Open Letter To The Advertisers On Jason Calacanis’


Dear Sir or Madam,

First I want to thank you for taking a chance and deciding to advertise on a blog. Too many of your fellow business people are scared and nervous to take the plunge. You should be commended on your daring and bravery in embracing new media.

Too bad you'll probably get fired.


You see the thing Jason seemed to have forgotten is that there is a reason no one else actually does any blogs focusing on States. It's the same reason most state newspapers and magazines fail.

Because no one is interested.

Now if my daughter wasn't spending her time ghostriding she could probably write a popular blog about what's going on in the state legislature of Ohio.

It would be successful not just because it would be written by a 12 year old, but also because it would have a specific audience:

People into state government.

Unfortunately Jason's foray isn't specific at all, it's all about what's going on all across the state of Ohio.

Be honest.

Do you, big Manhattan Advertising Executive, really care about what's going on in Ithaca, New York?

The folks in Toledo don't care much about what's happening in Akron either.

Now there is still time to save your job.

The web is full of specific blogs about specific topics which are read by thousands of people everyday.

And people will still be reading those those blogs long after the hype surrounding Jason's latest venture fades.

There are even some based in cities in Ohio.

So protect yourself by putting some money in some blogs people might actually read.

And after seeing what Jason thinks makes a successful blog, I'm sure he would approve.

Love and other indoor sports,

chartreuse (beta)

Explore posts in the same categories: advertising, Army Of One, blog networks, bloggingohio, Jason Calcanis, money, new media

50 Comments on “Open Letter To The Advertisers On Jason Calacanis’”

  1. Liz Strauss Says:

    You are so right. The audience will be fourth grade kids in school who have to study the state of Ohio. They will access only those kid-friendly pages–if there are any–tht their parents allow them to see. He should have hired kids to do it. It would have made sense then.

  2. VampireFeet Says:

    Will you ever cut Jason any slack?

  3. Roy T. Says:

    You know, if AOL backed up my Starked titles, I could do even more magical things. But the rest of us have to develop from the ground up, which is fine, glad I went the city-specific route looking back now.

  4. Jesse Says:

    What makes it even more pitiful is that they registered every freaking one of the 50 states. taken taken taken

    How sad is that? What a waste of a couple hundred dollars those domain names were

  5. Roy T. Says:

    Jason’s readers love the idea…I wonder when he will come here and comment on this issue.

  6. Liz Strauss Says:

    C’mon now. Don’t you at least think blogging Idaho has a chance? 🙂

  7. chartreuse Says:

    It has a chance alright…*rolls eyes*

    It just bothered me reading all over the net about this slow motion trainwreck. Anyone with half a brain can see it won’t work.

    Calacanis won’t show up here again, though. He’ll read it but won’t say a word…

  8. Barry Bell Says:

    >>”Calacanis won’t show up here again, though. He’ll read it but won’t say a word…”

    Neither will he ever say a word on my blog, too. Lightweight. Bah.

    Can he save the day, though… how about some carefully thought out subdomains: like, anyone? Nah. Oh, and that’s the only place in Ohio I know because my brother in law lives there.

    I’ll tell you what I’d look at often: a city-based blog network that uses video footage and video interviews with real people as much as it uses written words.

    And I’d watch it whether I lived in that city or not.

  9. barry – good last idea. I am in

  10. Barry,
    Can you imagine the production costs associated with producing video for every city? You basically would be duplicating every local hodunk tv station.

    subdomains are THE way to go though. and whether or not the venerable mr. calacanis comments here, i don’t see it happening, i mean this isn’t an AOL property, no revenue to be made from adding more traffic to this site 😉

  11. Truth of the matter is it doesn’t matter if it’s relevant. He’ll be happy with adsense bullshit.

  12. Jason Says:

    Not sure I understand what your point is… that we should have done cities and not states? How do you know that is not the plan?

  13. We are the site for video in NYC, and we are just getting started. I like Jason’s comment. You can hear the insecurity. Jason, relax you got the dough, you are now part of the machine. Now go be a good cog.

  14. Jesse Says:

    Jason- we’re not trying to tell you what you should have done, all we know is that it wasn’t what you did…

  15. Roy T Says:

    Loren, I like your site and thanks for the comment, we threw you in the sidebar. Truth be told Jason, state blogging won’t, at least not all states. No one in Las Vegas gives 2 shits about what’s happening in Reno or the rest of the state. The rest of the news and info we can get from the news (TV or Newspapers).

    Char, we have video interviews in our upcoming Starked People, I’ll let you know so you can rip it apart.

  16. Barry Bell Says:

    Brian – for my citylogs, I’d be more thinking along the lines of having a small team of videobloggers per city (in a similar model to metroblogging but with people shooting video as well as writing, however, keeping the main focus as video).

