Thursday 10 January 2008

Alice in Blogland Cooperative

I wrote to BlogShares to ask about having found this blog listed there, and got this reply, copied from the comments on my previous post:

Hey! That's me!

Alice - what you stumbled upon is actually called BlogShares - it's a fictional stock market where players receive B$500 to buy/sell/trade in a market based on blogs (valued by, among other things, the number of people that link to the blog). For what it's worth, blogs start at a base value of B$1,000, so a value of around B$20,000 like yours is by no means shabby.

The exact message you found is from what we call artefacts - a way to manipulate prices of the market.

All that said, registration is open to all, the game is incredibly addictive, and a great time - we are also home to a player community unlike any other I've found. Also, there is absolutely no real world value to B$, our currency (unlike games like second life, etc).

BlogShares is the main site.

This is my reply:

Ah, ok, then I'm afraid there has been a misunderstanding.

Alice in Blogland is actually a fully-mutual cooperative. This structure prevents the sale of shares for profit, and is designed to ensure that a company or enterprise serves its users or customers rather than the expectations of shareholders. BlogShares looks like a very busy and interesting site, but because it is based on trading shares for profit, Alice in Blogland is unfortunately not eligible to take part.

The usual system of shareholding in a cooperative is that each service user (each reader in this case) becomes a cooperative member and buys a share for a nominal set fee, usually £1. This share cannot be sold for profit, but as many shares can be created as there are readers willing to become shareholders.

The cooperative model is designed to protect against distortion by markets, so that, for example, Alice in Blogland will not become one big campaign to persuade others to link to it at the expense of writing anything that people really want to read. This model also promotes and springs from a belief in equality, both by implying a democratic structure within an organisation, and by preventing concentration of wealth in the hands of a few.

I would love to take part in BlogShares if it were possible to do so with a blog based on the cooperative model, perhaps joining leaderboards of blogs with the largest number of individual shareholders. Please could you let me know if it would be possible to join in on this basis?

What I need to know now is, how many of you out there would like to try spreading a little not-for-profit love around the blogosphere? If a cooperative structure can be made to work in BlogShares, how many of you would become members of the Alice in Blogland cooperative by buying a share for a nominal, fictional amount on a fictional stock market site?


Monday 7 January 2008

Available to Trade

Can anyone tell me anything at all about this? I don't get it, but it appears to have got me.

"Alice In Blogland was the subject of much speculation when analysts at several firms were heard to be very positive about its recent performance. Its share price rose from B$379.88 to B$554.63. Much of the hype was said to originate from J.T. Sage whose Oxford Dictionary (artefact) was said to be involved."



Glamorising War

It seems I'm not the only one tearing up military recruitment materials - The Rowntree Foundation has published a report concluding that "Potential recruits to the armed forces are given a misleading picture of military life, including the physical risks and ethical dilemmas involved." More here from the Grauniad.

In the meantime, there will now be a brief window in which this point of view can be taken seriously by The Establishment. It won't last, but while it does I'm going to register a complaint about their T.V. adverts with the Advertising Standards Authority. They are obliged to investigate even one complaint as long as they are satisfied that there "is an issue for the advertising parties to answer," and a nice big official report in the news might just swing that one this week.


Friday 4 January 2008

Imagine My Surprise!

Another paradigm-shifting cartoon by Marc Roberts from Climate Cartoons - the full version is even better, but it only fits here if I cut half of it out...