Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Jason Kottke goes all self-sufficient reader-supported

In news that uncomfortably reminds me of the heading–for–meltdown days when I thought “Oh, I’ll just freelance. It’ll be okay” it emerges that Jason Kottke has given up his job to work on his blog fulltime.

Now, the man isn’t rich. He is very well–known… among bloggers. Kottke.org, the blog in question, is very well–known… among bloggers. And there lies the problem, because to support himself financially, he’s enlisting the financial support of bloggers to pay his bills.

They just won’t want to pay the $30 per head that he asks as a donation. Still a free, no–ads site, but you pay if you want. It’s a wonderful, ambitious recipe for disaster, in my opinion. And that’s why I hope people won’t pay.

Before anyone accuses me of being a heartless bastard, I’m not saying this because “he has the guts to go it alone and I don’t” or psychobabble like that. Let me just point out that the best blogs carry the unmistakable flavour of enthusiasm for a range of personal interests. That enthusiasm is heightened if you turn to your blog after a comparatively lacklustre day’s work.

If your passion becomes your way of earning a crust, it might work. But he needs money. Real big money. And very few people really have that hunger there, and it’s a hunger which is oft tested and proved by time, rather than grand first gestures.

So let’s wait and see, but I wish the man would at least get a part–time job or a few really flexible contracts. Or get wise for his own good. Le sigh.

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