The Oracle: Have they not been given?
4th Doctor: Well, that’s what I’m asking.
The Oracle: Who are you to dare question my word?
4th Doctor: Well, who do I have to be to dare question your word?
Doctor Who Underworld 1978
On occasion when I’ve been out covering stories I’d run into people who worked for something called “Patch”.
I presumed it was something along the lines of the Examiner where I wrote the occasional article being paid about 1/2 cent per hit. (No time really for that now but you never know) and didn’t really think about it one war or the other until I saw this piece by RS McCain yesterday:
excuse me also for thinking Armstrong is one of the most clueless executives in online media.
AOL’s Tim Armstrong reluctantly lets go
of Patch as shareholder pressures mount
Maybe you don’t care about this little media industry story, but it’s fascinating how the failure happened, and how Armstrong was permitted to throw away money on this pet project:
Stacy links to a NYT post titled AOL Chief’s White Whale Finally Slips His Grasp
Mr. Armstrong had a sentimental, and some would say debilitating, attachment to Patch. He helped create it in 2007 while a senior executive at Google. When he got the top job at AOL in 2009, he persuaded the company to buy it. Patch then proceeded to churn through leadership, business models and write-downs on the way to its reduced state.
The board of AOL, handpicked by Mr. Armstrong, authorized him to invest $50 million on the idea in 2010 and after that, it became a black hole for cash. By the end, it had cost an estimated $300 million. (AOL said the figure was more like $200 million.)
John Podhoretz asked the obvious question:
The Obvious answer is that he didn’t spend money advancing conservative media, As long as you avoid that your job is secure with the elite, also he didn’t spend his own money which is a common liberal theme.
Still Armstrong does have a point, there is a local market for local news but it has to be sustainable if you can’t pay the bills then you can’t do it.
I can hear the critics now: “That’s pretty big talk from a guy who won’t buy a snow blower (or a pair of boots) because he doesn’t have the scratch. Who are you to tell a guy as rich as Armstrong how to run a business?”
In one respect that’s a fair point, when Mika Brzezinski & others called for a $15 hr minimum wage for flipping burgers I challenged them to open a franchise, pay that wage and make it work. So it’s fair to say: How would YOU make Patch work?
Well I have a couple of ideas, but the first thing that comes to mind is my Magnificent Seven model.
My Magnificent Seven writers are paid via my tip jar. I raised my weekly goal to cover the cost of their single weekly article.
So far the result has been mixed. I’m very pleased with the quality of the writing and I believe they make the blog better by bringing expertise on subject I might not have.
On the other hand there has been no noticeable increase in traffic yet and DaTipJar response has been irregular. We’ve made the new goal 2 weeks out of 5 and have yet to cover the cost of the Seven in a monthly goal yet, but it’s only been one month.
That’s why my magnificent seven agreements are for 3 months. If it turns out it’s not generating the revenue to support itself, then no matter how much I like it, I can’t continue it. If it turns out it IS then it can continue and perhaps expand.
So for the benefit of Tim Armstrong let me show you how it’s done:
Introducing Da Villagers :
Hilario: The feeling I felt in my chest this morning, when I saw Calvera run away from us, that’s a feeling worth dying for. Have you ever felt something like that?
Vin: Not for a long, long time. I envy you.
The Magnificent Seven 1960
If you haven’t seen the move The Magnificent Seven it’s often forgotten that the some of the villagers fought and died beside them. So it makes sense to me that if I have a series of hired guns writing for me I should also have some villagers writing too.
So here is the deal. There are quite a few tea party members who focus on local/state issues. I’m making inquiries to find a few who can write.
If I find a suitable one I will bring him/her on as a villager along side of my Magnificent Seven.
The terms will be the same as the seven, 250 words at .02 per word be exclusive to DaTechGuy Blog for at least 3 days, paid at the end of the month with the following exceptions:
1. Rather than a single day you will be a floating writer with your weekly piece being on any day when there is news to write about
2. Unlike my Magnificent Seven you are expected to write about local issues and events that would appeal to the people in this local area (central Massachusetts) preferably on a particular city.
3. Because this is a “patch” like experiment this can’t simply be opinion, It has to be a report on an event, a town meeting or city council meeting you covered, a political event or speech, or a local news story. I don’t mind (and frankly prefer) a conservative take but it has to be based on local events not on a general idea.
4. Because of the floating nature I will want the post written and completed in draft rather than just scheduled so I can make sure your post doesn’t step on any others.
This like the Magnificent Seven agreement will be a three-month agreement, but you can change that in two ways:
1. A local sponsorship: If you find a local business willing to sponsor your posts here at $50 a month. You can write here beyond the three months even if DaTipJar fails to cover your cost. They will get a link on the site and a 15 sec ad on the show. If the person is willing to pay $100 a month they will get a link on every one of your posts & you will be allowed a 2nd weekly post at the normal rates
2. Commission: If you can Sell a single annual ad on this site at $100 a month or more (15 sec ad plus ad rather than sponsor placement) You will get a 25% commission on said ad in addition to your normal payment per piece. If you sell a more expensive ad we’ll talk.
If I find a suitable person we’ll increase the weekly goal by $5 and see if it works out. If it doesn’t then it will stop. If it does the perhaps we will bring in more locals
And THAT is how you do it Mr. Armstrong without risking millions of dollars of other people’s money, slowly and carefully.
It’s Tuesday and we’re raised $97 toward our $340 weekly goal
As of today we’re also $364 shy of the pace needed make the monthly goal
10 $25 Tip jar hits will solve the 1st problem, 15 will solve the second but any hit will move us closer to both goals
Help us move downfield by hitting DaTipJar below.
We are only 59 1/4 new subscribers at $20 a month to cover both the Mortgage and the Magnificent Seven without a daily shake of DaTipJar all year.
The Breaking of the 60 subscriber barrier is a great leap but not as great as the ability to know the Mortgage & Magnificent Seven are going to be pain in full on the 1st instead of on the 30th.
Give yourself a Christmas present that will inform and entertain you 365 days a year in 2014. Subscribe below.