I wrote a letter to the Pajamas Media network bloggers yesterday, some of whom took it a bit more personally than intended. We disbanded the ad network part of our business for a simple reason: it was losing money and we couldn’t see how in the reasonable future that would change.
Actually that part of our business has been losing money from the beginning, so the people getting their quarterly checks from PJM were getting a form of stipend from us in the hopes that advertisers would start to cotton to blogs and we could possibly make a profit. Didn’t happen. No wonder those people are kicking and screaming now that they are off the dole. I might too. [What’s their beef? I thought most of them were free marketeer libertarians or something.-ed. Go figure.]
The Pajamas Media portal and the XpressBlogs will remain exactly as they are, but as many of you have noticed we are putting considerable effort into Pajamas TV. The theory behind this is that television is on the cusp of change and the Internet and the TV set will soon fuse. Apple TV already exists and several of the electronic companies have flat screen TVs in the pipeline with the Internet accessible at the click of a remote. Pajamas TV is trying to position itself for this in the long run. Will it work? Beats me. But if it doesn’t, we can always ask for a bailout. [I hope you’re kidding.-ed. My lips are sealed.]
UPDATE: Thanks for your feedback. I’m sorry if people found the word “dole” insulting. I didn’t intend it that way. Suffice to say, that organized online media is a work in progress and we’re all trying to figure it out. When we began PJM, we tried to be as generous as we could with bloggers (most of whom were making less on BlogAds, if they were making anything at all), but we evidently over-estimated. I hope we’ve all benefited from the experience. In dismantling our ad network, we tried to give bloggers as much warning as we could (in this case two months), so they could find other means of generating revenue. We wish every one of them luck.
Pajamas Media is now moving into a new arena, television. We’re only just beginning this direction and will be trying a lot of different approaches. We expect we’ll be getting a lot of feedback and will be making a lot of mistakes along the way.
Old media seems to be collapsing around us, but a healthy democracy requires a healthy press. We all need to find a way of keeping the news and opinion business alive. We hope our way works and we hope other ways work.