Is blogging the future of the media business? If so, it's in a very small way. That's what I gather from the purchase by Guardian Media Group, a British ink-on-dead-trees concern, of PaidContent.org for $30 million or so. It's a satisfying outcome for Rafat Ali, PaidContent's founder; he now has bragging rights to a bigger blog deal than the sale of Weblogs Inc. to AOL for $25 million by Jason Calacanis, his former boss.
Aside from that small triumph, the sale is odd in many ways. Ali had showed every signs of trying to bulk up PaidContent's parent company, ContentNext Media, with a CEO and venture-capital financing. The Guardian group, which runs successful websites for its newspapers, may bring some U.K. media savvy, but has very little U.S. infraastructure to help PaidContent's ad sales or operations.
But it does resolve one thing: PaidContent's odd domain name. Insiders have long been quizzical about the ".org", supposedly reserved for nonprofits, on a plainly capitalist blog. Guardian Media Group is owned by a nonprofit trust. Blogging not-for-profit? An apt description of the enterprise for the vast majority of its players.