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November 04, 2007


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Sean Stannard-Stockton

Actually, if the success of mainstream media outlets is any clue, I'd guess that philanthropy blogs with "offensive" opinions would be more profitable than drab middle of the road blogs.

What is unique about blogging is the cost of publishing is so low that you can publish without being ad supported. On the other hand, the Google ad model makes getting ads so cheap (no need to get ad contracts with individual advertisers) that a niche like philanthropy blogging can actually be monetized.

I would note, that other than your excellent blog, most of the best and frequently updated blogs are written by people who have at least an indirect monetary benefit from blogging. I see great giving bloggers with no monetary incentive say things like "sorry I haven't posted in a while, I've been too busy" all the time. There's a reason why Jeff">http://www.donorpowerblog.com/donor_power_blog/">Jeff Brooks never makes that excuse.


We do some things for love, others for money, and some of us are able to combine both. I agree that giving offense is good for traffic, but giving offense to advertisers, owners, clients, and supporters is not a sensible strategy for a business person, a media outlet, or a blog tied to a business or nonprofit interest. I don't see this as good versus evil, far from it. We all have to make our peace with Mammon or call it Wealth Bondage. Family owned businesses are not a bad thing for democracy, to say the least. Like nonprofits they play a key role in our economy, but also in our civic life. Small business owners have a certain independence; they work for themselves and so can make their own decisions and tradeoffs. So, my post is not really quarreling with you.

What I have noticed, though, is what Joel Orosz points out about foundation decorum. It is hard to criticize the powers that be when you are dependent upon them. I think that tone of diffidence, politeness, and deference does not serve philanthropy well, at least it does not serve social change philanthropy well. To which you would quite rightly respond, "Well, so what? The system works. Capitalism works. We just need to tune things up around the edges." I am trying to develop a more fundamental critique of the "hegemonic forces of Wealth Bondage," the way mind follows money. Google ads, and small business folks, are not my target, as you can probably tell from knowing me online. My target is more the centralization of wealth and power in large corporate interests and dynastic families that through a variety of means then distort our polity and our mediated consciousness.

Thanks for the post and the comment. I really do hope that not only do you prosper in your business life but that others find a way to imitate your blogging and your philanthropy focused financial practice. As one who trains advisors, I would like to see more of the kinds of things you do, not less.

Besides, the fewer satirists there are out there, the more I can rack up the market share and mindshare here in The Dumpster. There has to be a way to cash in on that. Maybe a tip jar?


Tip jar, very funny, since you know that if hosting cost ever became burdensome, your community would pass a hat to keep the doors open. It would be the least we could do.

This really points to a need for different language and thinking around charity, giving and gifts. Giving and receiving must be honorable, easy, encouraged and even rewarded. We give status to thieves, robber barons and con artists if they make a lot of money, but great givers get nothing similar, perhaps even to be labeled fool, criticized for being "soft".

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