I don't normally read Dave Winer anymore, because I found that he winds me up enough to be dangerous to my health. I wish I'd worked that out a bit earlier, like around 1995. That said, I did have a quick peek at scripting.com today, and amongst the usual onslaught of Dave complaining over and over about not being given any credit, or enough credit, or the right kind of credit, he linked this piece from the boston.com about my current bete noire, PodCasting.
Anyway, getting to the point, in this piece The Dave is quoted as suggesting the following possible business model for PodCasts: "a company like BestBuy might produce its own podcast about personal electronics as a way to attract and retain customers".
Like, ummm... an infomercial? Now, my aim here is not to attack what was an "off the top of the head" comment about a technology that does seem a little short of business possibilities right now. That would be far too narrow a scope. The reason Dave suggested this idea is because it is the direct PodCast equivalent of The Company Blog, and The Company Blog does seem to be an idea that a number of people are pinning their hopes on.
A Google search for "corporate+blog+infomercial" will show that I am far from the first person to make a connection between The Company Blog and infomercials, but the point I don't see anyone making is this: the only differences between Company Blogs and infomercials are simply issues of style. Right now, Company Blogs may appear to be a lot more highbrow than infomercials - but guess what, that's because the companies doing blogs right now, and the people they are marketing to, are generally well educated early adopters. Just as soon as the mass market catches onto blogs, corporate blogging will be exactly the same sewer that infomercial creation is now. There will be no revolution, the technology will not suddenly make the audience more intelligent and as usual, the opposite will happen - the audience will take the technology downmarket with it.
Which is all just fine - that's the way of the world. That is, unless your plan was to change the world.
(ObWinerPoke: you cannot claim on one hand that "podcasting isn't all about making money" and on the other whinge about Evan Williams "taking over" PodCasting. You know, the same way Evan "took over" blogging, from, ummm... you know who. Being an entrepreneur who thinks big business is inherently evil must be quite a chore.)