I didn't get invited to join PM or to the big alcohol party in New York City a month ago. And neither did 99.99% of the rest of the blogs on the internet. But maybe I don't want to be involved.
But there are the "chosen" 70 or so. These blogs combined to form Pajamas Media. I will lay out some facts as I know them and make a comment or two.
The business model, to me, is simple. Create a link farm, sell ads, make money. That is, of course, oversimplified, but in my eyes, the eyes of an outsider, that is what it looks like. PM has gotten some start up money - some folks put that number at $3.5m, some say $7m. It really doesn't matter.
Those that signed the documents to join PM are contractually obligated to run the PM ads and must drop Blogads. I have heard that some sites may be able to still run Blogads, but lower on the page. I don't have the contract in front of me and I can only assume that some blogs may have negotiated different deals. But again, it doesn't really matter. Some of the blogs that have signed on have complained openly already about how the show is being run. Some blogs probably have made more money with PM than they did before they had to drop or alter their Blogads. Some blogs are probably making less money now.
To all of them, I say either "congratulations" or "tough shit". They signed the documents, they are the ones that wanted to be associated with PM, and they are the ones solely responsible for what they have gotten themselves into, for better or worse. We all make decisions every day in our private lives and our jobs that are our choices and ours alone. These choices range from what type of bread to buy in the store to how to handle certain customers to what type of car we want to buy. Caveat emptor.
Will PM make it? I really don't think so, at least in it's present form. Their home site is boring. If I want to read one of their member blogs (and I read several every day) I will just go there, same as I always did. Today on Instapundit, one of the largest hit getters day in and day out in the blogosphere, the lead ad wasn't even for a product, just the silly quote from CBS that gave Pajamas it's name. It is an ad powered by Doubleclick that takes you to the home site of PM. So Doubleclick makes money and PM makes....hits? Not the start of a successful business model, if you know what I mean. And at the home site of PM is one lonely ad, for Circuit City - as if that will ever be an impulse buy for a guy like me. I am, I assume, the target audience for this outfit (mid 30's with education and some disposable income) and they present me with a Circuit City ad? What am I supposed to say - OOOHHH I forgot I need stuff at this electronics store - let me click on through. Memo to PM - if I need something at Circuit City, I will just go there or to their site directly.
But enough ankle biting for now. If PM succeeds, wonderful. If they fail, I can't wait to read all about it on the blogs I read now, because the dirty laundry will be very dirty "indeed". And to all the bloggers that signed the papers to join and may not be enjoying the experience - just STFU and deal with the choice YOU made.
UPDATE: In the comments to Carl's last post I referred to this essay by Dennis the Peasant. It echoes some of what Carl said and some of what I said above and it is one of the best essays I have ever read about blogging. Well worth your time if you have an extra five minutes or so today. Glad I am not in it for the money.