Typepad Journalist Bailout Program is at least a joke, at worst an indecency

by Laurent François

You’re probably going to find that I’m soooooo French, but sometimes I definitely have to express my feelings when I absolutely don’t agree with a product sold online, moreover when it’s about social media, journalism and information

Context to understand :

“Anil Dash, vice président de Six Apart la société qui propose les plateformes TypePad et Vox ainsi que l’outil Movable Type (utilisé pour gérer Le Monde du Blog) a lancé, aux USA, le TypePad Journalist Bailout Program. Un programme qui propose aux journalistes qui ont été licenciés par leur journal d’ouvrir gratuitement un blog TypePad avec un compte professionnel.”

At first sight, if we think in terms o SWOT, it’s probably not a bad idea: a mass of skilled people are now unemployed, so we should establish a program to make them keep publishing their articles, in order to promote their know-how and their talent. Why not.

But when it comes to Six Apart, here’s their business model :

“What’s the Deal?

Membership in the TypePad for Journalists program includes a few key benefits:
The best tools for the job: TypePad Pro is the same industrial-strength blogging platform that powers many of the biggest media sites in the world. TypePad offers all the latest technical features with a simple interface that lets you focus on your ideas, not technology. All backed by real humans to answer your questions.
Powerful advertising services: Six Apart Media offers an experienced and creative advertising program that already helps hundreds of publishers earn more than they would with simple text ads like Google AdWords.
Promotion and Education: We’ll promote your site on Blogs.com, our directory of the best of blogs, and connect you to experts from Six Apart and from across the web who can teach you how to build your audience and make your new blog a success.

Six Apart only sells…hope and means to imply that journalists will get a subsitute revenue through advertizing (but we all know the potential cashflow is very low, and that it dismantles a journalist’s credibility: a journalist is not a social function who is devoted to brands, but he’s here to develop a critical thought, to confront sources of information to write an article which is objective enough to be trustworthy). Here’s what is mentioned on Six Apart’s blog :

But what we can do is give journalists the tools to take control of their own presence online. This program will let a lot of the most eager writers and reporters learn the ropes about how to be more effective and successful on the web. That hope shows through in just some of the responses we’ve seen already:

“Thanks for coming up with such a smart solution to the journalist’s dilemma! Hope we can work something out.”
“You have no idea how many questions this answers for me that I never even quite understood how to pose.”

Very strange: it sounds like a fake promise of a fake seller in a tabloid (you know, just after the naked girl, page 3).

Priya Ganapati (journalist for Wired) sums up the incoherent elements of this journalist bailout program:

“You have to a build a blog, you have to build a following, you have to have a product out there before you even begin to think about revenue and a sales team,” Ganapati said. “And what TypePad isn’t doing is focusing on the features of the product; instead it’s talking up the ad sales of it. If you’re going to start a new blog, or you’re an existing blogger and want to get into it full time, you have to concentrate on picking the best blogging platform that is offered and build a strong readership. And then you start thinking about ad sales. But if you start thinking about ad sales first, you probably will end up making an unsuitable choice for your means.”

Thank you Thien for this news…

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