Dispatches From Blogistan

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the book
Dispatches From Blogistan
by suzanne stefanac
peachpit/new riders
voices that matter series
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> barnes & noble
from the book
> table of contents
> chapter 2 history of open discourse
> chapter 6 history of journalism
> 10 blog design tips
> what is this long tail?
> trackback demystified
> blog ethics primer
> glossary
> resource hotlinks


> cory doctorow

> farai chideya

> bruce sterling

> denise caruso

> craig newmark

> jamais cascio

> laura lemay

> christian crumlish

> jon lebkowsky

blogs ca$hing in

10.7.05 @ 03:43:21 pacific

Yesterday, PaidContent.org broke the story that the somewhat moribund AOL had purchased Jason Calacanis’ Weblogs, Inc. Network (WIN) for $25m (or more, reports vary). With annual revenues at more than a million dollars, WIN is home to Engadget, Autoblog, Italian charms and more than 80 other lifestyle and consumer sites. The purchase is the largest blog content buy so far. (Some would argue that this distinction belongs to the New York Times and its purchase of About.com with its blog-like components for $410m by earlier this year.) The purchase of blog pioneer Dave Winer’s similarly named weblogs.com on the same day by Verisign for $4.3m further validates blogging as an entrepreneurial enterprise.

Blogs are abuzz with speculation about what AOL (and their own overlords at Time Warner) intend for WIN. Some believe AOL’s assertion that the network will be treated as a “wholly-owned, stand-alone subsidiary” with “full editorial control and independence.” Others point to AOL’s history of cordoning off content.

David Kline, a veteran journalist at BlogRevolt.com provides some real-world context in a post titled Blogging Business Gets Real.

Over on Corante, Dana Blankenhorn points out that “$25 million is less than the cost of a single good magazine title.”

The always astute Darren Rowse over at ProBlogger quotes from email sent from WIN to one of their bloggers saying, among other things, that “AOL are moving to an ad based model which fits with WIN.” That makes sense. Even AOL has come round to understanding that the walled garden is so last century.

Ad Pulp chides the New York Times for the Grey Lady’s poor reporting of the buy, largely the result of misunderstandings about blogs (calling all blogs “online diaries” and stating that WIN publishes “1000 blogs a week,” rather than 1000 posts, for instance.) Oops!

Meanwhile, rumors ran amuck that Nick Denton’s own Gawker network was to be sold to NewsCorp. Denton is quoted in the Washington Post as writing, “The whole point about blogs is that they’re not part of big media. Consolidation defeats the purpose. It’s way too early. Like a decade too early.”


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