I always hate hearing when bloggers whom I read decide to throw in the towel and quit blogging. They always have their reasons, which are most likely very valid for them, but sitting here, comfortably removed from their actual offline lives, I always think it a mistake.
Today, Lawrence Lessig threw in the towel. He says he’ll still be around elsewhere, on Twitter and on HuffPo, but that he’ll no longer have time for his blog.
This isn’t one of those publicity stunt “I’m quitting my blog!” moves that Scoble seems to do every other month, that Steve Rubel recently did in favor of a fad (his lifestream), or like my friend Jason Calacanis did when he decided he wanted to start up his own email list (notice that he’s back to blogging and often posts the list messages to his blog).
Lessig provides several real reasons for quitting that we have all heard before that basically boil down to “too busy with other things,” but then he adds this interesting bit:
“ At one point late last year, Google kicked me off their index because too many illegal casino sites were linking from the bowels of my server. I know some will respond with the equivalent of “you should have put bars on your windows and double bolted locks on your front door.” Maybe. Or maybe had legislatures devoted 1/10th the energy devoted to the copyright wars to addressing this muck, it might be easier for free speech to be free.
Now, Lessig, being a lawyer, blames the law for failing to have measures in place to prevent the swampland of spam that currently plagues the Internet.
I blame Google.
Sure, Google, like some huge meandering blind giant, was trying to squash some spam links by delisting Lessig. That doesn’t change the fact that Google targetted one of the good guys in the process, didn’t reach out to help rectify what was clearly a spam and hacking problem, and did this bit of minimal spam control while turning a blind eye to the hordes of Google Adsense SEO Marketing spam havens that float freely on the oceans of the Internet unchallenged.
You know who else doesn’t seem too interested in dealing with a spam economy that they help create? Twitter.
In any case, Mr. Lessig, I hope you change your mind (I think eventually you will). Also, free speech has never been easy and it’s never been free. There’s a cost to it. Don’t stop fighting.