    Each of the video bloggers would be briefed to have a wander around the place, shooting interesting stuff, maybe show up at events, talk to lots of interesting looking people, etc. They’d edit and upload at home in the same way that thousands of people already do with youtube, etc. You could even save on bandwidth by hosting them at youtube.

    What i think you’d find is that people would get excited if they appear in a video, and they’d tell their friends/family to go watch it, too. If it works out well enough, I can imagine having a fleet of fully branded up vans (one per city) driving round shooting footage with people following ’em round trying to get in the videos. Maybe a little optimistic, eh? ;o)

    Oh, and as for “duplicating every hodunk TV station”, I wouldn’t interested in covering ‘news’. There’s plenty of people already doing that. I’m more thinking of covering people and maybe some of the more low key, funny/offbeat stuff that news stations generally wouldn’t touch.

    I also can’t see the production costs being that high with everything being decentralised like that. Thousands of people are shooting and uploading video every day. Initial costs would be equipment and maybe some decent editing software – but after that, just your average hosting costs.

    Oh, and those vans, too.


    But having said that, I’m stuck here in the UK and everyone knows that there are only 23 people in the whole country who know what a blog is.

  17. Liz Strauss Says:

    Videoblogging the way Barry describes wouldn’t be hard to do on the cheap, just get college kids who want to put something on their resume. My kid did two years of video internships for free just to work on video production stuff. Kids from Georgetown were jumping over each other to do that.

  18. […] Example. Chartreuse (BETA) Do you, big Manhattan Advertising Executive, really care about what’s going on in Ithaca, New York? … The folks in Toledo don’t care much about what’s happening in Akron either. […]

  19. Barry Bell Says:

    Yep, Liz… that’s pretty much what I was thinking.

    Lots of fun, too, as well as being a resume-filler.


  20. chartreuse Says:

    Good idea Barry. Count me in, too. Really.

    It was wrong for me to bait Jason so obviously. sorry🙂

    I can only judge by what I see, and what I see is a blog about the state of Ohio.

    Maybe you have some master plan to diversify, cool.

    No need to show all your cards.

    But based on the cards I see, you should fold.

  21. Ankit M Says:

    That was an funny post Char.

    Barry has an excellent idea, you can start with one or two cities. Just think local, think Craiglist and think Classifieds.

    No point in leaving that advertising model to Newspapers 🙂

  22. Josh R. Says:

    Jason said:

    Not sure I understand what your point is… that we should have done cities and not states? How do you know that is not the plan?

    Because if that was “the plan”, you would have started BloggingToledo, not Ohio. Let’s take the newspaper analogy – USA Today has only been around since 1982 and they consistenly get buried in terms of ad revenues and circulation by focused ones like the NYT, WSJ, and LATimes.

  23. Chris P. Says:

    I don’t see any value in a BloggingOhio type site. None. Nada.

    Unless, of course, Jason asks me to slap a design on it.

  24. Barry Bell Says:

    To really have value, I think city based blogs need to focus on a niche topic, rather than just being a blog about a city.

    Like, for example, a city based video blog that covers offbeat and funny stuff in that city – and does it well.

    Or, for example, a city based blog about jobs and careers and working life in that city (sorry, plugging again).

    A general blog about a city is going to be just that: too general. I’d guess that the average reader is only going to be interested in a fraction of the number of posts. And if you’re going to be churning out a super-high volume of throwaway posts (like I expect weblogsinc to do) then any value that anyone sees in it is just going to be diluted.

    I’ve read a few of the metroblogging blogs and there’s not an awful lot of focus there, either.

    We need to think about how we can apply all of these existing web-wide niches to local areas.

    It’s like going hyper-hyper-local.

    Christ, I’m thinking about this a little too much, now. Gotta stop.

  25. Brian Says:

    Char and Barry, you just gave Jason some valuable free consulting. Expect to see city subdomains soon (whether that was the actual original plan or not).

  26. Barry Bell Says:

    That’s OK – I’ll just send AOL an invoice if it happens.


  27. Sally Says:

    I like how all the losers who’ve never sold a company, never built a website that attracted anything other then AdSense money, etc. are harshing on one of the few people to ever build a successful blog network.

    If you stopped to think for a little while outside of your little bubble, you’d realize that so far something like 10% of the total audience for blogs has matterialized. And if you’ve noticed the way Weblogsinc makes money, its through verticals.

    So, step 1 you start with a state. Use the power of AOL’s vast network to get people interested because, hey they’re from Ohio, they’re not an intarwebs dork, but rather a manager of a restaurant. There are thousands more just like him. Step 2, you do exactly what’s been done with Joystiq, you drill down.,, etc. Ohio is actually a perfect first choice because of the high population and many places to move into vertically once you get started.

