01 Feb 2009

No Ferraris! Bummer

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When the multi-talented Charles Johnson and Roger Simon announced the successful first round of financing for an advertising coalition of bloggers, originally known as “Open Source Media” back in November of 2005, there was a veritable explosion of negative emotion on the Blogosphere.

Several notorious contrarians deplored what they perceived as “fencing in the open range.” The institutionalization and amalgamation of blogging under a commercial entity, they argued, would stifle creativity and surrender the freedom of individual self expression to crass commercialism.

Others, like Dennis the Peasant (who claimed he had collaborated with Roger Simon in coming up with the big idea, and been later jilted) were pea green with envy, as visions of bloggers a few years down the road cashing in PJM stock worth untold millions and tooling down the highways in shiny new Ferraris danced through everyone’s head.

One particularly hostile blogger set up a PJM Death Pool, gleefully predicting the imminent breakup and demise of the new project, and inviting critics to place their bets and pick a date. The Death Pool’s last posting occurred in May of 2006, and the betting pool raised a whopping $18.

After all of 2005-2006’s storm and fury, it was a bit disappointing to learn last night that Roger Simon had announced the dissolution of the PJM advertising network and the termination of payments to member bloggers as of April 1, 2009. Simon stated that the proprietors intend to re-direct the PJM project toward television programming production.

Pity. The recession obviously was the final nail in PJM’s coffin, but it seems clear in retrospect that blog readership didn’t really continue growing rapidly to the sky, blogging didn’t actually replace print and electronic journalism, and nobody has succeeded in developing a terribly lucrative advertising model for blog sites.

All PJM seems to have achieved, in retrospect was to divert the talents and energies of Charles Johnson, and some of his very talented editors, away from blogging to the pursuit of a chimera. But, who knows? perhaps the lessons learned in this first experiment in a blogging business model will, in the end, make possible the development of the ship which actually sails.

The editor of Never Yet Melted extends his condolences on the unhappy result of so much effort, and best wishes for future prosperity and success (new red ferraris for all!), to the management, editors, and individual PJM bloggers.


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