A major center for online political activism on the left, Daily Kos*, pays for its activities exclusively through the free market.
It’s an experiment of sorts. I’m not crazy about the look of banner ads, but it promises to be a huge revenue generator. And while the site is in good financial shape, I’ve started funding “fellows” to do great activism work. The more revenues the site generates, the more of those fellows I can fund. Currently, I’m funding two of them (in addition to a paid staff of three working on dKos and SportsBlogs).
[…] I’ve learned that us netroots activists can’t depend on traditional funding sources to get our work done. And quite frankly, I suck at asking for money. But if Daily Kos can pay for those activism efforts, then I don’t have to waste time begging for money and can focus on the important things — building infrastructure.
Unless I am misinformed, Josh Marshall’s growing empire can probably say the same thing. If any major centers of rightwing activism support themselves on their own revenue, off of the Olin/Scaife/etc major-donor spigot, I don’t know about them. That doesn’t mean that they do not exist of course, only that I have not heard about it. But as far as I can tell it seems very ironic.
(*) Bigger than Jerome? Dunno. But big.
It’s my impression that Kos is like a thousand times bigger than My DD, but I could be wrong.
Ironic? Is that the proper word here? What, exactly, is the irony that a left blog can support itself but a right one cannot? Is the idea of capitalism vs. handouts the irony?
Um yeah, the idea of prominent leftwing advocates making it in the free market while prominent rightwing advocates survive on welfare strikes me as irony. Unless I am wrong, in which case it would be called me being full of shit.
Fascinating. I’ve never really thought about it, but isn’t it ridiculous that Cato is probably completely dependent on welfare?
The Other Steve
It appears that everybody involved in Pajamas Media is not running ads right now.
srv – Interesting point. Cato seems to exist for no other purpose than being more Cato like.
Media Matters, to name but one of many lefty blogs, survives solely due to very substantial financial subsidies from wealthy donors very much in the Scaife mold. And Moveon, while not a “blog” has received much of its financial support over the years from a few wealthy lefties, such as George Soros. Air America, another lefty media vehicle, is apparently facing another financial disaster because lefties can’t attract listeners as those on the right do.
Media Matters is not a blog. In fact, it is a 501(c)(3) organization.
Moveon is, as you stated, not a blog.
and Air America is, as you stated, not a blog.
So… nice attempt to change the topic.
Mr. Spencer: Media Matters may indeed have been established as a [email protected](3) organization, but it functions in all substantive respects as does a “blog,” and indeed, has very great similarities to what Josh Marshall’s activites have evolved to in recent months.
In other respects, you appear to have correctly summarized my comments.
There are several talk radio stations featuring Limbaugh & Friends which are perpetual money-losers, kept afloat by the same mysterious forces that prop up the various money-losing magazines you see on the newsstand.
Furthermore, Fox News was a money-loser until after the War in Iraq started, coverage of which nearly doubled its ratings. Not sure how uncommon this is for a new network, or how they’re doing now that the war fever is wearing off and their ratings are slipping.
And don’t forget The Washington Times, also famous due to its unprofitability, its hackishness, and its nutty owner.
Pb, in a deeply ironic twist, Rev. Moon’s son is looking for a replacement editor for the Times because the current EiC and managing editor are bat-shit crazy, racist misogynists.
To talk about true bloggers that make their own way with ad revenue, how about the Instapundit’s example? Sure, he belongs to the PJM collective, but an average of over 140k impressions per diem has got to put a dent in someone’s advertising budget.
Aside from him, I can’t think of anyone else. Glenn, Josh, and Markos are pretty much it for the top tier. One is a pure blogger. One is pure journalism brought into blog format. And one is a progressive website combined with a genteel Hell’s Angels hangout. (The comparison, for those who have not run afoul of the Kossacks, is quite apt.)
