rusty voted 1 on this story.
Ok, first of all, let me make it perfectly clear that lots of compliments to me won't make your story go up any fatser. But I like them so keep 'em coming! ;-)
As for corporate media. Let me 'splain. No, there is no time to 'splain. Let me sum up: In part, corporate media is to thank for kuro5hin.org. Watching the decline of slashdot from an online obsession of mine to a total soup of gibberish provided much of the motivation for me to stop complaining and write my own damn site (like everyone kept telling me to do when I was complaining). I didn't fail to note the concidence between the Andover->VA buyout process, and the sudden loss of everything that made slashdot cool to begin with. So lesson number one learned right there. Whatever happened over there, it all went wrong.
What would I do, if approached with a similar deal? Having seen what happened to slashdot, I have my answer all set. The conversation goes something like this:
Corp: "We'd like to bring kuro5hin.org into our fine family of media outlets.
Me: "Ok, that'll be fifteen million, cash at the first window. Please drive thru."
Corp: "Er. That seems a little steep. We'd like you to sign these papers here, stating that you'll be our indentured servant for a period of blah blah blah and not compete in our core markets and blah blah blah..."
Me: "No. You give me 15 million dollars, I give you the rights to use kuro5hin.[com|net|org] and turn over all the code, database contents, html, and images on www.kuro5hin.org and images.kuro5hin.org. That's the deal."
And that's only the first offer. It just keeps getting more expensive after that. :-)
Yes, that's utterly ludicrous. It really is what I seriously intend to say if the situation should ever arise. But I don't expect that deal to fly, ever. And really, I don't care. I didn't start this site to make money. I don't care if it ever does. It'd be nifty and fun to work on kuro5hin full time, and if that happens, well, all the better. But whatever happens, it'll be on my terms.
Yes, there may end up being ads here eventually. Actually I have a cool idea for ads that I think people might actually *like*. An opt-in plan, basically. You can choose to have an adbox displayed on your pages, if you're a user, and also you can pick categories of ads you're interested in seeing. Don't want ads? Shut the adbox off. While the total volume of ads displayed might be lower than most sites, I'm betting the clickthrough would be phenomenal. But I'll get to it when I get to it, and in the grand scheme it rates fairly low on my priority list right now.
About the idea that anyone can start a site but no one can get noticed, that's just not really true, I think. It's *hard* to get noticed. You have to provide something that is lacking. And doing that is a lot of work (believe me. It's a lot of work). But even in what has to be the most glutted online media niche, tech news, kuro5hin has actually begun to be known to people. We have over 500 registered users, and the site's existed for barely three months. The numbers just continue to grow. Now that's not, obviously, curculation on par with the Big Media Outlets, but for a site which has had *zero* official publicity, it ain't too bad.
What worries me a lot more is that what we are is basically a weblog. We aggregate content from around the web, and from the Big Media Outlets themselves, mostly. What I wonder is how to move from being a media repackager to being a media producer. I believe that sites like this one are the future of internet media-- people want something that grabs their interest. They want other people. As long as the traditional media outlets provide nothing but plain articles, people will continue to pop over, read one article, and come back to their favorite log to talk about it.
So how can sites like this become real producers of news? Well, slashdot has the money to actually hire reporters, if they wanted to, but they just don't seem interested in taking the step. I'd love to, but don't have the cash. Any ideas on that quandry are welcome.
Ok, this has got to be the longest story mod comment ever, so I'll stop now. In case it wasn't obvious, I loved this article. Please submit more discussion stuff like this!
Not the real rusty