Saturday, February 26, 2011

A memorial for an old friend on Twitter

Ductape Fatwa, whose presence once graced numerous blogs until the fall of 2006, was one of the most thought-provoking writers I’ve had the privilege to know. He was arguably a force who brought many of us together, and who would no doubt have nurtured this blog had his life not been cut short just weeks after its inception. His ability to bring together people of diverse and sometimes divergent viewpoints and personalities is one I have often admired, and is one talent I wish I had. I digress however.

As a few of you may have sussed out, I do spend a little time on Twitter. I’ve had my account for ages, but really didn’t much use it. Anyway, I’ve been on a bit more as of late, and just for kicks decided to see if anyone had made mention of our old friend. Much to my surprise, I found Ductape Fatwa’s Twitter profile. Of course it’s not his per se. It is a memorial set up by someone else. Whoever set it up doesn’t seem to update it very often – seems he or she comes by about once a year since setting up the profile a couple years ago. I would love to thank whoever set it up. In the meantime, check it out, add yourself as a follower, and perhaps we can incite the person responsible to update it a little more often.

Quick update: if you don't have a Twitter account, you can access Ductape Fatwa's profile here.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Boo hoo hoo....a BBB closes

Maybe you've already seen the latest bombshell: Open Left, one of the Big Box Blogs, has shut its virtual doors. The reasoning behind the closure seemed a bit suspect, and Donklephant has pointed out just what stinks to high heaven:
The liberal blog Open Left suddenly announced today that they’ll stop posting content because…
we have gradually run out of money to maintain operations. It is a difficult decision, but we kept going for as long as we could.
The site will not disappear, and all published content will remain online {…}

Open Left is run on Soap Blox, which is a blogging platform and hosting service. The blog platform appears to be free and the most expensive hosting costs $40 a month. Sure, there are add ons, but Open Left doesn’t get a ton of traffic. They say they’re going to keep the website up, so it’ll cost $480 at the most every year. If you add in extra storage and overages every month, maybe it costs $1,000 a year…maybe.

So the idea that it was too costly to maintain the site is hard to swallow. Why didn’t they just throw a fundraiser? Think they could get 100 people to pitch in $10…or more? This is, after all, some of the same readers who rocketed Howard Dean from obscurity to the national stage because he was able to raise a ton of money online.

Bottom line…if they really cared about their readers they’d simply tell them that they can’t pay their writers anymore so content contributions will go down. And that’s assuming they paid their writers in the first place. Many political blogs simply invite people to blog and pay them zip. The platform, readership and communication is enough compensation. Also, I’ve been frank with all of you about content dropping in the down years between elections…and our hosting costs more than what they were paying. Do you see us going away?

Just saying…Chris Bowers and crew could easily keep that site up and post to it when they want to. But they’re not making any money. That’s the reason they’re quitting. Not very “open” if you ask me.
Amen! Strikes me that there would be plenty of regulars there who would gladly pony up some cabbage, if operating costs were an issue. But like other good corporatists, albeit of the "leftist" flavor, it's all about making the almighty profit - readers be damned.