Arbor Update

Ann Arbor Area Community News

AU to get corporate competition?

23. January 2005 • Murph
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ArborUpdate’s fairy godfather has alerted us to possible competition—from MLive. A post by Advance Internet’s President, Jeff Jarvis, says,

Advance Internet, which includes NJ.com, MassLive.com, OregonLive.com and other fine local sites, is about to create a half-dozen town blogs in those markets—new, group blogs (using iUpload) to which any neighbor can contribute. These will live alongside the many individuals’ blogs, local forums, newspaper headlines, blogs outside the services (and their RSS feeds), and more. The idea is that—as in GoSkokie.com and NorthwestVoices—people may not want to start their own blog but they have plenty of news to contribute to their communities: opinions, news updates, sports reports, photos, calendar items, and so on. The hope is also that once we have a critical mass of content in a town from all these sources, a critical mass of audience is sure to follow. This means, we hope, that we can target ads down to the town level and automate them, saving the cost of sales and production, and price them in such a way that we can serve local advertisers who heretofore could not afford to market in big papers. That, I emphasize is the hope—untested, unproven. Testing that is the job.

MLive is another of Advance Internet’s “fine local sites”. Well, welcome to the 21st century, MLive.



  1. Just beat them.

    Someone should print out a couple hundred fliers with a short description of what ArborUpdate is all about, then place them in coffee shops, trendy little Ann Arbor restaurants, Angell Hall, etc.

    A site like this, a place that is constantly updated, maintains competitive momentum very easily. And in a city like Ann Arbor, with a population that is very anti-establishment, ArborUpdate would win.

    You guys might want to add Amazon referrals. I think that people would buy their liberal books through your Amazon referral as a matter of principle.
       —T.J.    Jan. 25 '05 - 02:14PM    #
  2. Don’t you mean “liberal screeds,” TJ?
    Anyway, the reason why this won’t work in Ann Arbor is because Mlive blows. It takes forever to load, the structure is counter-intuitive, they treat their employees like shit (so they don’t want to do any of the necessary infrastructure bullshit) and turn qualified computer techs into ad designers.
    TJ does have a point about fliers. Even a press release to the Snooze might be worth it. If they hadn’t jerked me around about freelancing, I’d pitch ‘em a story on you…
       —js    Jan. 25 '05 - 03:32PM    #
  3. Why, T.J., I didn’t know you cared! sniffle. A tip of the hat in return for your part in keeping us honest. . .

    (Of course, in keeping with my own fringe beliefs, it would have to be a referral system to Shaman Drum, not Amazon.)
       —Murph    Jan. 25 '05 - 03:46PM    #
  4. A flier won’t elicit a revolution. It won’t make a product boycott effective. It usually won’t get a student government candidate elected.

    What it will do is get people to go to a website, as long as the flier is well done. And once they go, that’s when the momentum starts. Soon all their friends are going.

    I think the site would be a lot better off if there were conservatives involved. That way, there would be a lot more visitors and a lot more dicussion. You seem to have run off all the other conservatives…I guess I am the only one with think enough skin to keep coming back. But if you had a couple conservative writers, the site would have more balance and also more activity.

    That’s not to say that there’s anything wrong with the site the way it is. I just think it would be cool if there were a place where thousands of UM students interacted on an everyday basis, and I feel it can be done. Perhaps it needs to be done elsewhere.
       —T.J.    Jan. 25 '05 - 04:12PM    #
  5. Maybe we need to goad the Michigan Review into making their blog into an effective counterpoint?
       —Murph    Jan. 25 '05 - 10:34PM    #
  6. The only thing MRev is effective at doing is making liner for my hamster’s cage.

    MRev used to be good reading. Now it’s a bunch of pseudo-intellectual drivel. It’s unreadable. And the people who write it (with the exception of a couple people…and they don’t write often) are just useless.

    MRev wants to be the opinion page of the Daily. And they don’t even differentiate themselves from the Daily politically anymore, really. Oh, they will say they are different, and will probably toss around a couple classic labels, but if you put the issues in front of them, they would side with the Daily edit page more often than not.

    The MRev has gone into the toilet.

    If you want point/counterpoint, you’re going to need to look elsewhere. You need conservatives, true conservatives, with the balls to be conservative when it’s not popular.

    Gone are the days of JJW, DC Lee, Jim Yeh, Matt Schwartz, etc.
       —T.J.    Jan. 26 '05 - 02:17AM    #
  7. When it’s not popular? Man, who controls the executive, legislative and judicial branches again? Oh, that’s right, it’s Nader and the Greens. Boy, I can’t get enough of our socialized health care and healthy workers’ unions! And who ever thought that Americans would name values as their most important determinant when they voted against the ammendments banning gay marriage? To say nothing of the way the Pagan-Islamic Alliance has surged in shaping public perceptions of acceptable religon and finally moving America towards non-judgemental secularism! And who would have thought that Wal-Mart would be demanding working conditions be raised in their suppliers’ plants in developing nations? And the RIAA promotes free downloading as a way to give back, realizing that intellectual capitol in circulation pays higher divedends than miserly squirrelled away!

