Saturday, January 31, 2009

Conservative Decline? Pajamas Media Goes Belly Up

Well, I just read through every post at Memeorandum in response to Jeff Goldstein's layoff notice from Pajamas Media.

Long story short is that Roger Simon has pissed away his venture capital on hand and new revenue has dried up as the recession has sapped online advertising. It looks like Pajamas is going to focus on its television programming venture, and the main Pajamas portal will stay up and continue publishing conservative commentary. Those big blogs that signed exclusive advertising arrangements are now out of the remuneration stream. Goldstein's feeling the rejection: "I am officially out of work. So save going to a pay model, this site will likely have to shut down."

I have some personal interest in all of this, as
I started publishing at Pajamas last year and I was interviewed by Bill Whittle for a PJTV episode last October. In my case, of course, I've never had any illusions that I was going to make a lot of money blogging. Folks have asked why I don't run ads on the sidebar, while others have ribbed me for my prodigious output. My response is that American Power is a labor of love, and my goal all along has been to make a name for myself as a public intellectual in the blogospheric commentariat. Keep in mind that the Blogger platform is free, so the only cost I incur is time, and lots of it. And since the blogging enterprise has a steep start-up curve for new entries, it's not likely that lower-level 9th-tier bloggers are going to overtake Hot Air anytime soon. The networked structure of the blogosphere prohibits easy entry to the top of the hierarchy of opinion, so newcomers will need to worry about finding both a niche and an outside means of support more lucrative than Google's Adsense. In my case, I have a day job.

There's a lot of sour grapes and I-told-you-sos over the news, but this comment at
Tools of Renewal is worth pondering:

I used to see the PJ fiasco as the result of greed, treachery, foolishness, and dishonesty. These days I see it more as the evidence of a curse. The US is declining very quickly. We’re not going to be the world’s leading nation any more. The economy may have a dead-cat bounce left in it, but we’re going into a recession which will never end. We’re going to settle permanently at a lower level of prosperity and power, and we may experience a near-depression on the way to that level. The self-destruction of conservatism is probably just one of the tools that will be used to work this judgment on America ....

The right used to be blessed. Until maybe 2003, our star was rising. Maybe that’s because we were more closely attuned to God. Now we think we have to dump God in order to attract voters. We keep hearing that the problem with the right is that the religious nuts hijacked it. But the right was stronger back when religious people had more power. And it will weaken more and more, as we get more desperate and distance ourselves from God. And if we give up our support of Israel, things will get even worse. In many ways, we already have.
I normally blow off such prattle about America's inevitable decline. It's nonsense. The U.S. is already taking the rest of the world down with it to deep-recession levels, and there's no other current competitor ready to replace the U.S. as the king of the hill (least of all China). Most importantly, there's no other nation-state on the face of the planet possessing the intellectual-demographic dynamism that will form the bases of the next boom of entreprenuerial-scientific market renewal (see Bill Whittle for more on America's sure return to the towering heights of prosperity).

The second part of
Renewal's comment is worth further consideration. We've seen all of this debate about the GOP's path back to power, and one of the biggest meme's is that the sooner we dump cultural conservatism the better. Hogwash. I've said it before and I'll say it again: The "GOP Must Stay True to Core Values." We're riding the downside of the political cycle, but religious expression is hardly in decline, and in fact Christianity is the most dynamic religion in the world today. If America indeed drops off the top ranks of hierarchy in international relations, the cause will be the godless progressivism now stripping this country from its founding roots and the bases of its historical strength.

As for future of conservative media like Pajamas? Well, Andrew Breitbart just started
Big Hollywood, and I was intrigued reading over there the other day that Breitbart was offering $100,000 to Matt Damon to debate neoconservative warhawk Bill Kristol on Iraq. I have no clue as to Breitbart's funding model, but $100,000 a good chunk of change, and Big Hollywood's off to a good start.

So, keep plugging away right-bloggers! There's gold in them thar hills!


Gayle said...

