We need a mechanism for converting Whuffy to money
What we really need is a revenue model for social entrepreneurs.
This is very interestingly like Cory Doctorow’s “Down and Out In The Magic Kingdom”. http://www.craphound.com/down/
(Haven’t read it yet? It is a great fun Sci Fi novel that you can download for free).
In “Down and Out”, you get Whuffy – positive ratings on the net – and you get services and products and jobs. You loose your Whuffy (ratings) and your ability to get stuff and keep friends dries up.
When the news about wordpress.og reached Google, the wordpress.org page rank went to 0/10. Yahoo! pulled all the listings as well. Suddenly no Whuffy.
It seems that there are two feedback loops to this effect: (1) you supporters will be pissed off and will feel cheated and you’ll loose their support and (2) the search engines will get pissed off and will take away your Search Whuffy. Both of which mean your project dies on the vine or at least withers down to a vestigial remain on your web site.
The difference between “Down and Out” and this scenario is that real money came into the mix. The cause was the need for actual money not just Whuffy. Matt and wordpress had tons of Whuffy but you can’t buy servers with Whuffy alone. We need a mechanism for converting Whuffy to money — one that doesn’t suck like banner ads or selling email lists.