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How to make money with a Web site

Nov 17, 20052 mins
Data Center

I know that many of you have Web sites and want to know how to make the big time (financially speaking). The answer is simple : You need to be a middle school student, create a site that criticizes your school, and attend Maple Place School in Oceanside, New Jersey where they apparently have never studied the constitution.

Ryan Dwyer, who was in the 8th grade at the time, created a site by himself, on his own time, from home that the discussed issues with the school that the administrators didn’t like to see on-line so they did the logical thing: They disciplined him by suspending him for a week, benching him from the baseball team for a month, barred him from going on his class trip, and more!

This was not only high-handed and excessively harsh, it was also illegal and back in April a court awarded Dwyer a whopping $117,500!

The school argued that it was “protecting all of the children and the staff in the district” but has never articulated exactly what rules Dwyer broke. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) stepped in to defend Dwyer’s rights and prevailed.

You have to wonder what kind of addle-pated bureaucrats run the Oceanside school board.

But it points out an interesting problem that many organizations will face: The members of your institutions can make themselves and their criticisms heard with an ease that has never before been possible and you can’t stop them.

Moreover, if there is a ground swell of dissatisfaction that is otherwise unfocussed on-line commentary can easily act as a “seed” and create an issue that in pre-Internet days would have never become important.

What is needed is for organizations that have no right to control the speech of others to become far more aware of dissatisfaction in the ranks and deal with it proactively and sensitively.

Mark my words, this sort of problem is going to become much more common in the next few years and a lot of lawyers are going to make a good living. Those organizations that assume they have more power and authority and think they can operate without transparency are in for a rough ride.


Mark Gibbs is an author, journalist, and man of mystery. His writing for Network World is widely considered to be vastly underpaid. For more than 30 years, Gibbs has consulted, lectured, and authored numerous articles and books about networking, information technology, and the social and political issues surrounding them. His complete bio can be found at

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