K5 is a business now that it takes advertising revenue, because the intent is to make profit for the site's principal(s).
Even if K5 only ever makes enough money to break even, Rusty has said that he'd like to make enough money from K5 to be able to afford to spend more time on it. That makes it a business.
As such, it would be just as illegal to volunteer to help here as it would be to volunteer at AOL, would it not?
And if this is the case, does this mean that sites like K5 should be required to share income with contributors? I'm more than a little frightened by that idea. If K5 makes money, they *should* pay us for contributing. And so should Slashdot. And Plastic. And CNN.com. And Amazon.com can't claim ownership of my reviews unless they pay me. And so forth. Frightened, yes -- but I'd take the money regardless. And if enough noise was made by the community -- some groundswell of support for the "no volunteers" movement -- I may even demand the money.
Luckily, it's never going to happen. Without voluntary contribution (of time, content, or whatever) the Web is dead dead dead. What will happen is that as the Web grows, more sites will have to offer greater incentives for contributions (as the user base diffuses) -- and then AOL will eventually have no choice but to pay their "volunteers", or lose them to other sites who will.
A man may build a throne of bayonets, but he can not sit on it. --Inge