Gasp! LiveJournal is to introduce advertising. This wouldn’t be such a big issue had they not been insisting they would never introduce advertising for the seven years they’ve been around.
This is another illustration of the difficulties of funding an open source project. LJ has been open source pretty much since the beginning, with their famous flagship site acting as a kind of showcase (much as Elgg.net acts as a showcase for the Elgg software, albeit with around nine million more users than we have). Apparently being swallowed by Six Apart wasn’t enough to make them profitable. I hope the backlash isn’t too great – LJ is one of the blogging pioneers, and its community-driven heart is definitely in the right place.
Meanwhile, a California-based startup called Boxxet has created a tool that apparently automatically creates web pages based on any subject:
The website asks its users to come up with any subject they are interested in, such as a TV show, sports team or news topic, and to submit links to their five favourite news articles, blogs or photos on that subject. Working only from this data, the site then automatically creates a webpage on that topic, known as a Boxxet. The name derives from “box set”, which refers to a complete set CDs or DVDs from the same band or TV show.
Alarmist as ever, I’m tempted to see this as the beginning of the end: how many people are going to set up their Boxxets, or worse, Boxxet farms, attach a couple of ads to them and wait for the money to roll in? If the algorithm is as good as it sounds, we’re going to be swamped with these sites very shortly – it’s already all too easy to stumble across a spam blog while researching a particular topic.
That said, I like the idea for my own use – it’s sort of Technorati, which has sucked lately, taken to a deeper and more functional level.