8 October 2000
Submitted by eve on Sun, 10/08/2000 - 12:00am. News
Added a new section, "Wisdom," in an attempt to pull more items out of the "Funny" category. (For although they were funny, it was humor of a different sort.)

Also, since all of you were being so clever and sending me wisecracks about the "passings," I felt there should be a place on the page for those to be shared. Enter the new "comments" system, where you can make smartass remarks about entries on the page, and share your sharp observations with other people.

...But that's probably not what you're noticing right now.

No doubt what's currently drawing your eye is a bit of animation, say, 468 by 60 pixels, asking you to "click here to maximize your internet connection," or "enjoy streaming radio," or (my personal favorite) "punch the monkey."

You probably think I've sold out.

I can feel the flaming emails coming my way already.

I mean, how could I, a student at Berkeley of all places, be working with 'the man,' right? Whatever happened to making a website for the sake of art, and not to try and make a profit?

Well, let's not jump to any conclusions, now. Slow down, hear me out, don't swear off the site just yet. Please.

You ask, "Give me the facts, just the facts, ma'am."

The cold, hard, truth: I have entered into an agreement with Bla-bla.com for the next 6 months wherein I become part of the Bla network. True, part of this does involve having ads on my site. But, there are some very good reasons that I joined.

First of all, Bla-bla provides publicity for the sites in their network, meaning that more readers would be able to find In Passing, (and therefore, there would be more 'passed by' comments for you to read. See? This is directly benefiting you, the reader, already.)

Second, yes, there are financial advantages to our partnership. (Hey-- stop making that face.) It costs money to run a website -- to pay for hosting mainly, but that costs me about $30 a month, and I'm a college student. Thirty dollars... that's 300 packages of ramen. That's 1/3 of my computer science textbook. That's 1/7 of that red leather skirt I wanted at Banana Republic. Admittedly, I'm getting off track here, and true, not all of those items are vital to my existence (I don't like ramen that much, actually) but you understand where I'm coming from.

Third, and most importantly, the people behind Bla-bla are actually pretty cool. I talked with them on the phone after they initially contacted me, and they said that their goal was to make a cool network of interesting, (alternative even,) websites that had smart content. (Yes, they kissed up to my ego.) It didn't hurt that one of my favorite sites (www.plif.com) was already a member, and that another site I admire (www.atomictonic.com) became a member around the same time I did. (Because, I mean, if the boys at plif are in, Bla-bla has to be cool, and not fucked up or something, right? Right? Oh. Anyway...) They also said that while they didn't promise that anyone would make a fortune from the ads, their eventual goal was to help webmasters (who so desired) to quit their day jobs and work on their website full time.

My head was filled with delusions of grandeur. Imagining being able to do what I do for fun, as a job. Of having to take trips 'for work purposes' of overhearing and observing... doing 'research' at swanky clubs in San Francisco, or better yet, cafes in Paris, train stations in London...

Yes, I was a little swept up, and of course I realize that chances of that actually happening are roughly slim to none.

But all the same, it seemed like a good start, and a good partnership. They don't own my soul, they don't even own the intellectual property rights to my content. At the end of 6 months I can sign on to stay with them longer, or we can shake hands and walk away.

I'm certain that at least someone out there, (if indeed anyone has bothered to read this far) is saying, "Hrm, sounds like she's really just trying to justify it to herself, not to her readers." Well, yes. I'm trying to explain to everyone, myself included. So that if after some long day I visit my page and become infuriated by the blight of the blinking lights of an ad, I don't snap, and blow away a bit of code to return the page to its plain purple splendour, just because I momentarily forgot about all the benefits.

And I'd be interested to hear what you think too. Love the ads? Hate the ads? Think the other sites in the network are brilliant or inane? Let me know. Thanks for listening. As I promised above, you're free to walk out on us (me, and In Passing) now if you want. But I hope you won't.

Let's give this a try, ok?