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Schadenfreude, the taste of the real thing generation

OK, I shouldn’t be enjoying this. Scienceblogs, my former mothership, has accepted an as-yet unknown quantity of a nutrition blog funded and run by… PepsiCo. Now, I don’t drink carbonated sugar drinks much, and when I do they aren’t multinational corporation products, but that has less to do with the fact that they are capitalistic running dogs than that they simply taste awful, as we’d all realise if we weren’t brought up to like them.

Many of my former cobloggers are outraged, or suspicious. Some even assert that bloggers ought to be totally pure, and allow no advertising (no prizes for guessing who the pure ones are). One, Mike Dunford, takes a sensible wait and see approach; no doubt he will be excoriated by the pure ones for a moral failure. Damned empiricists! He’s probably a conservative pedophile. At least one other is in agreement with this approach.

And I am totally unsurprised. I would love not to have advertising, because I think advertising is the root cause of much of what is presently wrong in our economies and social orders, but I don’t get to choose where I live, and I unfortunately acquire to provide the resources I would need to pay for the things I’d need to blog by myself. And if I had, it would probably involve advertising, since the lottery plan seems not to be working out for me.

So the alternative is to get you lot to subscribe, or I can use the free service provided by WordPress (or Blogger, or whoever) so long as they are able to fund it, using… advertising. Sucks, but then who ever said that life was fair or well organised? Apart from Ayn Rand, I mean.

But the thing that most surprised me with the screaming irony was a comment, by the person most responsible for my having to leave Scienceblogs because I was some kind of social throwback and I was to be told this until I recanted and submitted, and even then I was to be repeatedly criticised, just so I’d know my place in the social hierarchy: that it would be a shame to lose the community of being able to chat to other bloggers. Colour me unsympathetic. Terribly uncivil of me, I know. But then, I’m a dick.


  1. PZ said,
    “Except that they have never caved in to that sort of pressure, so I’d really look the fool if I said I was taking my ball home and they just said bye-bye.”

    Unless Seed is run by the thoroughly business incompetent, I find that hard to believe. It takes a very long time and a lot of work to make a blog popular, and those blogs who jumped on the wagon when it was barely out of the gates have maintained a distinct advantage. Bare in mind that PepsiCo’s interest in Seed is almost certainly due to Seed’s standing based on its current content providers. If the popular providers go, and the fan clicks with them, then as Lynch said above, the incentive for PepsiCo to hang around evaporates.

    That said, I think it was commendable that you didn’t leave. PepsiCo deserves some credit for being upfront with this thing. They could just as easily have hired an “independent” to shill for them without putting their label out front and center and riling up the anti-capitalists. Frankly, I think they came out of this looking better than their critics.

    It’s a shame, because it would have made for an interesting experiment; would the corporate blog have remained aloof and indifferent to its environment and stuck to the corporate talking points? Or would the writers have invariably been sucked in to the blogosphere culture to duke it out with their audience and competitors? Could there have been a discussion involving a highly influential part of the food industry?

    We won’t know, because they were tried, convicted and subsequently censored in a kangaroo court of bloglic opinion before they got so much as a word out.

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