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.


catnip said...

What happened to the background? It's Pepto Pink!

James said...

The only fix I had to our comments situation required me to either use Blogger's new templates or figure out a lot of html code that honestly is out of my depth. I tried best I could to at least keep within the spirit of the old template. There are ways to play around with the color scheme, which perhaps I shall get to doing so one day - if someone else doesn't beat me to it first. :)

I don't often get time for meta, but at least this place is still around when/if needed.

catnip said...

I'm glad this place is still here too.

Not sure how to play around with the colours but I might take a look.

James said...

By all means, feel free. I think the main thing is to go to the advanced tab of the template designer, and fool around with the color scheme from there. I tried to keep it as pinkish as I could out of respect for DTF, but I really haven't given myself the time to really do much. I was just thankful to get two sets of comments merged into one, and its nice to have a historical record of what went on. But I digress. Hope you are doing well.

I've also been reviving Everybody Comes From Somewhere. That particular project is going slowly, though hardly unexpected. The direction that one takes is still open. Would love to get something of that feel of community (even virtual) outside the gated community blogs going again.

catnip said...

I had no idea ECFS still existed. I wouldn't go back there if the same bunch returns.

Anyway, Bowers got a steady gig on the dkos front page which, I imagine, comes with $$. I suspect that's why Open Left shut down. Well, that and the fact that it was pretty much a useless site.

James said...

I suspect you're right about Bowers' motive for closing Open Left. Not surprised he'd head for greener pastures as it were.

As for ECFS...I have no idea what its composition will look like ultimately. Some of the old crew is gone for good. That much I do know. I wouldn't be too surprised if a number of folks from back in the day are hanging back, waiting to see who shows up. I know there's some history - some of it pleasant, some considerably less so. Beyond that, I simply assume that whatever the mix, the experience will be different. Different how, as I said, I don't quite know yet. To be continued....