I’ve been out of town a lot, hence my lack of blogging.
Today I got email from the folks at plugaid about their new site creamaid. This is all set up to be mysterious, but it’s basically a commercial version of their flagship product (a tool for blog-based persistent conversations). In other words, it allows people to blog for $. Say the Nike/iPod shoe launches today. Nike/iPod could offer $2 to any blogger who wrote about it on a certain day. Creamaid is a way of tracking this.
Here’s how it works:
1. Participating site (nike.com, for example) posts a Creamaid box on their site
2. Blogger clicks “participate”
3. Blogger enters his or her email address
4. Blogger cut-n-pastes tracking code which she/he includes in his/her entry about the product/thing/topic, thus pasting the Creamaid box on their entry as well
5. Creamaid emails blogger with $X through PayPal once he/she has blogged.
There are a number of things that are really interesting about this. Monetizing blogging isn’t new at all, and we’re only seeing more of a movement toward monetizing user-contributed content (partly perhaps because people are starting to wise up to the fact that many Web2.0 companies are getting “rich” off their users’ content contributions). But this is a very centralized way to track this process.
I’m also curious if the blogger can blog *anything* about the product – like what if I said “the new Nike/iPod thing totally sucks, and both companies use sweatshop labor!!” Would I still get my two dollars?
Finally, anyone who does post about the topic also gets the Creamaid box on their blog post. People might like this. Plugaid allows for very centralized blog-to-blog conversations, using a persistant comment box that is common across blogs (which is very neat), but I’m not sure whether people will respond positively to Creamaid as it could be used for fairly intrusive and annoying embedded advertising.
So my verdict is that the service is kind of cool, but, as with any technology, we will have to see how it’s used. I am NOT one of those people who thinks that blogging should be some sort of purist activity in which nobody makes money. Nor do I think that money should be every blogger’s motivation (my motivation in blogging is to promote my academic career, and I’m not very shy about that). It’s up to the individual blogger whether to add AdWords or anything else, and it’s also up to them to feel comfortable with the amount of corporate shilling they do as part of the blog. It’s also up to them how they want to respond to critiques, and people who choose to participate in monetizing activities should be prepared for criticism at this point in the evolution of blogging.
Honestly, all this is so silly since “blog” is just another word for “personal homepage” or “journal”, all of which have been around for 10+ years. This site alone has been going in its current incarnation for seven years (I’ve been “homepaging” since 1995), and I don’t think the current blog is that much different from all my old hand-coded homepages. People have been selling their thoughts online since the days of Canter and Siegel. People who get all huffy about the blogosphere, in my experience, are people without long-term internet experience.
It’ll be interesting to see if Creamaid catches on. If nothing else, it seems to have a clear and obvious business model, which is a refreshing change in Web 2.0 world. But is anyone really using Plugaid yet?