UPDATED 16:03 EDT / APRIL 08 2009

Kachingle: “Wait until the Summer; we’ll save journalism then.”

image Of course right now, the biggest meme amongst the Heritage Media (at least the print side) is to sue the crap out of New Media, and the rest of the Internet, in a desperate means to try to stay alive.

If you dial back the clock one month, though, you’ll see that the same folks were frantically clinging to the idea of micro-payments, and one of the more interesting ideas that repeatedly received attention was a startup by the name of Kachingle.

The idea has been explained with a great deal of complexity in publications like Editor and Publisher, but very simply: it functions just like an ad network for bloggers, but instead it’s a communal donation network.

They got a great deal of attention in early February, but since fell off the radar.  Last week, I received an update from creators of the service:

As you may recall, you contacted us in late February to get test information about our model for monetizing traffic on websites and blogs. We had just received some really nice media attention, and at the time, we thought we’d be ready to launch around now. We gave access to the beta version to a few select users. But, we quickly got feedback that we still had some major work to do. So rather than get distracted with setting up new people, we decided to suspend our test phase and turn it back over to our engineering team.

Our plan now is to launch later this summer. About two-to-three weeks prior, we will contact would-be Kachlingers (like you) with instructions on how to install — and test — the Kachingle widget/medallion. We hope you’ll want to try it out.

While we certainly think that this is a better idea to save journalism (online and offline) than suing the crap out of the Web, the frank truth is that most offline print publications aren’t going to survive that long.

The long death march has almost reached it’s destination for most publications – so much so that almost every major market in America has a casualty of the war with one or both feet in the grave.

Curiously, there’ve been New Media evangelists like myself and Jeff Jarvis that have been laying out business roadmaps for close to a decade. There are no longer just one or two examples of New Media journalism empires out there – there are dozens, if not hundreds (depending on how successful an organization needs to be before you classify it an empire).

Still, even at the bitter end of their lifecycle, it’s amusing (and sad) to note that the solutions the Old Media are in love with are either self destructive or unavailable. They’d literally rather die than adapt.

Update: Just after this was posted – the latest in the AP’s war on it’s customers came across the wire via Techcrunch.


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