I don't even try to make money blogging, Donald. It is a labor of love, as you said. Fortunately, I don't need the money, so I'm very lucky in that respect. There was a time when I wouldn't have been able to say that, but we're retired here now... even though we chose to run a farm because it's something we always wanted to do. Thank goodness we don't live off of either farming or blogging!

Anonymous said...

You know, I have a nature blog that gets between 60 - 100 hits per day depending on the time of the month, etc. I post every third day. It makes me $120-$130 per month (I got a w-2 from the ad company for last year for more than $1200 in income). And the ads are only lines of text that, all together, take up about 3 inches of sidebar space.

I know blogging is a labor of love, and there should be no illusions about "making it rich," but an extra $130 per month is better than a sharp stick in the eye. If nothing else, use the money to buy periodicals, books, etc. that can add to your blogging - all of those purchases become tax write-offs as they are business expenses. My accountant writes off my camera depreciation, hosting fees, internet-related accounts (like for photo sharing, etc.) and other expenses as they contribute to the income on my nature blog. Which means I basically get a bunch of things for free. I also bought a plasma tv. It's worth it. It's fun. And, again, the ads take up so little room.

It's capitalism. Market yourself :) You have a product lots of people love.

Anonymous said...

PS - Your alexa rank doubles-up my nature blog, so I'm confident you could make some easy coin. :) I have no idea if people are willing to buy ads on nature blogs moreso than political ones, but based on the alexa rank alone, you would be fine. And all you do is post the code. The company sells the ads and splits the income with you.

Just a thought!

courtneyme109 said...

Hate to hear PJ is going down. Always liked those cats and remain blatantly tickled and proud that AmPow got to hook up with them

AmPowerBlog said...

Actually, Gayle, I could use a little more cash, and I keep thinking I'll sign up some advertisers, but I've yet to do it!

AmPowerBlog said...

Ah, PrivatePigg ... the old Iowa Voice, no? It's a beautiful blog. Thanks for the tips. As I mentioned to Gayle above, I keep meaning to get some revenue going, so maybe I'll look into it. How's the Amazon gig work anyway?

AmPowerBlog said...

Courtney: PJ media's not actually going down. The ad network is, but the portal will stay up. I thought about a different title for the post, but lots of folks are talking like Pajamas is dead, so I left it at that.

Anonymous said...

Amazon has a number of different ways to make a buck. I think most of them revolve around getting a percentage (I'm at 4%) of every item you sell. It hasn't made me any money, really. The money I have made has not been paid to me because I have not reached the payout threshold.

And very deductive about IV. Well done!

Tom the Redhunter said...

". I've said it before and I'll say it again: The "GOP Must Stay True to Core Values." "

Truer words were never spoken. We lost in 2006/8 because we betrayed those values. We told everyone we were the party of fiscal responsibility and then spent like drunken sailors.

"So, keep plugging away right-bloggers!"

You can count on it, Donald.

John Lofton, Recovering Republican said...

And forget, please, "conservatism," please. It has been, operationally, de facto, Godless and therefore irrelevant. Secular conservatism will not defeat secular liberalism because to God both are two atheistic peas-in-a-pod and thus predestined to failure. As Stonewall Jackson's Chief of Staff R.L. Dabney said of such a humanistic belief more than 100 years ago:

"[Secular conservatism] is a party which never conserves anything. Its history has been that it demurs to each aggression of the progressive party, and aims to save its credit by a respectable amount of growling, but always acquiesces at last in the innovation. What was the resisted novelty of yesterday is today .one of the accepted principles of conservatism; it is now conservative only in affecting to resist the next innovation, which will tomorrow be forced upon its timidity and will be succeeded by some third revolution; to be denounced and then adopted in its turn. American conservatism is merely the shadow that follows Radicalism as it moves forward towards perdition. It remains behind it, but never retards it, and always advances near its leader. This pretended salt bath utterly lost its savor: wherewith shall it be salted? Its impotency is not hard, indeed, to explain. It is worthless because it is the conservatism of expediency only, and not of sturdy principle. It intends to risk nothing serious for the sake of the truth."

Our country is collapsing because we have turned our back on God (Psalm 9:17) and refused to kiss His Son (Psalm 2).

John Lofton, Editor,
Recovering Republican