Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Adventures In Blogland

Ho Ho, happy holidays, especially to the morons in dayjobland that think that Thanksgiving means not having to bring their keypass to work and that the person nearest the door is automatically a receptionist. And an extra happy Thanksgiving to the sucktastic suckmerchants at, which seems to decide that ticketmaster-level greed and bad customer service can be supported without having a monopoly. Dear customer service drone, if you refuse to refund someone's cancellation fee when they need to tinker with a reservation and suggest they go back to your website and book all over again, without offering some kind of refund, then they will probably go somewhere else, regardless of whether you were right or not. Byeee!

Those of you with absolutely tiny blogrolls and a healthy lack of interest in politics will with luck be blissfully unaware of the launch of Pajamas Media, a new blogger-led media outfit. Even those of you that have been following the story would likely be more aware of the frequent changes in their name (they were Open Source Media for a while before it was pointed out that their media wasn't open source, and there was already another website with that name) than their funding.

They raised $3.5 million in venture capital funding a week ago, largely based on an advertising-led business model. We're not at cross as this gentleman with their business practices, but we find that putting venture capital at work behind a portal that's not doing a huge amount more than the Huffington Post or Drudge is edgy, to say the least.

We can't find much in the way of background for named investors Jim Koshland and Aubrey Chernick, particularly anything that might give a clue as to their political leanings. We still believe that Pajamas Media has a solid rightwards slant, but are wary of viewing the VC investment as a cute way of funneling ideological cash to sympathetic outlets. For starters neither of the main funders crops up on opensecrets as a donor to a particular party.

But, we can't help but think that funneling venture capital to large and seemingly independent group blogs, especially those that have established names attached and a decent chance of climbing in the rankings, might be a very nimble way of funding campaign spending. While in the past Richard Mellon Scaife might have funneled money to Republicans through The Center For Slightly Bonkers Approaches to Childrearing, or somesuch, it might be easier, and more discreet, to do it this way.

We've got no evidence of this happening, and we promise you that this isn't a hugely tendentious way of arguing that internet speech should be regulated. but given how much soft money is flowing through hedge funds, private equity, and through family investment vehicles, it could be one to watch.


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