Yesterday I wrote "Good night, Pajamas Media; Good morning, Open Source Media," in welcoming the blog conglomerate that launched with a new name.
Maybe I should have written "Good night, Open Source Media." It seems the name is already spoken for.
Boston public radio host Christopher Lydon has been calling his production company that since May. His show is called Open Source.
On the radio Open Source's site yesterday afternoon, staffer Brendon Greeley wrote:
Hm. A company that used to call itself Pajamas Media now calls itself Open Source Media, which is scroll down to our legal notice kind of exactly what we call ourselves. ...
Dont get us wrong; we didnt invent the idea of working with bloggers to make media, we certainly didnt invent the concept "open source," and theres plenty of room for everyone to do what weve been doing. But they chose the same name that we established in May and, seeing as how we work in the same industry, people might find that a little confusing. And that has us puzzled.
It takes a while for a new blog to find its voice. Longer than it takes critics to stick their fork in it and pronounce it done.
When the Huffington Post launched in May LA Weekly's Nikki Fine famously declared the celebrity group blog was "such a bomb that it's the movie equivalent of Gigli, Ishtar and Heaven's Gate all rolled into one."
It's been more like Star Wars ever since. Today, about 50,000 readers visit each day to read a list of friends and allies that includes Laurie David, Harry Shearer, Deepak Chopra, Lawrence O'Donnell, David Corn, Michael Smerconish. I've bookmarked the HuffPo in a category called Blinq essentials.
The launch of Open Source Media also has attracted its share of cybersharks.
"The Huffington Post for ugly people," wrote a commenter on Jeff Jarvis's Buzzmachine blog.
Jarvis, the creator of Entertainment Weekly, was less than jazzed:
Pajamas, as I understand it, wanted to be an ad network. I dont see huge advertiser demand for a bunch of mostly conservative political bloggers. At one time, they wanted to be some sort of syndicate but I said nobody would buy content. It seems they now want to be some sort of blog central thing antimatter to the Huffingtonposts matter, I suppose but the difference is that most of her people dont blog while most of these people already do blog so I dont know why I need to see a collection of them.
Karl Martino, founder of Philly Future, objects to the name Open Source but on purist grounds. He was offended that the former Pajamas people had trademarked their new name. He was offended that they don't seem to share the spirit of open media, which allow users to modify programs or encyclopedia entries and contribute to their evolution. (Here's a Wikipedia entry on it.)
"It's VERY obvious that they have no idea what the words 'open source' mean and are co-opting it for their marketing purposes," Martino wrote yesterday in an instant message.
Similar sentiments from the 375th St. Y, which wrote:
Not only do they completely reject all the ideas of open source, they also seem to believe that things like fair use don't exist either. If you want a copyright that that respects the ideals of open source look no farther than mine ... Share and share alike, that is open source.
As for the Web site/group blog itself, it's not fair to rip something so soon, even if the players are veterans at the game. Open Source Media signed up bloggers from the left as well as the right (though clearly more bat from the right), and post articles from AP, the Christian Science Monitor, and the Knight Ridder/Tribune wire.
Its plans to enlist a global network of citizen correspondents is admirable. Its plan to pay bloggers based on the popularity of their posts is enviable. Yesterday's launch included an informed panel on blogging, and they took turns fielding some of the right questions, such as What's wrong with opinion journalism?
Its decision to have Judith Miller, late of The New York Times, as its featured speaker showed an instinct for attention-grabbing, and prompted one Blinq comment to propose renaming the site Open Sore.
We'll check in on it regularly. And give it a little time.