The web layering tool Blerp announced today that they are in open beta. The basic idea is that members create a layer of user-generated content over any website; people who sign up for Blerp and join the layer-creator's group can see and add content in the layer. Thus, any site--yours or someone else's--becomes the backdrop for social networking, casual gaming, whatever. (See this Blerp video for an intro, and you can also see a Metanomics interview with the CEO and VP of Rocketon, which developed Blerp. The interview is actually filmed in Rocketon, so you can see what that layer-as-virtual-world product is like.)
As someone who reads a lot of policy-oriented blogs, I can see a very simple application making Blerp as talked about as Twitter. The conservative National Review blog The Corner doesn't allow content. The National Review probably had good reason for making that decision, but so what? Some ambitious left-leaning Blerper can create a layer to allow anyone to pepper the pages with unflattering commentary.
Which leads me to ask Terra Novans: How likely are the following (not mutually exclusive) futures?
- This never catches on, because Blerp simply ends up being too clunky and/or intrusive.
- After a brief newsgasm of coverage about how "Left-Wingers Take Over Conservative Website", the left-wingers go back to what they are doing now...namely, criticizing right-wing posts on their own websites, so they get their own traffic.
- The Blerpers continue to build viewership on sites they criticize, but the targets don't mind, because they get the traffic.
- The Blerpers build enough viewership for their layers that they sell advertising viewable only by layer members, maybe making even more than the sites they target.
- The National Review calls their lawyer, who asks for damages from the Blerper, and perhaps Blerp itself, for activities that are different in form, but similar in substance, to pirating content and modifying it without permission of the authors. (In theory, one could use Blerp to put a Hitler mustache on every picture of a Republican, cover up The Corner's advertisements with their own...or put Hitler mustaches on those too.)