There is an awful lot of Gather blather tonight, proving, once again, that there is no such thing as bad publicity. After all, most people aren’t saying particularly nice things about the walled-garden blog-hosting outfit, but that undoubtedly doesn’t matter much to the company, nor to the venture folks and others who put up $6mm and got a Boston Globe mention that sparked the current blather-rama. To adapt an old saying, I don’t care what you say about me — just get my URL right.
My view? Blather is AOL-lite-lite for the blog-o-sphere. Never underestimate how many nitwits out there will go to one homogenized and carefully sanitized place for their content. Yes, the Gather model is precisely wrong-headed when it comes to the current media power inversion: It is a centralized media aggregator in a world where microcontent sites [ed. just say blogs already!], or blogs as they’re more commonly called [ed. prick!], are forming organic networks, no top-down structure required.
But it doesn’t entirely matter. There are people out there who want their blog content AOL-ified, and if Gather can do it (and somehow find an exit at what must be an absurd valuation) then good luck to ’em. Don’t forget, for a decade those cretins at AOL ran a self-refuting closed content network on the doorstep of the largest open content network ever, the internet. If Gather doesn’t stumble over all the VCs on its board (c.f., the Martini Rule), it could one day blunder into selling this silly site for a high enough price to make a tiny bit of money.