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Jul 30, 2009



I would predict a combination of:

- The National Review calls their lawyer

- This never catches on

I can think of left-wing political blogs that might make good targets, too.

I Am Not A Lawyer, so don't take this as legal advice...


This isn't the first time an application like this was proposed. The name's escaping me, but when I consulted for iVillage in the 90s, we were approached by a company whose business plan was all about adding a layer of persistent user mark-up and comment to every website.

It was not a hit with the content providers or with users who had to wait for an additional set of information to load every time they hit an enabled site. It's an annoyance more than an attraction.

Based on that experience, I don't think they'll go far. I could be wrong, I'll be the first to admit, but I don't see this model as a big draw.


This has been attempted before. Several times. Doesn't work because of the assumption that everyone who wants to talk about 3rd party content can do so without decaying to chaos.

There's a reason blogging rose to prominence. This kind of thing is that reason.


This is a pretty cool idea. I could see myself using it -- especially the browser plug-in on their site. I doubt I'd blerp every day, but being able to comment anywhere from a plug-in when it strikes my fancy is a good idea. I'd also be interested in seeing what other posted.


I think the idea of having a meta-page system is sound. I use Reddit a lot, and I often prefer to use their commenting system rather than comment on the page itself. Even if I didn't find the page through Reddit, I'll sometimes go to the trouble of searching for the URL on Reddit to find the discussions there.

So I can imagine using some tool which lets me do the same thing, but more easily.

I really do not care for the name "Blerp", though.


Give a newspaper to a bunch of kids and tell them they can write or draw whatever they like on it. Is the result going to be an insightful, ironic comment on the articles? Or will the pictures be full of people with Hitler moustaches, smoking cigars, wearing Harry Potter glasses and with arrows through their heads? Oh, and enormous penises with speech bubbles coming out of them.

If they have multiple layers that can be moderated and threaded, there's a faint chance they could get to the same level of usefulness as Usenet.



Richard, this idea reminds me a lot of your talk at IMGDC. This seems like one of those slippery slope things where people's right to control their own property (in this case Intellectual Property - their web site) is being nibbled away at.

The example given where ads could be sold on layers, such that the layer could be making more ad revenue than the site itself was particularly disturbing.

-Michael Hartman


Michael>The example given where ads could be sold on layers, such that the layer could be making more ad revenue than the site itself was particularly disturbing.

Well, in that case the thing to do would be to wait until the layer was bringing in a ton of revenue then randomise the location of objects on the page. Then, the advertisers would have to cut you in on the action if they wanted the ads to point to the right things.

There are other add-ons that overlay web sites, too, for example some games. I wonder if the games would interact with the Blerp layers or vice versa?



This is an old idea that they're dressing up in the fad terms of the moment (social networking). Does anyone remember the software from the late 90s to sticky comment on websites, and then everyone who you had added as a friend to that software would see your comments and those of others? Just one example of a few I've seen come and go over the years.

From a social networking standpoint, this isn't going to work. Between corporations' outcries of slander and people's inherent laziness to seek out content that isn't shoved into their face, I just don't see it happening.


This isn't the first time something like this has been proposed, and on the Internet it's very difficult to point at a single service and say 'this is the one that's going to become huge'. That said, I suspect that some people will continue to use services like this in the future, but probably not 'many' in a proportional sense. Most of the time when a person looks at a web page, their concern is to read the material on that web page, not to engage perfect strangers in online discussions that would probably quickly devolve into either political/religious flame wars or juvenile sexual/bathroom 'humor'. And even when that's not the case, there are already services like Digg, StumbleUpon and Reddit to use without the danger of having to close off the kind of nonsense people would be bound to draw onto some of those web pages.

That said, I could be entirely wrong. Maybe there are enough people out there interested in what the service makes possible for it to work out. Goodness knows stranger things have happened.


So every mmog site is going to have gold saler blerp. Im fairly sure you can take that prediction to the bank.

Will there be a way for sites to opt out of blerp are have the ability to aprove allowed blerps?

It just seems like blerp is just going to end up being a parasite feeding off the work of other at best.

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