By Rady Ananda
Since the literary bloodbath on May 24, 2009, when OpEdNews.com banned 30 of its most popular radical writers, readers continue to abandon the site. Last month, OEN saw a nadir of 83,503 unique visitors – a stat on par with its 2005 inception readership. This is down 70% from last year’s zenith of 280,000 visitors.
COTO can’t take all the credit for OEN’s losses after banning us. Many sites lost readership after the 2008 election. But since the en masse ban in May, OEN has lost nearly half its readership – 46%.
When the board discussed banning those who identified with COTO – a self-ascribed moniker standing for Coalition of the Obvious – the common theme was that they were “embarrassed” by the material posted. Are they now embarrassed by their poor business decision to squelch dissent – including that of this senior editor who donated 20 hours a week to their site? To this day, over six months since I was banned without warning, I still receive complaints about management decisions by the OEN board.
Perhaps our refusal to drink the O-Koolaid – which flavored the site – was too much of an embarrassment to the powers that be. Site owner Rob Kall and the OEN board no doubt believed a mention in The New York Times and on Fox News would boost OEN popularity, despite the certain loss it would suffer from banning us.
But sucking up to the powers-that-be is never an agenda item of true dissent. I’m sure they all feel quite embarrassed now that their sterile attempts at genuine dissidence is rendering OpEdNews irrelevant.
The real game is on the blogs, and in the streets – not on gatekeeper sites that gag the populace. Keep up the great work, Bloggers. Wear your banning like a red badge of courage. I’m proud to share your company.