    Now in the space of 6-12 months, for 1/0000th of the money, you’ve moved all over the turf of a ton of newspapers, local directories, free weeklies, etc. Roll the whole thing up with AOL’s craig’s list clone, add video from AOL’s partners, and you’ve got a massive local network with an entirely new form of ad revenue– locals. Locals don’t advertise on blogs even though local advertising is huge. Yellow Page revenues are bigger then AdSense.

    Once again, you are all totally clueless even though Weblogsinc telegraphs exactly what they’re going to do. If any of you had any idea of how to actually make money and build a successful network, you’d be doing it. Instead you’re critiquing one of the very few to make blogging legitimate in the eyes of major advertisers. Now he might do the same for Locals, and if you’re smart you might be able to catch some fumes off of that.

  28. Roy T. Says:

    Barry I see what you are saying, great point. Its Gawker (media news) vs. Gothamist (general) Both in NYC, one is bigger than the other.

  29. Jesse Says:

    or is that the default message for a nonexisten subdomain?

  30. chartreuse Says:

    Sally. just because someone made a bunch of money selling some blogs doesn’t make them right nor smarter than us regular folks.

    You wrote a long post saying the same thing I said in my post and what others have said in these comments.

    The site only works if it’s localized.

    When you come up for air after sucking Jason’s ****. Stop. I’m not gonna write that.

    anyway, thanks for joining the party, your input was insightful…

  31. Brian Says:

    Weblogs Inc. succeeded because Jason was (1) early and (2) already rich.

    He also seems pretty smart. But no smarter than some of the people in this comments section.

    Don’t be naive, Sally.

  32. Roy T. Says:

    Char, never fails to impress.

  33. Sally Says:

    Barry I see what you are saying, great point. Its Gawker (media news) vs. Gothamist (general) Both in NYC, one is bigger than the other.

    No, it’s because the media world is bigger then the NYC-get-my-info-from-a-blog world. Gawker attracts readers for gossip, celebrities, media, new york, scandals, and on and on. Gothamist attracts people who want to read a blog about NYC. Same with Defamer v. Laist, Defamer is much, much bigger but its core local audience who is there for local items is probably smaller or equal.

    Weblogs Inc. succeeded because Jason was (1) early and (2) already rich.

    No, Jorn Barger was early. Jason Kottke was early. Dave Winer was early. Calacanis was late, but he went straight for the $, and wherever he found success he replicated it over and over again. As for being rich, well I guess it depends on how you define ‘rich’, but seeing as he didn’t start Weblogsinc with all that much money, the supposedly brilliant commentators here should be able to at least have a successful 5-blog network on 1/100th of the startup cash for Weblogsinc.

    You wrote a long post saying the same thing I said in my post and what others have said in these comments.

    No, all of you seemed to miss the boat by declaring DOA, when in fact even on its own it has potential (80% of AOL users don’t read blogs regularly), and in any case it’s totally transparent what the end play is. Weblogsinc is all about Vertical, and do to vertical you need to start at the top. State level in this case. Why did he start with Ohio? Probably so he wouldn’t annoy his supposed ‘friends’ at Metroblogs and Gothamist. By the time Weblogsinc goes after the bigger cities, they’ll have developed their competence and momentum in the Ohio market without having to go head-to-head with existing players from the start.

    As for lapping up calacanis spunk, if you’ve ever read my blog you’d know I’m one of the premier Calacanis-haters around. I’m only commenting because if you’re going to hate on Calacanis, you have to at least have a clue what he’s up to.

  34. Barry Bell Says:

    Jesse – i think it’s a default for a non-existant domain.

    Either that, or there’s a city in Ohio called Isuckdonkeysballs.

    Which would, of course, be extremely unfortunate.

    Oh, and Sally, show us the companies you’ve sold, and the websites you’ve built that attract more than Adsense money. I’m genuinely interested.

  35. so what is the deep vision for this? 😉

    it seems like everyone keeps repeating each other with just minor variations of the same argument. Sally: what char was saying is that state isn’t local enough, it isn’t geographically specific enough. But subdomains as seem to be forthcoming are much closer in that direction.

    Basically here is what I see them doing (some redundancy i know):
    1. Blanket the state with non-local specific ads (insurance, cars, etc.)
    2. Create niche subdomains – dayton, etc. – ad rates go up 10-20% (local city based businesses).
    3. Expand into local geographic resources (loosely based cityguides/citysearch anyone?) – niche revenues from this too (cost per action sales, click to call anyone?)
    4. Integrate AOL-list craigslist clone – free classifieds for everyone (now you’ve got city wide and neighborhood wide posting with enough traction).
    5. Start charging for home and job listings in cities (big $ here too).
    6. Portable versions of 1-5

    Does that sum it up?

