Malkin – Pajamas Media Mystery Solved

There’s a minor blogstorm brewing over why Michelle Malkin, second only to InstaPundit Glenn Reynolds among the Pajamas Media/Open Source Media/OSM/Pajamas Media contributors, is not yet running Pajamas advertising.

A friend of Steve H. noticed the situation, causing him to ponder how PM could possibly afford to pay her enough to replace what she was making with BlogAds when she wasn’t even running their ads. He offered a theory:

This reminds me of the Laker Airways story. If memory serves—don’t be shy about checking my facts, because I’m not going to—Freddy Laker started a cheap airline that gave the other airlines fits. So they found a way to kill him. Because they were bigger business better able to take a hit, they sold tickets at a loss and undercut him until he was finished. I believe that’s correct.

Is that what we’re seeing with BlogAds now? Is the Pajamafia squeezing BlogAds out by relying on two sugar daddies to pay their bills? Fortunately, BlogAds can replace the seventy sites PJM took away. Still, it seems like an unwholesome way to do business. And for conservatives to be involved with something that smacks of a Soviet industrial subsidy…that’s just gross.

In a follow-up post, he muses,

Let’s see. Either PJM has no ads for her, or there’s something about the ads that makes them unacceptable to her. She can’t run BlogAds because she has a contract with PJM. Or maybe Henry Copeland won’t take her back until PJM dies. And she can’t talk about it.

They have to be paying her. If they weren’t, she’d bolt and get some real ads. She doesn’t have to go back to Henry; there are other companies that would buy her space. If PJM weren’t paying her, they’d probably be in breach of contract, so she wouldn’t be obligated to honor the non-compete agreement. At least I don’t think so.

Maybe they don’t want their bigger blogs running those silly Doubleclick banners, because of the ridicule it would draw. No, that can’t be right. They run the ads on their main site.

She’d have to be nuts to give up six or seven grand a month out of loyalty to the Gang That Couldn’t Blog Straight. That can’t be the explanation.

I doubt she has that kind of loyalty. In an interview, she seemed to take pains to distance herself from the management of PJM. I think she knew these guys were flying on instruments.

Moxie extrapolates some figures and doesn’t get it, either.

Dennis the Peasant sees “Trouble in paradise?” but offers no explanation. He makes up for this with a nice photo of Adrienne Barbeau in her prime.

I took the unusual step of asking Michelle Malkin about the matter via a short email. Five minutes later, I got the following response:

It’s a very simple technical issue. I’ve been waiting for Pajamas Media to send me the coding to put the ads up on my site. There are a lot of PM bloggers waiting. I’m in line like everyone else–but I think all the tinfoil-hat-rattling is going to get me bumped up.

Oh. Somehow, I was hoping for something a little juicer.

Now, granted, one would think they would have figured out a way to get the ad code out to all their 70 bloggers by now, let alone all of them averaging more than 100,000 unique visits a day. But being slow in rolling out their ads is a little less interesting than bilking investors out of millions or a blogospheric clash of the titans.

(As an aside, I guarantee you Henry Copeland would take her back faster than she responded to my email. Indeed, all she would need to do is paste the BlogAds code back into her site template.)

Update: A commenter apparently received the same response from Malkin and wonders whether I stole the above from his blog or whether Malkin is answering the same question the same way to different people. Given that I had never visited, nor indeed heard of, his blog before getting his comment and that I link other blogs all the time, even for pointing me to articles in major papers, the latter seems more likely. And, frankly, I’m not sure why, having typed an answer to a question in an email, a person with a modicum of experience with computers wouldn’t cut-and-paste it if called upon to answer it again.


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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Kate says:

    Here’s a question – why don’t more bloggers simply host their own ads privately? It’s what I’ve decided to do, and as a result, I don’t have to share a cut or be bound to a contract.

  2. James Joyner says:

    Kate: The Adure strip on the right is privately hosted. Otherwise, it’s well worth it for me to pay BlogAds and Google Adsense a cut for doing the legwork to provide the networks.

    I only see one ad at your site, though? You’ve got enough traffic to be generating $300-$500 a month from BlogAds.

  3. The more I read about the Pajama Media thing, the more confused I get.

    What is it? What’s the point? Why would anyone care? Why don’t these people concentrate on their blogs rather than on Pajamas?

  4. tas says:

    PJM hasn’t sent Malkin the code to put their ads on her site? I just checked her site and PJM ads still aren’t on there. If I had purchased advertising through PJM, I’d be pretty PO’ed if my ads weren’t showing up on a blog which receives over 100,000 hits a day.

    And sending code is a simple matter. You, uhm, send an email…

    Could Malkin be fibbing?

    Kate, to answer your question of why blogs don’t sell their own ads: bloggers selling ads like to make money. 🙂 Smaller blogs like myself wouldn’t make a damn if we had to sell our own ads, because that means we’d have to send out emails to potential advertisers, work out deals with them, try to get them to buy ads, etc. I’m a blogger, not an account executive. What Blogads provides is a network of blogs selling space fo advertising, and entities which want to advertise on blogs know to goto Blogads because they are, in effect, the McDonalds of blog advertising. They index blogs selling their real estate, let advertisers search for their traffic levels or where they stand politically, all the prices are listed, and when an ad is purchased Blogads takes care of all the backend stuff. Bloggers don’t have to worry about serving the ads themselves, nor do they have to setup the Paypal transactions or anything. In return, Blogads makes a profit by charging a fee to bloggers for each ad that is sold. It’s a pretty good deal.

  5. John Cole says:

    For goodness sakes, TAS, I just got my code today, and it will not be up for a couple days when I contact my coder.

    Really, this is starting to get absurd.

  6. tas says:

    You’ll have to pardon my ignorance on the matter, John. I’m saying that, to me, Malkin’s email sounded fishy because, to me, sending out an email that has code in it doesn’t sound like a difficult task. I’ve only dealt with Blogads and not PJM, but when I found a blog to sponser me, I had Blogads on my site within a couple of hours. They sent me the code immediately. Maybe I was dealing with simple code because I didn’t need a coder to place it on my site, and PJM’s code is more complex, I’m not sure. Typically, when somebody says they are waiting for code, that’s that. If they are waiting for code and a custom programmer, then I would have expected them to say such. So, to me, it sounded fishy because sending out an email with code in it shouldn’t be that difficult.

  7. John Cole says:

    It isn’t that simple. They have special site counters we all had to install, and then tailor made code for each site (since not everyone uses the same blogging software).

    I have no idea why this was not done ahead of time, but Malkin is tellin the truth, if my own experiences are any indication.

  8. Good Morning! – you deleted my comment from yesterday. All I asked was if you received the same exact email I did from Malkin or did you crib my post? Was that worth deleting? I saved the origninal last night with my comment in there and will be publishing that later today in this post. Best, Dan.