Gather Waves Ad Cash At Bloggers

    January 16, 2006
    WebProNews Staff

Blog networks opened a lot of eyes when AOL tossed down about $25 million at Weblogs Inc, and Gather looks like an effort that wants to follow in those high-priced footsteps.

News about Gather began moving around the Internet when the Boston Globe published a story about the local startup. Gather attracted $6 million in venture capital from a pair of firms, one of which will place former New York Knick star and US Senator Bill Bradley on Gather’s board of directors.

Gather wants to reward bloggers with a piece of the action. Advertising revenue shared with bloggers won’t be a lot at first, but should grow as more visitors become aware of the site and visit. Gather also noted “Gather Points” as a reward for participating in the site by submitting content and inviting new users.

Eventually those points can serve as a sort of currency to be traded with Gather partners for goods or services, along with the potential for exchanging points for actual cash.

In a city that considers itself the beginning and end of literary discourse, Gather wants to give a voice to the common blogger, who writes about topics from a different perspective than the “Literary Industrial Complex” another investing VC, Jim Manzi, described in the article:

”No longer must I accept much of my content from what I have called the Literary Industrial Complex, that group of concentrated media organizations with their small elites and self-reinforcing arbiters delivering my news and information ‘top-down,’ ” Manzi wrote.

Though Gather CEO looks to eBay as the true model for Gather (”We think of Gather as doing for user-driven content what eBay did for user-driven retail,” Gerace said in the story. ”Today, the problem in the blogosphere is finding what you want.”), MySpace gets cited as a model too, with Gather cast as the grown-up version of that.

Naturally, some questions about Gather arose online. Paul Kedrosky, posting on his Infectious Greed blog, echoed the more negative views in circulation:

There is an awful lot of Gather blather tonight, proving, once again, that there is no such thing as bad publicity….

My view? Blather is AOL-lite-lite for the blog-o-sphere. Never underestimate how many nitwits out there will go to one homogenized and carefully sanitized place for their content.

Gather’s success or failure hasn’t been proven yet, but maybe there is a place for it. With newspapers letting writers go around the country, thanks to declining ad revenues attributed to a shift to online advertising, it makes sense for writers to assemble and network for a chance to grab some of that revenue.

Probably one or two notables will emerge as kingmakers and operate those networks, exchanging their connections with advertisers, business savvy, and a cut of the ad revenue for content and exclusive ad placement on certain blogs. Gather’s difference is it wants those blogs hosted under its brand.

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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.