The Network

OSM + Pajamas + $3.5M != 9rules

I can’t say I know how familiar everyone is with the disaster that is Pajamas Media, but if you do a search in Technorati or simply read my partner Mike Rundle’s rants over at Business Logs you should get a clear understanding of the mess they have created. Admittedly I get a bit nervous whenever any new type of content network starts because they usually start with big names and lots of money and Pajamas was no different. Then I read this blogjam session by some of the Editorial Advisory Board (who in the hell needs that?) and just sat there dumbfounded as they tried to define their company and the blogosphere.

Let me pull some choice quotes and see if I can follow with some commentary.

I think that overall the Pajamas / OSM operation has relied too much on the services of consultants and experts. They know stuff, but the results tend to be, well, corporate and sterile. And don’t even start me on the “branding” experts. I hope the check hasn’t cleared yet. . . . .

I didn’t even know companies still went to branding experts let alone companies whose business model revolves around blogs. Shouldn’t you ask the people involved what they think the brand should be and go from there?

Getting back to Pajamas means getting back to our roots. That would include the feel and structure of a homepage–smart but revolutionary, rebellious.

Hmmm, getting back to your roots when you just started? Doesn’t sound like a good thing. A smart but revolutionary homepage? Rebellious even? Wonder where you could find that?

On the other hand, the fact that so many people harshly criticized these decisions tells me three very encouraging things: it tells me that a lot of people are paying attention, that they are already invested enough to want to see a change that reflects their Platonic Ideal of a blogger-based enterprise, and that Roger and Charles have precisely the right attitude, which they demonstrated by responding quickly and positively. To me this says that PJM is going to be what it was meant be: a blogger driven undertaking shaped to the greatest possible extent by the interests and preferences of bloggers themselves.

I think so many people harshly criticized it because it was a lot of important people getting together with a lot of money and screwing up and the people who criticized are wondering why they weren’t given the $3.5M in Monopoly money to play with. How can you be a blogger driven undertaking with an advisory board, excluding all your bloggers in this exclusive conversation, and just doing what every other mainstream media outlet does? You can’t fake a brand and you can’t fake trying to be blogger driven when you aren’t.

Yes, I think we should be a portal to the blogosphere, not another MSM entity. And I think that the content should be much bloggier, with the emphasis on sending traffic out to blogs of all sorts.

Seriously, I have seen this somewhere before…

Is what Pajamas needs to do any different from what bloggers already do? And while our site needs to be perhaps a bit more complex, why not incorporate elements already held as favorites by the bloggers? It should be familiar, and flexible.

I think I am going to be sick. I know we aren’t that big yet, but it’s almost embarrassing that no one has pointed them into our direction and if they have why are they not mentioning us? I feel lonely.

James Lileks says the web is a conversation, and I’d like to see more of that, too.

Haha, okay when you have to quote someone else to know that the web is a conversation that lets me know that you really have no idea what is going on, whether you want to be a blogger-based company or not.

Now the chances of 9rules ever receiving as much coverage as Pajamas Media is slim simply because we don’t have the “people” for it. We just don’t have the connections, which I don’t mind that much, but seeing a company get $3.5M only to waste it on a launch party and trying to figure out who they are and what the blogosphere is like simply bothers me. Give us $3.5M and watch what we can do. Hell look at what we did from scratch with nothing (I know, I know, not much to some of you).

Lately I have been thinking about what we are doing and how it is effecting some of the people we get involved with. It’s nice to think that in the future if 9rules doesn’t make us rich that we can still look back and say we made a small dent on our corner of the web and hopefully made some changes to the way people think about the web. I know the day that I announce 9rules has made $x amount of dollars will be the day people outside of our community start to take notice and I’m in no rush for that to happen as fun as that day will be.

We didn’t need $3.5M to understand what we wanted to do. We didn’t need to hire outside consultants to build us up. We didn’t need to find the most popular bloggers out there to hype us. We really are a company that wants to help everybody that deserves it. From the sites that get 5 people a day to those that get 5 million every site in our Network has equal standing.

Give us $3.5M and that still won’t change. If you run a qualit political blog and want to represent part of something that goes against Pajamas then shoot us an email and we can start to build up our political niche. At least you will be part of something where the people know where they are going.

If you would like a little more insight as to how people feel about Pajamas make sure to checkout these entries: