Given my personal interest in markets and efficiencies, I've always been interested in these fantasy markets. Joi exposes the number one problem I have always had with them, however: it doesn't work like a real market if the value created and exchanged in the marketplace isn't "real" value.
"Real" value has to be transferable to other goods or services. The reason we don't still (for the most part) have a barter economy is that "money" is far more efficient. I'll trade you ten dollars for your bushel of apples, and then you'll take my ten dollars and trade them for a couple of magazines. You don't care that I also want to get rid of an old sack of potatoes, and you weren't about to trade your apples for my potatoes, since you weren't sure the guy at the magazine stand even liked potatoes.
With Blogshares, or generally any fantasy market, the value created isn't transferable outside the market, and therefore isn't useful.
But Joi brings up a really good idea. Take that value and make it transferable not in terms of wealth, but in terms of influence. Interestingly, in the real world, wealth and influence are sometimes linearly correlated also. I think this is a very promising direction to explore.
However, Joi is reluctant to fully endorse this idea because as he says, "voting shares is [market] oriented, but not really 'democratic.' It's about as democratic as wallstreet [sic] and the millionaires would control the blogs."
At the risk of evoking the response of "yeah, you would say that," I'll respond to Joi's concern by saying, "Yes, that's the way it's supposed to work."
First, let me say that I completely agree that generally, governing influence should not be proportional to value or wealth. That said, you have to think about what you're talking about governing. If you're talking about civil society or government, that is clearly the case -- one person should have one vote, regardless of their net worth.
But in the case of corporations, for example, I don't think anyone would disagree that the governing influence should be proportional to the share of ownership. Since a corporation is a for-profit enterprise, always trying to create more wealth for its shareholders, it follows that its largest shareholders have more "skin" in the game, and are therefore more impacted (positively and negatively) by the company's performance.
Now the question is whether blogs should be considered part of civil society, or part of the economy. The problem and interesting challenge of the governance approach Joi introduces is that it attempts to place blogs both in civil society (democracy, etc.) and the economy (bigger shareholders have more influence).
I think this is a fascinating challenge. In the end, the right answer will most likely depend on the application. Simplistically, I would think that democratic, civil society-based blogs will eschew market-based solutions like Blogshares (though different market-based systems might have a place). And collaborative, value-creating (in terms of transferable value, which could include "influence" and "reputation") blogs will be more welcoming of a market-based system.
This is incredibly interesting to me, and this is only the tip of the iceberg.