Umm, Off Colfax: Glenn Reynolds is hardly a “pure blogger” – I’m not sure if anything about his blogging would merit the term “pure” in whatever definition – he does have a “real” job as a law-school professor: and running Instapundit can’t take up all his time: after all, how long can it take to sift out a few links to right-wing bloggers and add “Heh”?
And Tim: I don’t think most righties would define the subsidies that right-wing media get from their corporate/plutocratic supporters as “welfare” – they seem to reserve that term of oppobrium for anything they don’t like that involves public v. private funding – “free market” and all that – maybe we can find some other term to use (maybe something suitably disparaging from medieval serfdom) for it.
I will say this. Whatever it is you are linking to at media.fastclick.net on this site makes the site load slower than sludge!
Davebo – for what it’s worth, I have a short list of “quit loading these” sites in my hosts file. I’d prefer to use adblock, but it interacts badly with some places I have to view, so…
replace the media.etc. with whatever site that’s slowing you down. WARNING. Adding too many sites will have a slowdown on overall searching. CAVEAT. 100 sites (so far) is not “too many”.
For the record (if anyone cares) Sitemeter.com says Daily Kos currently averages 534,384 hits per day, while http://www.mydd.com averages 36,479.
what does a guy like Markos make from that site, after paying his hosting dues and “salaries”? Are talking pocket change (~$15K), decent scratch ($60K), or big money ($100K)? Can anyone ballpark this? IOW, is that his full-time gig, or must he supplement with a real job?
For that matter, does Mr. Cole make any green with this site, or does Bra and Panties Media take the profits and leave JC with a webpage and keyboard?
Just wanted to point out that Chris Bowers on a post titled something like “Meta MyDD” about two months ago said the site gets something like 25,000 visitors a day. Now if you mean power as in Kos influence/Jerome influence… well who knows what goes on that “dark and sinister” email list.
I don’t believe that Kos has a day job. I believe the ad revenue from his various websites is how he makes a living.
Jay C: Well, isn’t that the most basic function of the blogger? Can one get a more basic description of our defining concept than to find interesting things around the internet and make a snarky comment either in favor of or against the page in question? Admittedly, most of us do something more than a short “Heh, indeed.” but whatever works for both Glenn Reynolds and Duncan Black can’t be too far off the mark.
And, to my knowledge, the only person actually able to make a living off of their blog is the Kos himself (Josh comes closer, but I believe he still does freelance work to make ends meet. I could be wrong.), so that means that the rest of us will, by default, have a day job while we moonlight as bloggers on our free time. (Or, if you’re like Duncan Black, during office hours when we should actually be working for our paying jobs.)
Offhand, I have no idea, but I do know that (a) ads on the site aren’t cheap, and (b) hosting the site isn’t cheap either–they’ve got quite a few servers back there. And if you know anything about Scoop and mySQL, you’ll agree that the database servers alone must be absolute monsters.
This would be ironic, if, in fact, lefties were against the free market as the underlying organizational model for a society. You’re unconsciously pushing bullshit Repub memes, man. Reframe:
Dailykos’s and TPMCafe’s success are an example of the lefty commitment to a free market of ideas, sustained by the reputations for excellence which their sites have developed. The righty model is, of course, to rely on the subsidies of large organizations, be they corporate or governmental.
It all depends on what your definition of ‘free market’ is. I’m categorically against any sort of totally unfettered Laissez-Faire approach, because that tends to just result in the creation of those self-same large, entrenched power structures. I’m for having a competitive market, with no unnecessary monopolies.
The Other Steve
That’s the problem with a lot of regulation. It’s purpose is to create an entrenched power structure with unnecessary monopolies.
The Other Steve,
Indeed–I’ll stick with the ‘necessary’ ones, which apparently includes some–but by no means all–regulation. :)
Haven’t even heard Scaife’s name in eons… Probably because of so many lefty blogs and organizations eating from the Soros trough.
By the by Mr. “Not a Blog,” the term “blog” was never used in Tim F.’s post, so the citings of Air America, MMFA, etc. is apropo.