What he said:
There’s been a marked recent increase in the number of people asking me to write about their organization, campaign, or client. Whether it’s a non-profit with some new-fangled incredibly-esoteric project, a politician promoting their latest highly-interesting-to-them but-kind-of-boring-to-you policy proposal, or a public relations firm being paid big bucks to push the lame ideas of yet another client, the volume of “give me free publicity” requests has skyrocketed of late.
Interestingly, at the same time, the number of ads these same groups are running on blogs has plummeted.
Now, you don’t have to pay to get me to write about your story. (And the corollary, even if you paid me I still wouldn’t write about a non-story.) You simply have to have a real story, and it has to be news. And by news, I mean that it has to be novel and interesting, and it has to matter. … [I]n essence, these non-profits, political campaigns and PR firms are not asking me to write about a big news story, which IS what we write about, they’re asking me to do them a favor by writing about something that might not interest my readers. And therein lies the problem. Why should I do them a favor when they’ve never lifted a finger to support my blog or the blogosphere at large?
[…] My point isn’t that the blogs should be bought, or can be bought. My point is that the blogs should be supported by the larger progressive community, and they’re not. Liberal non-profits, political operations, and companies interested in reaching either a progressive audience or an inside-the-beltway crowd wouldn’t think twice about spending $60,000 on a Washington Post ad, spending a good chunk of change on an ad in The Hill or Roll Call, or paying a PR firm a $20,000+ a month retainer to get their news on the blogs, among other venues (NOTE: the very best way to get me NOT to cover a story is to have a PR firm contact me). But the notion of spending $800 (or hopefully, several thousand dollars) on a blog ad gives them serious pause. Then they turn around and expect favors.
There’s an old trite saying: “Why buy the cow when you get the milk for free?” Well, the milk just dried up.
There’s an election six weeks away, a ton of candidates and ballot measures vying for attention, and the usual progressive organizations with their usual agendas… not to mention progressive business owners who wouldn’t be hurt by supporting progressive media once in a while. And yet my BlogAds are surprisingly empty. Hmm.