Saturday, June 23, 2018

"Blogtyrant" site acquired by Wordpress guru, while proposals around the world keep threatening Internet freedom as we have gotten to know it



Australian blogging guru Ramsay Taplan has informed readers that he has sold his “Blogtyrant” domain to Syed Balkhi, a well-known WordPress guru.  

Ramsay operated the coaching site to motivate bloggers for over eight years. He says that he wants to work directly on environmental and climate change issues, even by buying land and planting trees.  Back to the real world!

Ramsay had tweeted at the end of May that he was becoming increasingly concerned over the efforts of big business to control the online world.  I have discussed all of these in my own blogs, including net neutrality repeal, the undermining of Section 230 (the Backpage-FOSTA mess), the outrage over “surveillance capitalism” and "information clutter" in social media,  and recent alarming proposed changes to European copyright law.

Taplan had advocated that bloggers become aggressive in getting subscribers and then in offering promotions, rather than using conventional ad platforms (like Adsense) for revenue. Some of his ideas may have sounded controversial as to the risk-taking involved.  I think his ideas worked best for narrowly focused small businesses with very specific products and services to sell, to very well informed consumers. He once worked out an example for a chess blog on either openings or endgames, and recently world champion Magnus Carlsen has formed a company offering an app that will do just what Ramsay suggested.

However, some of the spectacularly successful early mommy blogs (like Heather Amrstrong’s “dooce”) had developed his ideas.  But that sort of success with a larger content pool is hard to maintain today, and getting harder given the political climate.

We don’t know how Syed will handle the site, but it might venture even more into technical topics like the best ways to do backups, more on how to do https, more on TOS issues with hosts, and how to improve security for Wordpress sites, and possibly some material on how to meet the various legal exposures that are shaping up around the world. He would do well go get to know the work of Electronic Frontier Foundation (in the U.S., in San Francisco). 

Ramsay, now in his early 30s, shows an engaging cat and dog on his Twitter page.

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