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Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community
Gawker media, a company that hosts ad-supported commercial blogs, announced that it is selling three of its titles, including the formerly popular Wonkette. This comes just a couple of weeks after significant cuts in pay were announced for Gawker writers. And all this comes at a time when the commercial blog world in general is in turmoil. The life of the professional blogger isn't an easy one, according to an IHT article.

There are fears that content is becoming a commodity. Jonathon Handel of Huffington Post wonders whether content is worthless. Newsroom jobs are disappearing by the thousands. David Simon of the Washington Post asks whether the news has any value any more. Michael Masnick argues that content isn't worthless just because it's free. People over-estimate the value of content, he writes.

In the same way, the days of sites profiting by controlling access to content may be numbered. The pressure is on for all content sites to open up and allow syndication. Meanwhile, in the blogosphere, a discussion of virtual sharecropping erupted as people began to question operating systems and social networks that let you put data in, and not take it out. "I think it's important to own your own land," writes D'Arcy Norman, who wonders in passing wther requiring students to post into LMSs and such is not also a form of sharecropping. Think about the way TurnItIn takes student content and turns it into profits.

Paid blogging and paid content are, I think, a blip, an event that catches a small gap between the rapid decline in the cost of content and the even more rapidly declining cost of production and distribution. As both approach zero, the margin no longer exists, and those who were paid for producing content get squeezed. The same happens to sites that are based on monetizing access to content.

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada
stephen@downes.ca

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Last Updated: Jun 21, 2024 7:11 p.m.

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