  36. Josh R. Says:

    Hey Char,

    If you ever find any of those clues Sally is referring to, send me a few. Thanks.

  37. Sally,

    Weblogs inc. was finaced by Mark Cuban a billionaire, like Char said come for air.

  38. Sally Says:

    Weblogs inc. was finaced by Mark Cuban a billionaire

    Good math. Marc Cuban = billionaire so thus Weblogsinc was incredibly well capitalized. Wrong. Cuban made a small investment in Weblogsinc, his total net worth has nothing to do with the size of his investment in the company. Cuban has far larger investments in a myriad of other internet companies such as,, etc.

    You are just using the fact that Weblogsinc started with some cash to excuse the pitiful state of your own company. How do you think Calacanis attracted investment? By just being dumb and lucky? Check the dates, Cuban’s investment comes after the core of the network is up and running.

  39. […] I recently got into it with some of the commenters over in this thread. They had kind of a dogpile on Jason C going on, and as one of the web's foremost Calacanis-haters I felt the need to jump in and defend him. Why? Because they're hatin' for all the wrong reasons. Acceptable reasons to hate on Calacanis are that he is annoying, disingenous, pretends that people he hates or hate him are his friends, has a special face he puts on for the camera that's a cross between Jay Gatsby and Jonathan Lipnicki, sold his company way too early because he doesn't really believe in it, changed his opinion of AOL once they became the only real bidder, constantly and shamelessly lies about his business intentions, is the King of the backhanded compliment, etc.  […]

  40. Roy T. Says:

    Sally, since you are a newcomer, tell us about yourself, background, etc..

  41. Roy T. Says:

    Funny, I read the article on her post about people with small sites that don’ have a chance to make it. Most of these networks are new, mine is, but im doing very well. She is nothing more than another pointless blogger , with no readers (hardly any comments on her site) rambling about how much she wants to mock web 2.0.

    It reminds me of a Hyundai owner telling a Mercedes owner how much the Mercedes sucks, but will never really know the glory of driving one because they are too busy nagging about people like Jason C for his qualities as a person, wheras this dicussion started from ONE WIN point, his expansion into stateblogging.

    Looks like Calacanis gave her the boot, now she is angry, Sally get your head out the lap (I just wanted to say it too)

  42. Jason Says:

    >> Because if that was “the plan”, you would have
    >> started BloggingToledo, not Ohio. Let’s take the
    >> newspaper analogy – USA Today has only been
    >> around since 1982 and they consistenly get
    >> buried in terms of ad revenues and circulation
    >> by focused ones like the NYT, WSJ, and LATimes.

    Oh… well, we added cities to the navigation by the logo and we’ll have subsites by city–of course. Isn’t that the obvious thing to do?

    Thanks for the advice… but again, it’s totally obvious so it’s not of much value.

    best j

  43. chartreuse Says:

    When you announce you’re doing a blog about States (no mention of city subdomains) and you say you already have advertisers lined up for it, what type of reaction do you expect? People can only judge you on what they see and hear you say.

    Like I said before. Maybe you have some master plan to diversify, cool.

    No need to show all your cards.

    But based on the cards I see, you should fold.

  44. Sally,

    Sweetie you have much to learn. I’d value your criticism if you had some real value to add, but you don’t. WTF do you do besides rehash crap on your site. Not a single original thought. You are a char wannabe at best. A female Krug wannabe at worst.

    Have a nice day,

  45. Now that I think about it Cowboy so needs to get involved with this idiocy.

  46. Well, the comments were interesting.

    Personally .. I like the concept. Here in my city, we basically have a government run site and another by run by the phone company. The ads you usually see on these types of sites are for the phone company or city propoganda. As a blogger myself, I notice ads more and can’t put myself in just a “reader’s perspective” but .. isn’t the blogosphere overkilled with blogging ads about blogging or gadgets you see everywhere? Maybe local businesses will be more apt to be advertising online with blogs (or blogging ad services). I don’t know .. but i.m.o… isn’t that better for everybody?

    I see only one problem – if these’s become successful traffic wise and ad-wise .. everybody will be thinking up new and different derivatives and registering domains galore .. first .. then then then etc etc .. then what? Worry? The world and blogging will have changed by then.

  47. Jason Says:

    >> chartreuse Says: But based on the cards I see, you should fold.

    If I had a nickle for everyone who said that I would be… oh wait forget that one… uhhh… a wise man told me once not to argue with fools, because people from a distance can’t tell who is who.

    You’ll eat your words soon enough.


  48. […] Jason Says: April 21st, 2006 at 7:47 pm >> chartreuse Says: But based on the cards I see, you should fold. […]

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