Unhappy Conservative Bloggers

Via TBogg, conservative bloggers like Protein Wisdom (whose proprietor Jeff is a friend of mine) and LGF and many others who joined Pajamas Media got unwelcome news: PJ is letting the bloggers go from their advertising network. They are going to focus on Pajamas TV, aka internet video. Instapundit has more.

Here's the letter PJ sent to its blogger corps: [More....]

As you know, last September Pajamas Media began a new initiative in Internet television called Pajamas TV. When we started with our RNC coverage from Minneapolis, we noted that we would be in a Beta Phase through the first quarter of 2009. In the last few months we have strengthened the PJTV lineup with shows covering Media Bias, Education Bias, Middle East Update, Sharia and Jihad, Powerline Report, Ask Dr. Helen, Hugh News, Poliwood, Conservatism 2.0, Economy and Finance, National Security, and others.

As the end of the first quarter approaches and we near the production phase of Pajamas TV, we will continue to build our emphasis in this area. As a result we have decided to wind down the Pajamas Media Blogger and advertising network effective March 31, 2009. The PJM portal and the XPressBlogs will continue as is.

Since our ad relationship continues for the time being, you should note that in order to be paid for the 1st quarter of 2009, you must leave the current Pajamas ads up until 12:01AM April 1. We will be sending you information in mid-March on removing the ads. As of April 1, 2009, you will be free to arrange syndication or re-sale deals.

We thank you very much for participating during the formative years of Pajamas Media and we look forward to working with you in other ways. One of those is, of course, Pajamas TV. If you have any ideas in that regard, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Our best wishes in the new year and again our deepest gratitude for your participation in Pajamas Media.


Roger L. Simon
CEO, Pajamas Media

The PJ model when it began several years ago was to put bloggers under contract and offer them X dollars a month for a year or 18 months. The X depended on the blog's traffic at the time of the contract. The blog could triple its traffic during the course of the contract, or lose traffic, and the amount stayed the same. The blogs didn't share in PJM's revenue. It was like a set salary. Apparently, things improved in recent years.

They did pay good rates, especially lately. And the model for payment was pretty transparent and intuitive -- paid per impression. One could figure out one's quarterly payment just by eyeballing one's Sitemeter. BlogAds paid okay, but there are always those patches where no one really wants to buy ads, making income kind of unpredictable.

Bloggers could also make money with PJM by writing exclusive articles for them. They pay the going rate -- I've written a few things for them and liked working with their editors. My problem was time, not PJM. I've always thought going beyond the choir of readers who share your view was a plus. You get to expose your ideas to readers who wouldn't otherwise see them.

I feel badly for the bloggers being let go (the list is pretty extensive) but I don't see how anyone made a living (as opposed to covering the costs of the blog and some spending money)just by blogging as part of PJM's network. And there are other revenue sources out there, including Blogads, which does have a conservative blog network.

What I wonder about is whether PJ is right that internet tv is the way to go. Everyone seems to be doing it lately, from Talking Points Memo to Daily Kos, but who has the time or the patience to watch all this video? When you read something, you can do it as fast as you are able. You can't speedwatch video. (Ann Althouse agrees.)Nor can people at work watch video the way they can surf through blogs on the internet -- quietly so no one can tell they're not working.

PJ Chief Roger Simon explains their reasoning:

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 PJM TV takes off. Just like I hope Daily Kos TV takes off. I may not agree with Roger Simon or Glenn Reynolds on politics (although Glenn and I are pretty close on many legal issues because he's a libertarian) but I do like them personally. Just like I like Ann Althouse and Jeff at Protein Wisdom.

I agree with another point Ann makes that Blogads has been the best advertising network out there. ( Another is Common Sense Media with a full stable of liberal bloggers.) With Blogads, we set our own prices, our income has nothing to do with click-throughs or traffic on a particular day or week, and they steer advertisers to us.

So, conservative bloggers, don't despair. Blogads is a business. Even if you left them years ago for PJM, give them a shout-out. It's better than going dark if you love to blog but need to be compensated because of the amount of time it takes or expense involved.

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    It will be interesting to see (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by ruffian on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 10:16:27 PM EST
    how the TV stuff works out. I rarely watch the TPM videos, and probably wouldn't watch the Kos videos, even if I were reading Kos.
    I can read the information a lot faster than I can watch it, and the video does not usually add that much to the experience for me.

    Is it a generational thing?

    Tough times are coming (none / 0) (#1)
    by SOS on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 09:31:10 PM EST
    there's going to be a major shakeout on the internet best prepare now with a plan to get you through lean times and shrinking revenue sources.

    tough times indeed (none / 0) (#2)
    by skippybkroo on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 10:14:04 PM EST
    i agree w/joe gandelman of the moderate voice, we're in a fetid tsunami of an economy.

    My conspiracy theory.... (none / 0) (#4)
    by jerry on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 10:20:50 PM EST
    I have a theory, and it is mine.  This is how it goes.

    When PJM was founded with VC money, there was lots of speculation it was funded through government blackops money.  Ya Rly.  So my  conspiracy theory is that with the new Administration,

    1. The blackops money has dried up, or
    2. This is the Obama Administration's first step in the way of urk, eliminating their worst nightmare, the conservative bloggers who would otherwise be around to expose their nefarious dealings.  As proof, PROOF, I note that the Confederate Yankee is on the list of bloggers being silenced.

    Wake up sheeple!

    This is my theory, and it is mine.

    Eh-hem... (none / 0) (#6)
    by EL seattle on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 11:58:02 PM EST
    This seems to be a plausible theory to me.  But I'd expand it to consider the possibility that almost all of VC money will be going on hiatus for the next year or two.

    A lot of VC-funded projects (of every political stripe) might be going the way of the brontosaurus this year.


    The Catch (none / 0) (#5)
    by squeaky on Sat Jan 31, 2009 at 11:34:44 PM EST
    ..whoa, whoa, whoa...is it true that the idea is that this wingnut Bloggingheads will involve a subscription fee? That's twice as expensive as Showtime? Maybe there are people who would actually pay money to watch Glenn Reynolds interview Roger Simon. I don't know. Frankly, I don't want to know.

    Lawyers Guns & Money via atrios

    are there more than (none / 0) (#7)
    by cpinva on Sun Feb 01, 2009 at 04:13:15 AM EST
    3 people, in the entire world, who actually like ann althouse personally? i find it difficult (no, make that impossible) to believe her net personae is merely an act. most people, who aren't pros, just aren't that consistent, their true personality slips through eventually. her's is so ignorant and abrasive, who could stand being in the same space with her, much less be friends?

    and please, spare me the "oh, but she's so smart and a law professor" nonsense. any idiot, capable of regurgitation, can pass any class, any test, and teach the same. it doesn't absolutely require creativity or imagination. remember all the really dull, but essentially effective, instructors you had in school?

    ok, now that i got that rant out of my system.....

    but wait, i thought the conservatives were the only true americans, and their ditto-head choirs supported them all the way?

    ok, guess i was wrong.

    ordinarily, i'd be supportive of more voices in marketplace of ideas. however, when some of those voices are not only consistently wrong, about everything, but liars to boot, i see their loss as, well..................no loss at all.

    perhaps, all those wealthy republicans will open their wallets, and provide the funds necessary to keep your conservative blogger friends going.

    probably not.