October 26, 2006

Are Comments Content or Commentary on Content, and what about the Dough?

While Scoble seeks rules of engagement, and several others discuss the Frank v. Barron "who's is bigger" phenom, I follow my natural ADD tendencies to Alec Saunders secured customer post, where he and I discuss a little bit about what I meant when I said (or refrained from saying) RocketBoom isn't likeable anymore, even if it is still on the average aggregator's radar by habit.

At Alec's place I noticed something I hadn't seen before. Alec is monetizing my comment content with Kontera by ascribing ads to certain keywords.

Have I been smoking crack, or is this a new thing? I mean, certainly I know about text-based and keyword ads. We all do by now. But what's this 'you making money off what I say' thing?

Don't get me wrong--I'm not suggesting Alec is doing anything wrong. It's smart as shit, actually. And I'm fine with Alec because we have regular exchanges. But is it okay with me--the practice of monetizing my comments? I don't know.

Of course there is the argument: if you don't like someone making money off your comment, then don't comment on that person's blog. Okay sure, that's simple, but simple isn't always the best answer. Shouldn't I have a say? I mean, shouldn't I be able to designate which of my comments are 'for sale' so to speak and which aren't -- or at the bare minimum, shouldn't I have to consent somewhere to handing over my vast suitcase of wit and wisdom for your financial gain?

What if I only want you to make a little money off me. Or what if I want you to make a LOT of money off me. What if I don't want my comments making you money at all. Does that mean you want me to never comment on your blog again?

In the blogworld, I think comments should remain the content of the contributor. If the contributor wants to ascribe financial gain to the comment, then that should be their prerogative.

If someone has the balls to use their own identity, email address, and website to validate to some degree who the hell they are when leaving a comment on your blog, then you ought either to leave their comments untouched OR share the revenue with them.

The second idea attracts my attention more than the first, of course, because I am willing to pee all over the net if the right newspapers are there--the kind that drop me a few pennies here and there for making an effort to be smart.

I'll admit, I haven't thought this thing through all the way, but my instinct says that I want to control all advertising related to what I write--whether I want to give it away, keep it, or whatever.

I am interested in what you think about making ad money off one another's comments.

(And Alec, keep the change.) ;-)

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