Yesterday, PZ Myers announced the death of SciBlogs. No surprise there. SciBlogs has always been fragile. It nearly collapsed a year ago, with the “PepsiGate scandal”, when many of its most popular bloggers left to go elsewhere. Fortunately for SciBlogs, PZ Myers decided to keep his Pharyngula blog on SciBlogs. If he’d left then, SciBlogs would have collapsed quickly, since PZ’s blog by itself accounted for the majority of SciBlog’s traffic.
But in the last year things have not improved for SciBloggers. Apparently, they get next to no support, their suggestions and complaints are met with dead silence, and their paychecks arrive late or never. The root of the problem is that Seed Media, the owners of SciBlogs, have never been any good at selling ads on SciBlogs. I run AdBlock Plus, so I’ve never seen an ad on SciBlogs, but I’m told that the only ads they run are a motley collection of garbage ads for stuff like psychics, dating services, and politicians. Not a good fit for their subject matter, to say the least.
Fortunately, as SciBlogs implodes, it appears that some of their best bloggers have found new homes with the much more prestigious Scientific American blogs and possibly the National Geo blogs. The details about who’s going where aren’t yet clear.
I emailed my favorite SciBlogger, Abbie Smith, yesterday to offer her an emergency landing site if she temporarily found herself blog-homeless. She replied with thanks, but said (as I expected) that her blog was being picked up by another science blogging service.
Meanwhile, it appears that PZ and Ed Brayton have decided to combine forces and self-publish their blogs. Apparently, the restrictions imposed by SciAm blogs were too onerous for them. SciAm was willing to let the SciBlogs refugees blog about whatever topics they wanted–including atheism, evolution, and other topics that generate a lot of heat–but would not allow f-bombs and other strong language. That’s a reasonable restriction, given that SciAm blogs targets schools, but I understand why PZ and Ed decided to opt out of SciAm blogs.
Abbie would have been welcome to go along with them, but she decided that SciAm or National Geo would be a better fit for her. Of course, Abbie writes mostly about science, which can’t be said for many of the current SciBloggers.