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Tom Slee and the Omidyar Network: Six Degrees of Skepticism

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, September 16 2013

Is the Omidyar Network the new Standard Oil?

Tom Slee has penned a tough critique of the Omidyar Network's philanthropy, titled "Six Degrees of Omidyar," arguing that its venture capital investments "time and time again" have damaged "commons-based sharing" projects, pointing to investees like microfinance fund Unitus, Global Giving, CouchSurfing, Code for America and Change.org. As with all of Slee's writing, the piece is worth reading. But I think he's painting with far too broad a brush and has cherry-picked his evidence. Read More

4 Things to Watch For With ActionNetwork.org, The New Online Organizing Platform

BY David Karpf | Friday, September 13 2013

2011 Wisconsin budget protests (Photo by Justin Ormont)

Online organizing is much more than e-petitions. It’s easy to forget that sometimes, because petitions have been (small-d) democratized for such a long time – you can go to Change.org, SignOn.org, petitiononline.com, or any number of other options. Online tools for more complex tasks (list management, event management, group coordination, etc) are harder to find, and often come with exclusive, hefty price tags attached. Yesterday’s launch of ActionNetwork.org represents a promising move towards putting advanced online organizing tools in the hands of many more people…so long as they are progressives. David Karpf, an expert in online politics and the author of The MoveOn Effect, gives us his take. Read More

CREDO Mobile Opens Online Platform To Enable Progressives To Self-Organize

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Wednesday, August 21 2013

CREDO Mobile on Wednesday opened the doors to a new online organizing system that enables individuals to launch their own issue campaigns. Read More

Change.org Lands $15 Million From Omidyar

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Tuesday, May 21 2013

Change.org CEO Ben Rattray: "We'd never sell. We'd never go public." Photo: Personal Democracy Forum

Change.org capped an extraordinary few years of growth Tuesday with the announcement that it has landed a $15 million investment led by the Omidyar Network. Read More

MoveOn Bets Its Future On Volunteered Ideas

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Wednesday, December 5 2012

Onward, Little Toasters: MoveOn.org — founded in 1997 by a husband-and-wife team famous for the "flying toasters" screen saver — is betting on fewer staffers and more smart ideas from its millions of volunteer activists. Will it be enough to keep MoveOn relevant as multi-million-dollar outside groups learn how to use the web?

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In Defense of Change at Change.org

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, October 25 2012

Photo Felix Burton/Wikimedia Commons

Ever since the news broke on the Huffington Post and the Campaign for America's Future (CAF) blog that Change.org, the fast-growing online petition and campaign site, was altering its operating model to become a more open platform, I've been amazed and dismayed by the reaction of many self-styled progressives. On a daily basis, Change.org continues to help ordinary people do things like beat back greedy corporations, confront brutality, and defeat discrimination, while enabling large organizations with broadly similar goals pay for the privilege of reaching lots of those ordinary people too. But the reaction of these self-styled progressives to Change's changes is important. It suggests that the word progressive itself may no longer have much useful meaning, or that in the new context of networked hyper-democracy, it has to be redefined. Read More

Progressives Decry Changes at Change.org

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Wednesday, October 24 2012

The very public debate over where the lines should be drawn in the emerging business of technology tools for politics took a new turn this week when one of the highest profile companies in the industry decided to broaden ... Read More

ICYMI: K-Pop Phenomenon PSY Asks For El Monte Lifeguards' Jobs Back

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Monday, September 17 2012

News of the group of Southern Californian lifeguards' firing for making and sharing a parody of "Gangnam Style" made it to MTV last week, where the tune and video's creator PSY appealed for the lifeguards' jobs back. Read More

[OP-ED]: Change.org and the Dilemmas of Success [UPDATED]

BY David Karpf | Tuesday, June 19 2012

Op-ed contributor David Karpf writes: "Online petition juggernaut Change.org has become the target of an online petition effort.

Whoa.

Meta.

This weekend, a schoolteacher from Chicago launched a petition at SignOn.org* urging CEO Ben Rattray to “Stop Supporting Union-Busters.” So far it has over 3,700 signatures, but attention is rising. That’s because Rattray’s company is at an inflection point: rooted in progressive politics but structured as an open and for-profit platform, it’s now faced with a clarifying choice about its values and mission."

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On Change.org, a Big-Name Call for Dimon's Ouster from New York Fed

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Thursday, May 24 2012

The International Monetary Fund's former Chief Economist Simon Johnson is using Change.org to build support for his position that JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon must resign from the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Johnson, a British economist who's a longtime professor at MIT, established the petition on Wednesday. Since then, more than 3,000 people have signed on to support his position. Read More