Home > Archive >  2008 >  January >  21

Out on the UGC limb

Monday, January 21, 2008 by Dave Winer.

About the business with Jason Calacanis last summer.  Permalink to this paragraph

Let's be clear about what happened there, because it happens so often. Permalink to this paragraph

He's a vendor with a product.  Permalink to this paragraph

I reviewed the product unfavorably. Permalink to this paragraph

His response was not about the product, it was about me personally. At the time I said "I've never seen an entrepreneur with a product he's supposedly proud of try so desperately to change the subject away from the product." Permalink to this paragraph

I still feel now, as I did then, that Mahalo is a bad product, and that its stated premise is a lie. It's not a search engine, it doesn't compete with Google, and his claims that Google is clogged with spam are a smokescreen, because his actual target is Wikipedia. It's obvious to anyone who gives it a moment's thought, but it's not said publicly on the blogs of people in Silicon Valley. Why? Because criticizing Jason is a messy business. It's easier to say nothing.  Permalink to this paragraph

It happens so often in discourse on the net, there are so many subjects that are taboo, people you can't talk about without provoking personal attacks. The net is just as good at distributing personal attacks as it is at distributing accurate information. I guess it's not a big surprise, given the course of every other medium, that as the blogging world matures, there are more attacks and less accurate information. Permalink to this paragraph

But when we don't say anything we give up a bit of our future. And when you factor in that there are many products, people and companies who are poison in this way, what you end up with is another bubble, created out of the things we don't want to talk about.  Permalink to this paragraph

I think it's better to take the hits in little increments than continue to build flawed businesses, built on incorrect premises. Permalink to this paragraph

Consider this a preamble for more to come, because I think we've gone way too far out on the UGC limb, we could and should be cutting more fair deals with the people who create the value on the net, and we're not doing it. That Mahalo continues to be unchallenged with its nonsense plan is just an indication of how bad discourse is in this medium that was supposed to clean up these kinds of messes. Instead, it perpetuates them. Permalink to this paragraph

And, by the way, I've said nothing here that deserves a personal attack. But my guess is that they'll come anyway. Permalink to this paragraph

NYT: For Old Rhythm-and-Blues, Respect and ReparationsPermalink to this paragraph


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A picture named dave.jpgDave Winer, 53, pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software; former contributing editor at Wired Magazine, research fellow at Harvard Law School, entrepreneur, and investor in web media companies. A native New Yorker, he received a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, a Bachelor's in Mathematics from Tulane University and currently lives in Berkeley, California.

"The protoblogger." - NY Times.

"The father of modern-day content distribution." - PC World.

One of BusinessWeek's 25 Most Influential People on the Web.

"Helped popularize blogging, podcasting and RSS." - Time.

"The father of blogging and RSS." - BBC.

"RSS was born in 1997 out of the confluence of Dave Winer's 'Really Simple Syndication' technology, used to push out blog updates, and Netscape's 'Rich Site Summary', which allowed users to create custom Netscape home pages with regularly updated data flows." - Tim O'Reilly.

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