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[P]
Andover, and over, and over...

By rusty in News
Tue Apr 11, 2000 at 12:59:27 PM EST
Tags: Internet (all tags)
Internet

The linux news website acquisition frenzy continues. This time Tucows is getting into the act, buying up Linux Weekly News. The Register speculates that Tucows is doing this to remain competitive with the Freshmeat-Andover-VA juggernaut, and that an IPO may be in the works later this year. See the announcement on LWN. Is this a good idea, or a cash grab? Do you trust Tucows more than Andover?


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Andover, and over, and over... | 23 comments (23 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
Wonder how this is gonna effect us ... (3.00 / 1) (#5)
by gnuchris on Tue Apr 11, 2000 at 11:26:48 AM EST

gnuchris voted 1 on this story.

Wonder how this is gonna effect us little guys in the long run. Kuro5hin, LinuxLock, Rootprompt.. etc....
"He had alot to say, He had alot of nothing to say" -TOOL-

Re: Wonder how this is gonna effect us ... (4.00 / 1) (#9)
by rusty on Tue Apr 11, 2000 at 02:05:34 PM EST

That's really the question on my mind. I'm not all that worried, personally. Kuro5hin has had no promotion to speak of, and we're doing ok. It seems like the kind of people who read the open-source news sites tend to distrust big conglomerates anyway, especially big media conglomerates. Well, tell your friends that we're still independent. :-)

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Re: Wonder how this is gonna effect us ... (none / 0) (#11)
by gnuchris on Tue Apr 11, 2000 at 05:06:34 PM EST

Yeah I feel the same. Linuxlock does alright on it's own. I mean we are not charging advertisers, just looking for some eyeballs. It's the "community" that makes this whole thing important, not the money. When someone I really respect in the community says something about my site, it is gratifying enough. The one thing I'd like of my site is to make it more interactive. I think Kuro5hin does the best job of any of the Open Source sites, in being interactive.
"He had alot to say, He had alot of nothing to say" -TOOL-
[ Parent ]
Re: Wonder how this is gonna effect us ... (none / 0) (#12)
by rusty on Tue Apr 11, 2000 at 05:09:25 PM EST

I think Kuro5hin does the best job of any of the Open Source sites, in being interactive.

Aww, shucks. T'warnt nuthin. ;-)

We'll be unveiling community editing and rewriting pretty soon. More interactive by the day I tell ya.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Re: Wonder how this is gonna effect us ... (none / 0) (#14)
by Inoshiro on Tue Apr 11, 2000 at 06:02:50 PM EST

Am I going to have to learn Perl now?
Oh well, at least I have the book from the library (crappy though it be, with bits falling out).

Of course, I'm not going to be able to read LWN.net with a clear conscience anymore :-(.. I hate Tucows. They suck.

--
[ イノシロ ]
[ Parent ]
Re: Wonder how this is gonna effect us ... (none / 0) (#17)
by FlinkDelDinky on Tue Apr 11, 2000 at 09:29:38 PM EST

You know I'm not to enamoured about community editing. Although it would have been helpful when I submitted my movie review to the que. I still think re-editing was more appropriate.

I think it's no problem if you're talking about a blurb with lots of links that somebody put up in a rush. But when somebody writes original content for you they're working pretty hard. If a problem crops up give them a chance to correct it.

Community editing should be an option to the submitter. This should be done out of respect for the work the submitter put in to their article.



[ Parent ]

Re: Wonder how this is gonna effect us ... (none / 0) (#18)
by rusty on Tue Apr 11, 2000 at 09:40:06 PM EST

Ah, I think you have the wrong idea about community editing. It's not editing directly by the community, but rather a chance for authors to have a forum dedicated to suggestions for the current article, by the community. Only the author will have the actual ability to make changes.

Basically, here's how I see the idea working:

  • Everyone has one extra vote, in addition to the three that exist already: "Edit"
  • If a story gets enough edit votes, it goes in a special section, with a normal discussion attached, and the author gets the "magical" ability to edit the story as much or as little as she sees fit. Logged-in readers can browse the stories "in progress" and make their own comments on what ought to be tweaked.
  • Eventually, an author and whoever's interested in helping rewrite will presumably reach a concensus, and the author will re-submit. At which point all votes are wiped and the story starts out again at zero.
So it's not going to take away any of your authorial control. Just provide an easy way for folks to discuss what they think needs to be different. I'm still not sure what to do with existing comments. I'm leaning toward dropping comments on the old version, when voting begins again.

Does that sound better? Or should community editing still be optional? I don't know why you'd want it to be, though, given the mechanics I'm proposing...

