Charging on blogs

I’m under no illusion how big my blog is. I know that, apart from a few random websurfers, my readership is probably just my family, and a few friends who I’ve cajoled into reading it. That’s fine by me: I don’t think I’m an internet megastar read by millions every day. And that’s fine by me.

Yesterday, though, I got into quite a heated online debate about a guy who intended to charge people for reading his site. It is a disability-based ‘news service’ focussed on people on benefits. It has a lot of articles about the cuts. The guy was talking about asking people to donate money to him to help him keep it up. While I know that, these days, we’re all struggling for cash, that really got my goat. It seemed to imply that he thought he was some kind of big shot, the main or only news source in the disability community, and we should all be paying him to keep his site up. Of course, I know the guy could be really struggling to make ends meet, yet he seems to appointed himself ‘our’ news service and, in a way, spokesperson. He seems to have the same access to the primary news sources as anyone else.

I keep this blog for fun; to let the world know what I think about things. It is free to read. Yet if I started trying to charge people to read it, the dynamic would change. It would imply that I thought I was writing things worth paying for, and that I had access to special information nobody else has access to. I don’t, and neither does this guy. It just gets my goat how some bloggers seem to think they outrank the rest of us, when the web should be about plurality, equality and the free exchange of information.

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