Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

Mike Arrington at Techcrunch is on a tear again about PayPerPost. Where normally in the past I would have been more sympathetic to Arrington–after all PayPerPost folks don’t typically say a post is sponsored–I am less so nowadays because the issue isn’t so clearly understood as Mr. Arrington would have it.

The newest episode in this saga is that PayPerPost now has a disclosure generator, and actually pays PayPerPost bloggers to post links to disclosures. I’ve seen one on one weblog, where the weblogger, Lady Nova writes on the current discussion:

I haven’t read an argument YET that has made any sense, in regards to why so many people are against those of us that are getting paid to blog. Who the heck are we hurting? My readers know that half my content is paid blogging, and you know what? I haven’t any complaints from any of them.

Why is this so different from any magazine or tv channel with advertisements on them? It’s all the same! If a company or web site wants to pay me to pimp their product, hell ya I’m going to do it!


According to Mike Arrington, he dislikes the concept of the disclosure because the terminology doesn’t differentiate between inserted content and explicit advertisements:

If you are a PayPerPost blogger, or the New York Times, or anything in between, you must pick the third option. That’s because “taking advertsing” and “paid insertions” are defined as the same thing. And even if you have no form of advertising or other revenue on the site, you have to admit to bias based on “background, occupation, religion, political affiliation or experience.”

Blurring the lines in this way – facilitating the pollution of the blogosphere while creating an illusion of doing something good for the public, is a good business move for PayPerPost. But it is a terrible development for the blogsphere and public trust. I hope that very few bloggers are suckered into going along with this.

The PayPerPost people say that they’re not encouraging people to lie or write on things they most likely wouldn’t write about any, so what’s the harm?

Advertisers will post all sorts of Opportunities, from a simple “link back to this site” to product reviews with pictures. Each Opportunity will have different compensation based on the advertiser. It’s up to you to pick the Opportunities that best suit you and your blog. If it doesn’t feel right, if you don’t own the product, or if you can’t be honest we ask you to pass on the Opportunity. Dishonest or completely off-topic posts can ultimately hurt your blog’s credibility. We strongly encourage you to only take opportunities that relate to you.

Television and radio have programs that are funded, in part or whole, by certain sponsors, each of which can have direct impact on what is or is not included, so the concept of PayPerPost is not without precedent in the world of publication. That’s not to say it’s good or bad–just that it hasn’t originated with weblogging.

Is it good or bad, though? A few years back, I would have said it was horrid, but times change. I know what its like to be broke, really broke, scared broke, so I’m not going to tar people for making some extra bucks. Would I do it myself? No, I would not, but I’m also not going to say that I’m the moral arbiter of the weblogging world–disregarding what might be implied from my past posts.

What keeps this from being a ‘black & white’ issue, with absolute surety about whose side the angels are boogieing on, is the fact that remuneration in weblogging isn’t always a cash-related activity; attention must vie with cash when it comes to weblogging currency. If a person writes something deliberately in order to generate attention that benefits themselves, is this truly that different than when a person accepts money?

Recently Jason Calacanis pushed Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales about putting ads on Wikipedia in order to generate money for charity. Wales basically said, not over his dead body. Calacanis then implores him to think otherwise, with promises of hosting of Wikipedia on AOL, if Wikipedia just gave the company a little thank you note on each page. Inspired, Robert Scoble thought this wasn’t a bad idea, and questioned if he shouldn’t do the same. I don’t know if AOL has offered to host Robert or not…

In both cases, neither person stood to earn any money for their own use, but each earned something else: attention. Both posts ended up on, Calacanis’ post ended up on Digg (which he posted a link to at the top of the post), both generated links and discussion (included these from me), which helps to keep them in the upper reaches of the weblogging environment, and most likely keeping bosses happy, as well as a lot of lucrative options open.

Now, how is this different than Lady Nova writing about online business software, which she found to be cool anyway?

When Michael Arrington had one of his recent parties, I was astounded to read he had made $50,000 for luring a bunch of people in to basically sit through what was more or less an infomercial. I now read he’s at it again, in New York, which I guess goes to show that there’s one born every minute on the east coast, as well as the west. Seriously these are a little food, a little drink, a possible chance to meet someone famous, and lots and lots of people selling something, desperately wanting to find buyers. For all of this, Michael makes a lot of money, yet I haven’t seen Michael put up a disclosure that says:

I am throwing this party because I just bought a new gas guzzling SUV–in black, I am so cool–and I have to pay for it. I don’t really want to meet you all, but I want you to want to meet me so I continue making a lot of money from desperate startups burning through their first round of funding. You can come for free, but you’re going to run a gauntlet of people wanting to sell you something, and most likely being disappointed when they find out you’re not really a somebody. And if you approach me, you better be worth my time.

update Jeneane has another take on this fooflah about the haves begrudging the have-nots a little taste of the pie.

second update I find it kind of funny that Matt Mullenweg thinks this is a rather sleazy undertaking, when it wasn’t all that long ago when he was on the other end of the thou art shit finger pointing. Hindsight does interesting things to people.

thirdsie I wonder if this will make it on to techmeme? Letsee, Michael Arrington’s roommate is the person who created techmeme…

What the heck: update four I think that Seth has one of the best explanations about why such howls are issuing forth on this issue.

