Gentle readers, if you felt a pang go through you when you read yesterday that co-founder and co-managing editor Joe Spillane was stepping down from his lofty perch at Points, you were not alone. The blog has gained both maturity and momentum in the last eight months, and those have brought stability to our day-to-day operations. But steering Points remains a demanding job, and while Joe is kind to call me “indefatigable,” his departure does bring us to a kind of turning point. How fortunate for us that just this weekend I was contacted by a marketing firm whose client–a drug treatment facility– would like to place their “high quality content” dealing with addiction and recovery on Points!
This is not the first invitation we’ve had to commoditize. More than one person (at least one of whom was somebody’s well-meaning family member) has suggested we sign up with Google’s “AdSense” and start generating revenue by selling space on the blog to advertisers. Last winter, another marketing firm (actually, pretty clearly an independent contractor doing piece work from home in one of those jobs you see advertised on a telephone pole) approached us about embedding links to relevant products and services into our posts. The occasion was guest blogger Michelle Garcia’s post on “Border History as Drugs History”; the linked-to product in this instance was a guide to online degree programs in Homeland Security Studies. And the going rate? Fifty bucks per link.