Many of you got the little email from WaPo, right? Asking us to “join their blogroll,” right? I actually didn’t answer it. Something just didn’t pass the sniff test. A week and two days later, I finally replied with a polite “no.” Why are they doing this NOW? Blogging has clearly jumped the shark. It makes no sense to be on the tail end of a phenomenon so mediocre. Of course, we’re speaking of the Post though. They aren’t really a “forefront of the operation” kind of media. I looked at the website. I quickly got discouraged with the in-your-face popups and the inability to scroll beyond the first page in any category. Hello? Tech support? You don’t make a site live until the code and links work. Duh.
It should have occurred to me that theirs wasn’t a gesture of goodwill and creating a community, but rather, a plight for their own interests.
What? You don’t want to? Why? Because you remember that time I had you click a link and it brought you to a sex site? Sorry about that. Okay, here’s an excerpt in case you still haven’t forgiven me:
Once upon a time, newspapers wanted nothing to do with bloggers, those amateurs who opined on anything that caught their fancy, whether it was interesting, or accurate, or not. That was then. Now newspaper websites, desperate for readers and revenue, are increasingly in cahoots with bloggers, posting and plugging them and even sharing advertising revenue.
Purists may sniff at these online liaisons but, as the print newspaper industry shrinks, they may be inevitable.
This year, the Washington Post added a sponsored blog roll to its website, a directory of links to blogs that specialize in travel, technology, health and more. If the Post sells an ad on the blog roll’s main page, the bloggers split the money with the newspaper. So far, about 100 bloggers have signed up.
To Caroline Little, the chief executive of Washingtonpost Newsweek Interactive, the ad network is good business. Most ad buyers don’t want to take the time to buy space on dozens of different blogs, she said, and the staff-driven side of the website often doesn’t have enough stories about technology, business or health for advertisers looking to place ads near that content. With the blog roll, the Post can grab ad revenue that might have gone elsewhere.
“It’s about figuring out how to monetize other people’s content,” Little said.
Of course it is, you silly whore. Why bother being creative when you appealed to a whole group of people who want exposure? It’s a convenient arrangement, isn’t it? Though you don’t tell these people that your readership has been down and this will do nothing for individual blogger exposure.
So, is it that the WaPo writers are not good enough to attract visitors? Or are they too stupid to, oh, I dunno, hire a real ad agency and come up with an aggressive marketing plan? (Hmm…maybe…how about the Great URL Expiration of ’04, anyone?)
Using us for lost ad dollars? WaPo just elevated their position on my list of D.C.’s most self-serving, and we have a lot of politicians here with whom to compete! Try working for your ad dollars WaPo. Velvet in Dupont subsidizes only those who subsidize her back. And right now, that list is empty.*
*Okay, maybe I got a little toll money from my daddy a couple weeks ago when I went to visit. I protested, but he wanted me to have that $20 and with the George Washington Bridge costing a bank-breaking $6 these days, and that fucking Jersey Turnpike is outrageous too, and shit, you have to pay tolls to get into and out of Delaware and god damned it, the state is only 10 miles long!!! I took the money. Then I hung my head in shame, and drove off in my overpriced Speedracer that breaks a lot. It makes no sense. I admit this. In the spirit of total honesty and full disclosure, I admit this.