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Re: Wonder how this is gonna effect us ... (none / 0) (#19)
by bmetzler on Tue Apr 11, 2000 at 09:52:27 PM EST

It's the "community" that makes this whole thing important, not the money.

I agree with this. I don't think thatbig companies buying all the web sites is really a problem. Until AOL owns all the IP addresses, if someone doesn't likewhat's available, they can start their own site. A site doesn't need to be the largest to be successful. A small site with a few hundred active participants can be nicer the a large site with 10's of thousands of participants all chanting "hot grits".

Where's there's a will, there's a way. And there'll always be those small friendly community sites, along with the large community sites.


www.bmetzler.org - it's not just a personal weblog, it's so much more.
[ Parent ]
Re: Wonder how this is gonna effect us ... (5.00 / 1) (#15)
by driph on Tue Apr 11, 2000 at 06:55:28 PM EST

Heh, archive this comment so we can drag it out in a year or so. ;]

Personally, I don't give a damn who owns the sites I read, as long as the content and s-to-n ratio is good. I'm all for independant site operators making a bundle off of an aquisition, especially when they are granted editoral freedom. Who doesnt want to pull a salary based off something they've been working on and promoting in their more or less spare time?

--
Vegas isn't a liberal stronghold. It's the place where the rich and powerful gamble away their company's pension fund and strangle call girls in their hotel rooms. - Psycho Dave
[ Parent ]
Very clever title :-)... (1.50 / 2) (#1)
by Skippy on Tue Apr 11, 2000 at 11:46:11 AM EST

Skippy voted 1 on this story.

Very clever title :-)
# I am now finished talking out my ass about things that I am not qualified to discuss. #

Maybe they'll buy geeky.org too :-)... (1.50 / 2) (#6)
by End on Tue Apr 11, 2000 at 11:50:49 AM EST

End voted 1 on this story.

Maybe they'll buy geeky.org too :-)

-JD

I hope they don't screw it up like ... (2.50 / 2) (#4)
by pulsar on Tue Apr 11, 2000 at 11:51:03 AM EST

pulsar voted 1 on this story.

I hope they don't screw it up like Andover did for /.

Oh, I always liked lwn. I really h... (2.00 / 1) (#2)
by neonman on Tue Apr 11, 2000 at 12:45:40 PM EST

neonman voted 1 on this story.

Oh, I always liked lwn. I really hope tucows doesn't mess it up. All that has happened to slashdot since Andover bought it is that it has gotten less interactive, (bad discussions/comments/comment posters) slower, and less reliable. I really used to be a better community with better content.
_________________________
Aaron Grogan
aaron@stufflikethat.org
http://stufflikethat.org/

Raise your hand if you think one co... (3.50 / 2) (#3)
by evro on Tue Apr 11, 2000 at 12:59:27 PM EST

evro voted 1 on this story.

Raise your hand if you think one company owning all the news distibution channels (*cough*aoltimewarner*cough*) is a Really Bad Thing. "Tonight on ABC News: How to invest in Disney, the stock that keeps on growing!" "This evening on CNN: Why America Online is the world's greatest company, followed by our special presentation, 'Steve Case: Man or God?'"
---
"Asking me who to follow -- don't ask me, I don't know!"

Re: Raise your hand if you think one co... (none / 0) (#10)
by Anonymous Hero on Tue Apr 11, 2000 at 03:21:37 PM EST

Frankly, it doesn't really matter. If you look Westinghouse, Time/Warner, AOL and GE already own 99% of the media in the US. I don't think the same thing could happen on the internet. For every slashdot there is another similar site that can't be bought out. Hopefully freenet will provide a good medium for that.

[ Parent ]
Re: Raise your hand if you think one co... (none / 0) (#22)
by jsk on Wed Apr 12, 2000 at 06:51:41 AM EST

Imagine that the big commercial interests begin to say "You have to protect us and the fragile New Economy from evil hackers," and the government turns the Internet (or perhaps the Internet II) into a "one-way interactive" medium, in which we can pull content & push our credit card numbers, but can do nothing else. This in an effort to protect us from cyberterrorists.

Of course, in this scenario, everyone can still have their own home page. But like Ham radio, they wouldn't get the best frequencies and won't get much of an audience outside their own community. The truly independent pages would be stuck on the "old Internet" (or on Freenet) in a sort of ghetto, where anyone can put up a page, but where many people fear to wander (it's full of hackers and porn!). Any site which manages to become popular even in the ghetto amidst of all of the squalor of abandoned Geocities pages is either acquired by, or partnered with, or otherwise adopted by one of the big companies on the commercial (real) Internet -- perhaps in the same way that independent TV producers sell shows to the networks.

In a way, this is already happening.

