Wednesday, November 16, 2005
BLOG: "Pajama Media" preparing for Nov 16 launch and new name (fwd)
POSTED: Monday, November 14, 2005
By Bene Diction
Bene Diction is a journalist and well known evangelical blogger at Bene
Diction Blogs On, and focuses on reviews of popular websites and
technology, as well as serving as culture editor for Spero News.
This week a new online venture billing itself as citizen journalism will be
launched with a splash party in New York City.
Pajamas Media is the brainchild of two US bloggers, novelist Roger L. Simon
and Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs, with the aim to "re-define
journalism in the 21st century" as they explained in an October 17th, 2005
"Pajamas Media, a new blogging venture designed to bring together top online
writers, journalists and commentators under a single umbrella, today
unveiled its editorial board as it prepares for its formal debut next
month." That announcement comes as Pajamas Media further realizes its vision
of coalescing the internets brightest minds and most compelling content into
a single source that will, in turn, complement and re-define journalism in
the 21st century. The company will detail its vision and strategy -- and
unveil its new name -- at an invitation-only New York City event slated for
Spero News contacted PM with regard to the organization's economic model.
Unfortunately, PM said "several of these questions refer to information that
won't be released publicly until the Nov. 16 launch in New York, where we
are unveiling our core plans and goals."
That said, PM did say that "readers can expect a one-stop easy access to the
best of the blogosphere. You might think of our new portal, (name, logo,
look all to be unveiled Nov. 16) as something akin to the TV Guide in the
sense that it is a way for the public -- who by and large don't know what
blogging is all about -- to easily enter the system and access content that
"We'll have a Directory to blog sites that we have read and accepted into
the system, from tiny to huge ones, covering a large range of topics.
Bloggers will keep their own sites, and we will not interfere in any way
with their content. We have already vetted all of our blogs to make sure
they are high-quality, and will continue to do that as we add more and more
sites to our Directory," PM said in an email.
"We are keeping the entire project very organic to the existing blogosphere,
not drumming up writers to create previously non-existent "blogs." One of
our bloggers recently compared us to Cream, a ground-up band of real
musicians with authentic roots and a real reason for coming together, rather
than the Monkees, a top-down created band of strangers hired by promoters to
copy what was popular," PM said.
The response continued: We have plans designed, we hope, to drive more
traffic to the blog sites, using our portal to do this, but, sorry, the
details will not be unveiled until our launch in NYC next month ... We will
have some original content on the portal (again, not unlike TV Guide), which
I cannot unveil at this timel. What I would add: We hope, further down the
road during our second phase, to develop a news service of blogger content
that will originate from our project."
Pajama Media has been profiling it's editorial board/bloggers for it's
portal, as well as some of the bloggers it has signed up before it becomes
official this week.
Economic models of blogging
It is estimated there are over 50 million blogs now online. According to
Technorati 40 to 50 thousand blogs go online each day around the world.
According to Pew Internet and American Life Project 11% of US citizens have
read a blog.
Over the past few years, newspapers, magazines and broadcast outlets have
seen a shift in revenue and in many cases an adversarial relationship has
developed with traditional media and bloggers.
Journalist/blogger Ken Layne spoke boldy to traditional media in 2001 when
he said, "We can fact check your ass." The most well-known example of blogs
squaring against media in the US is the incident of bloggers fact checking a
CBS 60 Minutes segment in what is now called Rathergate.
As platforms and blogs have increased, so has the interest in the money that
can be made and exchanged, with three economic streams emerging: citizens as
journalists, blogging as an alternative to mainstream media and
product-focused weblogs, and can be represented by Adverts, Networks and
Google, Amazon and Adsense are services that provide advertisements for
companies and individuals to place on blogs. Revenue for the companies and
for the blogger is obtained by sharing revenue based on sales or through a
cost-per-click scheme. Most bloggers make about $10 a month.
Jason McCabe Calacanis recently made headlines when his two-year-old network
of blogs was sold to AOL/Time Warner for 24 million dollars. The Weblogs Inc
stable of over 100 blogs includes specialty blogs. An economic break down of
traffic to those blogs can be found here. As the weblog concept evolves, it
is becoming easier to evaluate what worth a blog network or content, and
traffic has to investors and advertisers.
PM seems to be a model that is being formed to take on mainstream media with
content and en masse advertising. It remains to be seen over time whether
the network of contracted bloggers will be able to provide content or
Australian Duncan Riley of The Blog Herald wrote the owners for a contract.
It appears the legalities are not binding outside the US. Bloggers wishing
to join agree to the following: "Pajamas is a California partnership in
formation. Once formed, Pajamas wishes to contract with [you], an individual
who lives in [your state, country] to do two things:"
The blogger chosing to join this venture agrees to work for PM for three
months. PM holds exclusive rights of a bloggers content.
Again, from The Blog Herald: "Pajamas will offer you "most favored nation"
status for advertising percentages and content sale percentages, implying
that the terms of their transactions will be equal to the highest
percentages given any other participant who is not an owner in Pajamas.
Pajamas intends to reach out to blogs in part by using bloggers as a sales
force. You have a blog network, and it makes more sense for us to pay you to
approach the bloggers in that neighborhood than it makes for us to hire some
sales person to find them and approach them. So well have an affiliate
program, which will allow you to bring in other bloggers and participate in
the revenue that they bring to us."
What this appears to be saying is that this new venture is looking for (and
has signed) high profile US bloggers with the hope they will bring in other
bloggers and their advertising. PM media will own the bloggers content, and
has the right to package and sell it as they please to other media. This is
a business model of dissemination of information and it appears the
advertising is sold en masse. We'll know more later this week.
A look at the pre-launch site of PM media indicates it has signed on about
70 right wing Republican pundit bloggers and is not unlike an aggregator. It
provides a news feed from some traditional sources, and it will not be clear
until PM says so, how the two streams (news feeds and blogger content) will
be integrated. Nor is it clear if the bloggers will provide orginal news or
just commentary. This initial 3 page contract was released in May 2005.
The secrecy issue has been a concern to those that watch revenue streams in
In an interview with Duncan Riley, Roger L. Simon said "some degree of
exclusivity is a must if you are trying to build an advertising network. It
makes simple common sense. The ad serving companies need to know we
represent a large number of bloggers with a view to future consistency.
Otherwise it just wont happen in a manner that will do what we all hope -
build a serious income stream for bloggers. Only a tiny few will prosper.
That said, we plan to spell out relationships in more detail soon, including
how we propose to share income. Google, as you may know, doesnt do that. But
to make those proposals we have to know about our own economics and to do
that we need to have some idea of our reach. We should be there soon." (The
full interview can be read here).
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