We are considering going commercial here at Concurring Opinions. In other words, we’re thinking about having advertisements.
Here are some of the issues we’re facing:
1. When we start using ads, we become a commercial blog. This might give rise to greater risks of defamation and copyright lawsuits. Will we become a larger target? While defamation is not a big concern considering what we post about, copyright could be. Indeed, bloggers often quote liberally and use images from around the Internet. As guest blogger Joe Liu aptly noted: “Fair use is notoriously fuzzy.” The norms of the blogosphere thus far seem to be informal — if people have a problem with a blogger quoting too liberally or with the use of an image, they email the blogger to take it down. When a blog goes commercial, however, will this lead to the use of lawsuits instead?
2. Right now, we’re just a bunch of folks blogging together without much of a formal agreement. If we go commercial, should we form a more formal arrangement? We might form a partnership, LLC, or some other type of corporation. If we do create a more formal arrangement, what’s the best type?
3. Are there other prudential considerations that we need to think about? Starting a blog is so easy and informal, but when it becomes a for-profit enterprise, things could potentially change. Or maybe not. We just don’t know.
These are some of the considerations we’re thinking about. If you have any thoughts on the issue, we’d appreciate your opinion.