Blogathon! (239 blogs, $18,699.42 — and counting!)

The 2006 Blogathon is up and running! Signups for bloggers close July 21, sponsorship stays open through the event itself (July 29). This post is for the Wednesday Publicity Push: if you have a blog, please consider posting about the Blogathon today, next Wednesday, and the Wednesday after, to help inflate our daypop/technorati/etc ratings. And of course, please consider taking part and/or sponsoring a blogger!
For those who don’t know what the Blogathon is, here’s the press release:

On July 29th, hundreds of bloggers from all around the world will stay up late and make a difference. That’s the slogan and the raison d’ĂȘtre of the Blogathon, an online fundraising event that began in 2000 with a case of insomnia and a case of Mountain Dew. Faced with certain sleeplessness, Portland, OR blogger Cat Connor1 decided, on a whim, to blog every 15 minutes for 24 hours. She made it, and the next year she invited others to join her — this time, with sponsorships. Hence “blogathon”, by analogy with “walkathon”, “telethon” and so on. Says Connor: “I’ve always felt the best thing about the web was its ability to affect the real world. The web can be a major force for good.”
The mechanics of the Blogathon are simple: bloggers sign up to blog for their chosen charity, and sponsors pledge either a lump sum or an amount per hour blogged. The goal is 24 hours, with one post every 30 minutes. Sponsors make their donations directly to their bloggers’ chosen charities. The Blogathon sends reminder emails but does not collect money, although Connor says that future plans do include registration as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and a system for collecting and disbursing donations.
The 2001 Blogathon saw about a hundred bloggers raise more than $20,000 (more than double their initial modest goal) for 77 different charities. The numbers roughly doubled in 2002, and again in 2003 when well over 500 participants raised more than $100,000 for charities ranging from the World Wildlife Fund to Heifer International, from local outreach centers to Médecins Sans Frontières. Project Blog substituted for the Blogathon in 2004, and in 2005 Connor continued her hiatus and Sheana Director of seeworthy.org ran the Blogathon, raising almost $60,000.
It’s not all about the money, though. “What really makes Blogathon work,” says Connor, “is the sense of community that’s grown up around it.” Chat rooms, online forums and Radio Blogathon online broadcasts keep bloggers in touch during the event. This year’s front page will itself be a blog, continually updated by Connor and a volunteer team of “monitors” with games, contests and news and fun from around the event. Also new this year is a surfing frame which will allow onlookers to surf from blog to blog, and as always there will be a variety of prizes for most money raised, best writing, best visuals, and so on.
Previous projects are even more diverse than the chosen charities. Participants have written entire novels, translated ancient epic poems, recorded albums of original music, and spent 24 hours cooking all their favourite dishes. Others have written 48 posts about chocolate, shoes, toilets or outsider art, shaved their heads live on webcam, solicited panels for a virtual quilt, ridden a stationary bike for 24 hours or blogged by mobile phone live from a road trip.
This year’s Blogathon is now open for signups and pledges at www.blogathon.org; the event itself will take place Saturday July 29 at 06:00 Pacific Time, with an alternative Sabbath-observant schedule beginning at 21:00 the same day. Everyone starts at one of those two times, no matter where they are. As founder Connor puts it: “Creating an international community over the course of 24 hours — one with a single purpose — is something that can only happen on the web. It makes the web magical.”

1Aka spousal unit mine. (In case anyone was wondering, that’s why I won’t be blogging: I’ll be fetching and carrying behind the scenes.)

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