Monday, November 14, 2005

This is getting ridiculous

The ongoing flame war about commercial uses of podcasting just went into the twilight zone. Steve Gillmor posted a screed on ZDNet quoting what I thought was a perfectly reasonable post by Nick Carr and saying the following:

What a bunch of baloney, Nick. Money comes, regardless of whether it's one or all of your incentives. Competition itself encourages experimentation of business models, and attempting to assert a difference between amateurs and professionals is a ridiculous exercise akin to second generation Americans locking the doors to immigration. We're all amateurs, Nick, particularly when we hide behind the skirts of DRM models in an age where producers and publishers had better get used to paying us to pay attention to them, and find their profit in the margin in the marketplace of gestures.

Steve posts this on ZDNet. The page on which it is posted has four picture ads, five links to sponsored corporate blogs, five links to sponsored corporate white papers, three keyword-based text ads and another three sponsored links under ZDNet's Powercenter program. That is TWENTY advertisements on one page. And you can bet Ziff-Davis employs DRM-like tracking software to keep tabs on what each "customer" is looking at and clicking on. And he has the gall to be criticising the commercialisation of podcasting? How about the commercialisation of blogs, why aren't you railing against that Steve? Is it perhaps because you think, quite rightly, that you deserve to be paid to produce content? Why should podcasting remain the rarified preserve of Olympic amateurs, while you and millions of other bloggers benefit from advertising revenue? What's the difference?

I have nothing against Ziff-Davis, I got my start in journalism on a ZD-licensed publication and I think it's a fine company. I think Steve should be paid for his efforts, just as Keith & The Girl should have the option of getting some monetary compensation from being in the top 10 podcasters worldwide.

And before people like Dave Winer protest that they don't support advertising, give me a break. It's easy for Dave, he can support his podcasting amateurism because he makes millions of dollars selling his software. Not everyone is that blessed. Some people would like to be able to make better podcasts by being compensated for doing it. Steve says "we are all amateurs", but that is not true. He is a professional at his chosen profession, just as Dave is a professional at his profession. That they can afford to remain podcasting amateurs is nice for them, but some people would like to be podcasting "professionals" (by which I mean treat it as their full time job).

It's easy to be libertarian when you're rich and established. If that's character assassination, then I guess I'm the guy in the book depository holding the rifle (or to use an Australian example, I'm the shark with bits of Prime Minister stuck on his teeth). That doesn't mean it's not true.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

ZDNet hasn't been owned by Ziff Davis for about 4-5 years now. It is owned by CNET.

oh.. and my 2c's ...
if you didn't have the advertiser paying for you to view the page, it and most others sites would have gone away, or been put under a subscription fee.
so I am pro advertising on podcasts, and on zdnet too ;-)

10:30 pm, November 14, 2005  
Blogger Paul Montgomery said...

Quite so Ian, I'm showing my age there. The same goes for CNET, of course.

12:04 am, November 15, 2005  

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