Alan Meckler versus Jason Calacanis

What: Wall Street Journal is hosting an e-debate between Alan Meckler, chief executive of Jupiter Media, and Jason Calacanis of Weblogs Inc. (now part of AOL, a dvision of Time Warner) The debate is about can bloggers make money and a living off their blogging efforts. Jason says yes, Alan says no.

What it really is: A cheap way to generate page views for WSJ. Alan says no, because blogs are putting the hurt on his business, and he did not get a piece of the action first. Jason says yes, because he has many million reasons to say so.

What it really is #2: A debate as important as arguing why April comes before May.

Question to ask: Can blogging networks pay between 50 cents to $2 a word to their contributors and make money?

Bottomline#1: Bill Tai, general partner at Charles River Ventures in a chat pointed out that that “publishing is a few moguls make a lot of money off the people who love to write.” I think in some ways, that is not going to change, with or without blogs. What is not going to change is that people (like yours truly write) because they love to write and have something to say.

Bottomline#2: From a business perspective, I think Cynthia Brumfield has the best response... “blogs are much more akin to old-fashioned, high-priced dead-tree newsletters. Newsletter publishers (how quaintly archaic that terms seems) used to target niche markets, put out a steady stream of insiderish content ignored by the consumer and trade press and charge through the nose for it. Now, however, blogs are starting to fill that niche.”

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