed Marxist instinct for fair and equitable distribution of traffic if you like, but I’m not buying, because it's already unfair. And once you get past that realization, you might stumble upon the realization that despite its unfairness, you or me aren't entitled to ANYTHING.

Anything that gives bloggers an opportunity to make a bit of money and bring commentary outside the traditional farm system of the media (read: journalism degree and horrifically mindless beat reporting) into profitability is just fine with me.

You know, speaking as a brave independent observer, free from the bootheel of Pajamas Media.

Ann Althouse said...

Jeff:

The humor you direct at them is gentle -- gentle enough to function as PR.

They deserved a strong reaction at the time of launching because they asked for it with a conspicuous launch. We HAD to say is that all? They teased us for months with the promise that they'd have something really new and special, and it's just a completely dull page.

Memeorandum is a much more effective portal.

Why aren't any ads running yet? Isn't payment contingent on the ads going up?

Andrew Shimmin said...

Well, that proves it, doesn't it? If Jeff wants to demonstrate that his content isn't subject to Roger L. Simon's veto, he has to post some mockery of which Ann Althouse aproves. It's the only way to show his independence. And there had better be some blood and pus, buster.

protein wisdom said...

Jeff:

The humor you direct at them is gentle -- gentle enough to function as PR.

They deserved a strong reaction at the time of launching because they asked for it with a conspicuous launch. We HAD to say is that all? They teased us for months with the promise that they'd have something really new and special, and it's just a completely dull page.


When you imply that the humor I aim at them is gentle enough to be PR, you are ascribing to me a motive that differs from the one I've owned to -- namely, that I expect the site to need some time to find it's niche, and so am less concerned with it's performance than I am absolutely stunned by the tenor of the criticism it has received from a few not disinterested parties.

You seem to reject that explanation in order to suggest that I'm not letting loose with both barrels for reasons of pure self interest. Or, to put it more forcefully, you're implying that at best I'm blind to my own motivations, and at worst, that I'm being less than truthful.

This is simply not the case.

If anything, in fact, you seem to have more of an interest in PJM than do I -- though you've certainly motivated me to help them out in any way that I can. I can't begin to tell you how disappointed I am at the way you've chosen to express your contempt for both the principals and for those of us who signed on as an alternative to blogads, an alternative that carried with it the promise of an attempt, at least, to try to do something new and different with the medium -- even if it is still groping around in its newness.

protein wisdom said...

Oh. And please join me tomorrow as I liveblog the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade!

Available only on Pajamas Media!

Ann Althouse said...

Jeff: You're way overstating what I've said about you and then disagreeing with that. I didn't ascribe those motivations to you. I think it's legitimate for you to want to make money from your writing. I don't think PJM is going to work to get the money to the writers, though, unfortunately. But I can understand why you want to feel hopeful about that.

You also overstate my feelings about PJM. I'm not obsessed with them. I find the site mainly boring. Just a big disappointment. I'm tired of talking about. After the first two days, I think, I stopped doing posts that actually described the content and disparaged it. If I cared more, I would have continued with that sort of thing. Actually, people telling me to stop blogging about them has caused me to blog more -- that and Roger L. Simon taking it upon himself to call me on the telephone, act like a bully, and then hang up on me.

protein wisdom said...

9 AM EST. FLOATS! BALLOONS!

ONLY AT PAJAMAS MEDIA!

Maggie45 said...

Ann, I'd be interested in reading a reply from you to Bill's comment.

Stephen_M said...

Yes Maggie, That reply is rather conspicuously absent. And that absence is completely disrespctful of Bill's time and of the obvious careful consideration Bill has given to Ann's blogging on the matter. It's as though she were acting like a bully and hanging up on Bill.

Stephen_M said...

Does this mean Bill now gets to rag on Ann relentlessly? Maybe. Seems consistent. Though Bill doesn't seem to be built that way. I hope Ann has simply been distracted with Thanksgiving plans and that she's giving Bill's comments the consideration they deserve. And that she'll respond soon.

Ann Althouse said...

Stephen: Bill didn't ask a question. He made his statement. If I were to comment on it, I could only repeat things I've already said: I'm not obsessed. I'm trying to stop talking about the subject, which I'm very tired of. And I really do worry about the independence of bloggers as they tie themselves to each other in financial arrangments. You already know that. I see that Bill disagrees.

Dave D said...

"The only reason I'm so conspicuous talking about how terrible the Pajamas project is is because so many others are refraining from talking about it, because they don't want big guys to link-starve them."

I have to disagree there. I don't blog about it because I honestly don't give a damn about it or what happens to it. In close to three years of blogging, I've NEVER gotten a big link, so I'm not concerned about being link-starved. Heck, if I worried about small traffic, I'd have an ulcer the size of Madison right now eating a big red hole in my gut. Currently, my tummy feels fine and is looking forward to a big turkey dinner.

Anyway, the endless OSM criticism seems like a game of dog in the manger writ large across several blogs. I understand that folks like DtP think they've been injured, and from what I've read, they have a right to be.

Ann, I'm not telling you what to write, and I'm sure my opinion means a bit less than jack to you. Nonetheless, I'd appreciate it if you wouldn't ascribe motivations to me that aren't there. I don't blog about OSM either way because I just don't care. I'm sure I'm not alone.

Ann Althouse said...

Dave: "so many others are refraining" doesn't mean that everyone who isn't blogging about it is doing it for that reason. I'm sure it's not a natural topic for most bloggers. But I would think that the bloggers who made fun of Huffington Post, for example, would find it in their normal realm of topics. I think we'd be should be hearing from more bloggers -- that's all I'm saying. Don't take it personally.

WhatsAPundit said...

"And I really do worry about the independence of bloggers as they tie themselves to each other in financial arrangments."

I think that's called "freedom of association." I also expect that's a pretty basic requirement for a functioning capitalist system, but I'm not an economist, so don't quote me on that.

Tex MacRae said...

Bill from INDC:

You say:

The point where you really went off the deep end begins with the dire warnings about loss of independence for the bloggers involved. Pajamas Media can be reasonably described as a run-of-the-mill blog aggregator and new ad network a la Blogads, seeing as they don't have editorial control over the blogs in their network.

Now, If you truly believe that, explain to me what your answer to this guy is:

link

HEre's my answer:


******
I will kindly request they do not post articles of mine that I did not suggest.

From what I understand, you signed rights to all your content over to them already. Isn’t that the deal? All your content is theirs and you get advertising? Whenever they get advertising, anyway.
***************

Now, all you PJ defenders are constantly dragging your strawmen around and defending them. Here's a real complaint - and one the critics saw coming. Can you answer it, truthfully?

Ann Althouse said...

Tex: Did you get that link right?

Tex MacRae said...

No. There's something about your blog that makes me screw up links. I couldn't possibly be me.
Grrr.

link

Tex MacRae said...

By the way, you will notice that he didn't answer me. One of the most chilling things about the PJM people is that they seem bound by some blogger code of omerta.

Notice that since baldilocks posted on her blog about her "blog wrangler" job, she has answered no questions, nor has she clarified her role.

Of course, it didn't come up on the blog-circlejerk-jam today because no one was allowed to question them.

Scott A. Edwards said...
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