Humayun's Public Blog: Arnold Kling Weighs In

Thursday, August 22, 2002

Arnold Kling Weighs In

Arnold Kling, whose groundbreaking posts helped inspire the Blogging Network business model, has weighed in with some things he'd like to see. My favorite line, naturally: "I like the business model."

Sign up without e-mail address: I assume this is to ensure privacy. However, we do need to be able to contact people in circumstances such as payment failure. Is there another option?

Payment options (e.g. single annual credit card payment): Absolutely!

Hit auditing: The system is designed to eliminate the benefit of inflating hit counts artificially, so hit auditing is less (or not) necessary. Each reader's behavior only changes the distribution of their own payment, so inflating hit counts only affects how their $2.99 is divided up. All ranking is done by the number of unique, authenticated readers, never by the number of hits.

Blog hosting elsewhere: We evaluated this possibility very carefully, and decided against it for a number of reasons. We're always open to discussion, so here's a summary:

  1. Security. A distributed authentication and payment system is more difficult to secure. Microsoft Passport is a case in point -- and doesn't even implement most of what we need for Blogging Network.
  2. Reader experience. For readers to pay, they need a next-generation experience. Making blogs easy to find and read -- using consistent, accessible features such as up-to-date browse, search and independent rankings -- is crucial, not optional. This kind of experience is difficult to achieve in a truly distributed system.

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