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Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

Jun 30, 2006

Re Scott Karp's comment that: "Blogging has now been irrevocably tainted. No one can say anything even remotely positive about a company - or negative for that matter - without being accused of being on the PayPerPost payroll."

I don't know. I don't think anybody will accuse me of being a shill for some company. The people who continue to promote open source, open content, and a non-commercial basis for an online environment will continue to be credible. You can generally tell, I think, when somebody has capitulated to the commercial side of the house.

It's like when you say "We promoted the hell out of blogging as a revolutionary form of marketing - and now we see the dark side." A lot of people out there weren't really concerned about whether blogging was a new form of marketing. That's something the commercial side of the house thinks is important. A lot of people thought about the conversations being created, the increased understanding being generated, the good that a free and unfettered flow of ideas and opinions could generate.

Sure, if you are blogging from the commercial side of the house - if you are a professional blogger, say, or you are promoting the use of blogging for commercial purposes, then the emergence of a company that pays people to blog favorably about companies will dent your credibility. But let's not fool ourselves. If you're on the commercial side of the house, you already have a money-making agenda. It's not like you were lily-white to begin with.

Now I don't know enough about this blog to say whether or not its reputation will be damaged. I haven't followed it long enough to say whether it pursues an overtly commercial agenda. But the comment above isn't reassuring, the fact that it jumped on the "2.0" meme in the blog title, the ads in the right hand column - all of these suggests that the purpose of this blog is to make money. And if so, then anything said would be tainted by that fact, and not the actions of any external agency.

But we'll see.

Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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