Kottke Becomes Blog-Artist

Blog pioneer Jason Kottke hopes to be the first blog artist, writing his ad-free blog full time with only the support of donations. He’s combining the concept of micro-donations (proven by the Dean campaign to be a powerful by-product of mass internet accessibility and easy online payment systems) with the concept of artistic patronage – forming (of course): micro-patronage.
It looks like he’s off to a good start. I count about 200 names on his donor list so far. If those people are giving the suggested $30, he would have earned around $6,000. That’s probably not enough to live on in Brooklyn for a year, but then again he only announced this twelve hours ago.
Full time blogging is nothing new, but Kottke aims to do this without advertisements. The link list, however, raises the question of the distinction between donation recognition and advertising. PBS underwriters have long known that a “donation” can be just as valuable as a paid advertisement. In the case of a link on the web, the donation can have tremendous value. This value comes from the search engine boost granted to sites with links from popular sites like Kottke’s. It’s the reason that comment spam exists (and works). I was offered $20 per month to host a small text link on this site, so I think $30 for a permanent link on Kottke’s site is probably a steal.
Kottke could eliminate this benefit by excluding that page from the search engines, either by using the traditional robots file or by using the new no-follow link attribute.
In any case, that’s a technicality. I’m not trying to say that Kottke has sold out – quite the opposite. I hope he succeeds.