Disclosure: I make money writing books for O’Reilly. Well, I make some money writing books for O’Reilly. I’d like to make more money writing books for O’Reilly, as well as articles and books for other companies and publications, but right now, it’s just O’Reilly. No one else gives me a damn dime. Bummer.



I find it ironic that one of the most religious states in the union has a city considered to be the country’s most dangerous city. Ironic and sad, because many of our problems in this city are curable if we focused on these instead of denying gay rights and turning the clock back with both our education and our medicine. We don’t because, to be blunt, most of the victims of crime in our city are black. We read of a young white student who gets drunk and wraps his car around a tree, and we come out with flowers and create commissions to study teen drinking and cry out about a general loss of moral fiber in America, which has led to such drinking; we read of a young black man who is shot in drive by shooting and we hear….nothing. Silence.

It is said that Missouri acts as a macrocosm for the country as a whole, because how we vote reflects how the country votes. If this is true, then our country, like this state, is headed towards a crises of faith, and by that I don’t mean people not believing; I mean people believing too much.

We get sidetracked on moral issues, while more important problems are shunted aside, such as the Iraqi war, global warming, the growing number of people within poverty levels, the disintegration of our inner cities, an increasing racial disparity, our country’s economic and educational decline, lack of quality health care for 45 million Americans and so on. Even now, with the British report of alarming environmental shifts and increased violence in Iraq, Bush is running around the country talking about the importance of keeping Republicans in office because gays are being allowed to marry in New Jersey. Seriously, is this really the most important issue facing Americans? Regardless of your personal beliefs?

We have the evidence of our eyes as regards to global warming, and the evidence of numbers of dead in Iraq–not to mention there isn’t a person who probably doesn’t know someone who has no health insurance; or who has been laid off; or can only get a part-time job because fulltime jobs are disappearing. More than that, we’ve become a country that condones torture and have given away most of our legal rights within our court systems, as we increase a growing deficit between us and China, weakening our own economic stability.

By focusing on moral issues, by encouraging fear of the unknown and fear of the different, corporations can do what they want in this country because all they have to do is get some politician, and yes the Republicans have shown themselves to be most willing in this regard, to point out the Muslim threat, wave abortion or gay rights, and now stem cell research and we’re off and running while they quietly rape our country of its resources, its labor, its spirit, and its soul.

There are at least two, and I believe more, webloggers who have been expertly trained by so-called ‘conservative’ think tanks in how to direct and misdirect communication in weblogging so that the focus is on immigration or the Muslim threat because if we ever stopped to look around ourselves, we’d realize how many of our basic protections and rights have been eroded. So like the hamster on the wheel, they keep us spinning and spinning. In that, they’re aided by technology, which just adds to the noise.

Do I think the Democrats would do any better? I think they would provide a necessary balance for the next two years, and at that point in time, we can re-negotiate. I’d like to see Democrats take Congress this election, but if they don’t get their act together then we’ll see about kicking them out in two years, and putting in a Democratic president and Republican Congress. If the Green Party could gets its act together, I wouldn’t mind seeing a third party enter the lists.

In other words, start showing that we the people they supposedly serve are not going to be led around anymore–that no party has a lock-in on the people. They have to earn it, and by that I mean work for it; not spend all their time in expensive lunches with lobbyists, while they toss out a gay or abortion flavored bone from time to time for us to gnaw on like the good dogs we are.

There will always be extremes: pockets of people who will vote a single issue or a single party regardless of what happens around them and we can’t do anything about these people; I don’t think most of us fit in the extremes. We’re bombarded by mixed messages, we’re pushed about on all sides, we’re afraid for our jobs and our families and the environment and the safety of our world, and politicians on both sides prey on this fear but we don’t have to be manipulated.

All we have, is each other. Even when we disagree, all we have, is each other. We need to send a message this election, and if that doesn’t work, we need to re-send it two years from now.


Damn interesting


Thanks to the Proceedings of the Athanasius Kircher Society weblog, I found a new weblog to follow: Damn Interesting. This group weblog has a nice design as well as posts that are, well, damn interesting.


Melinda Casino has a nice round up of weblog posts related to the recent Michael J. Fox ad and reactions, as well as embryonic stem cell research in general.


Here’s one for the history buffs

I find the more I study the world today, the more I like history.

Here’s one that has me stumped, though. There is another famous Poe other than Edgar Allan, and his name was Aaron Poe. He was known as a ‘famous’ indian fighter in the midwest in the 1800’s, but he seems to be virtually unknown now. I’ve been trying to track him without any success.

Does anyone have any background on Aaron Poe, the ‘famous Indian fighter’?


Squid on the move

Thanks to Doug for the link to this post on Humboldt (Jumbo) squid migrations. The entire weblog is a real find if you’re interested in all things deep blue.

The makers of need to create another page for tracking posts related to science, and not just politics and weblogging/tech; the latter of which features about 10 people linking to each other. At least with a site tracking science stories, we’ll learn something interesting.