    Oh, no, wait. That was in Alternate Earth. You know, the one where sitcoms don’t suck and Scientology is openly a parody of established religion. Oh, and all the U-M girls are hot.

    I can’t speak for the site’s owners, but I’ve yet to see a real conservative posting here. We get a lot of talking points and neocon/neolibertarians, but conservatives who can articulate their views well enough to convince are too few and far between to grace this site (so far).
       —js    Jan. 26 '05 - 01:25PM    #
  8. JS,

    First, I was referring to UM, not popular society. At UM, it’s not popular or acceptable to be conservative. That was my point. And even the conservative newspaper is markedly left of center.

    As for a real conservative posting here, well, you’re talking to one. And James Dickson used to post here…he’s another.

    As far as the “well enough to convince” part…well…good luck. Nobody is going to convince you or Ari of anything that you don’t already believe, and the same could be said for 98% of the people here.
       —T.J.    Jan. 26 '05 - 08:44PM    #
  9. And, of course, TJ, insulting people as close-minded and willfully ignorant is the world’s most effective way of presenting a case to them. Aren’t you the one persistantly railing against liberal ad hominems?

    Personally, I find the typical conservative pundit/blogger to be much more condescending and sneering than the typical liberal pundit/blogger—not to say that the liberals are innocent of this charge, of course. Both score high for self-righteousness too; I think the liberals may be a little higher/worse there.
       —Murph    Jan. 27 '05 - 01:18PM    #
  10. Murph,

    I didn’t mean that people are closeminded. Some are. But I would characterize it as more defensive than anything.

    Look, I consider myself openminded. Over the past few years, my positions on abortion, taxes and affirmative action have changed due to solid arguments that were so logical that I couldn’t disagree with them. But I am not going to decide that poor white people should give up their seats to minorities because the ancestors of rich white people discriminated against minorities a hundred years ago. I’m sorry, you’re just not going to convince me to change my mind.

    Just like I am not going to convince JS that President Bush has any sort of a positive, redeeming quality.

    That was my point.

    Strength of argument is a good thing. Good for everyone involved, and this site should strive for the best in that regard. But trying to find someone who can “convince” the other side is impossible. If they could do that, they would be running the country right now, not posting on a website.
       —T.J.    Jan. 27 '05 - 01:30PM    #
  11. TJ- You’re not a conservative, you’re a regressive. There’s a difference. DIckson’s closer to a conservative, but still has weird neocon leanings. (Well, no, I suppose you’re generally a libertarian on social issues when you get them explained to you properly. You just don’t connect issues very well.)

    As for convincing me that Bush has redeeming qualities? No, for two reasons. The first is that I’ll openly admit that he has some policies that are correct. But do they redeem the failure of his presidency? Nope. But there were more than a couple of campaign issues that I agreed with Bush far more on than I agreed with Kerry (protectionism of manufacturing, for example).
    The second part is that I just don’t think you’re a good enough writer to present an argument that appeals to my values. And that’s the secret to convincing someone: find something they value, and argue that it will be better. Or find something that they value and argue that it will be defended. Since you don’t seem to understand me or what I value, I don’t think you’ll ever convince me of much (especially not when you tend to have uninformed views that echo talking points).
    I mean, just saying.
       —js    Jan. 27 '05 - 04:16PM    #
  12. And maybe why conservatives aren’t generally popular on campuses is that there is a strong streak of anti-intellectualism in modern conservatism. And campuses are pretty much where intellectuals gather.
    Outside of the annual Nobel Kegger.
       —js    Jan. 27 '05 - 04:18PM    #
  13. The Michigan Review is still funny, at least. It has its libertarian streak, but is still largely conservative. And it is even thought-provoking, in a good way, on occasion. (When every issue comes out, I write a humorous critique of it to the MRev editors.)

    On unrelated note: Is it necessary to call T.J. “regressive” and a bad writer? Next, someone will accuse him of dragging knuckles on the ground and swinging through trees while eating a banana. And let me tell you, I know T.J. and I’ve never seen him knuckle-dragging or tree-swinging, a la banana or no.
       —David Boyle    Jan. 27 '05 - 07:32PM    #
  14. hey, david, when are you going to write a song about arborupdate??? perhaps you could do a t.j. rap???

    rocking in the free world,
    ari p.
       —Ari P.    Jan. 27 '05 - 08:15PM    #
  15. Boyle- Just as a note for the rhetoric-minded, what you just did was a textbook straw man. You started out by arguing against the idea that TJ is regressive and a poor writer, then defended that by saying that you hadn’t seen him eating bananas or swinging from trees.
    (Yeah, I know it was a joke. I’m just wonking it up.)
       —js    Jan. 31 '05 - 03:08PM    #