-jsk

[ Parent ]

Re: Andover is irrelevant. (3.00 / 1) (#7)
by eann on Tue Apr 11, 2000 at 01:42:53 PM EST

You will be assimila...er...no, wait. That's not what I meant.

That other site was starting to have its problems before Andover stepped in. Things just kept going downhill. Faster and faster, but that's the way the acceleration due to gravity works.

Another aside to Rusty: <sup> is a reasonable tag to allow through the filter. As are <sub> and , and probably a few others that I've omitted to try to keep the bloat to a minimum. :)

Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men. —MLK

$email =~ s/0/o/; # The K5 cabal is out to get you.


Re: Andover is irrelevant. (none / 0) (#8)
by eann on Tue Apr 11, 2000 at 01:46:25 PM EST

Okay, so <code> is allowed (but not mentioned in the string of acceptable tags), and I didn't catch it on the first preview, because the preview function converted my &lt; and &gt; to < and >, which it could then interpret as a tag the second time through. This is what I get for making a minor edit and not re-previewing. Feh!

Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men. —MLK

$email =~ s/0/o/; # The K5 cabal is out to get you.


[ Parent ]
Re: Andover is irrelevant. (none / 0) (#13)
by Inoshiro on Tue Apr 11, 2000 at 05:55:49 PM EST

FWIW, the comment box *does* does turn < and > into the proper entities for all unknown tags, it's just that most browsers tend to render them back into non-entities, which it then submits.. Poke.. Just use < and > where ever you want, and trust that it will be escaped properly :-)

--
[ イノシロ ]
[ Parent ]
Re: Andover, and over, and over... (2.00 / 1) (#16)
by FlinkDelDinky on Tue Apr 11, 2000 at 09:18:41 PM EST

Well, I don't even know who tucows is. Really, I'm looking at their home page right now. Hmmm, looks really boring. I think I'll close that browser. Is the danger gone?

I think all these web companies buying other web companies within the Freenix culture isn't going to result in much of anything. Does anybody really think Redhat is worth even 1 billion? Even 100 million?

I don't

So you think slashdot has problems? There's kuro5hin and others (although I'm not aware of them, I found kuro5hin from a /. post) to take its place as your prefered time killer.



Re: Andover, and over, and over... (none / 0) (#20)
by Paul Dunne on Wed Apr 12, 2000 at 03:20:15 AM EST

Well, as usual in such cases, it's "wait and see" time. But really, I think the harm done by such acquisitions can be exaggerated. And the people behind LWN strike me as more aware of such issues than the /. guys.

We should expect this to become the norm, anyway. Most sites set up in, say '98/'99, as Linux became mainstream news, were set up with the intention of being commercial (with the ironic exception of /.): in today's commercial world, this means being acquired at some point, especially if you're more interested in running a website about Linux than running a business. Some people have been luckier than others; I suppose for every /. or LWN there's ten boring little sites with a few hopefuls sitting watching the weblogs and waiting.

I think kuro5hin is different. Part of the attraction, after all, is that it's not a business, that it's fairly small, that it's rather informal. Viable business models and good weblogs don't seem to mix.
http://dunne.home.dhs.org/

Re: Andover, and over, and over... (none / 0) (#21)
by rusty on Wed Apr 12, 2000 at 03:40:09 AM EST

Viable business models and good weblogs don't seem to mix.

I wouldn't necessarily agree with that. As it turns out, selling ads is a viable business model for a site like this one. It's when the "business" side of it gets too big to be supported by ad revenue that problems arise. I feel like there's some kind of ideal traffic level, which would be self-sustaining through ads, but would allow a site to remain small and friendly. Of course, I might just be living in the Land of Make Believe. :-)

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Re: Andover, and over, and over... (none / 0) (#23)
by analog on Wed Apr 12, 2000 at 12:23:33 PM EST

How many songwriters have said it? Money changes everything. If you're doing one thing, doing it well, and being moderately successful, you might find that someone is willing to pay you to be associated with it in some way (by selling advertising in your example).

So what happens when the entity you're accepting money from discovers it can double its return by getting you to do something you promised not to? A favorite example is when /. began accepting ads. Rob swore he would never accept animated banners; I think it was less than a month before the first one showed up.

You'll either do what he did (give in), or watch that revenue stream go away. Going away may be no biggie if you haven't come to count on it (but if you can't count on it, what's the use of having it to begin with?). It's a sticky issue, and stickier than I think most people realize until they find themselves in the situation. When you also consider that it seems generating a reasonable return by offering a useful service appears to have been outlawed in our 'new economy', I think Paul is probably right.

[ Parent ]

Andover, and over, and over... | 23 comments (23 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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