Advantage for those wounded by the Scienceblogs ethical quicksand - they can carry no ads because they have PLoS One (and it's projected whopping 7,000 pay-to-publish articles this year) to carry the revenue load for blogging and the rest of PLoS. Plus blogging is not terribly server heavy so the cost will not be onerous. It's just writing and people comment. Pretty simple in both programming and caching.
How will it be different from the many others that have cropped up or recruited science bloggers? Well, it may not need to be. Blogging is, despite what the larger bloggers claimed a year ago when bragging about their size, vastly under-represented in the overall science community. Competition does not just serve markets, it creates them. With 65 million science readers just in the US but only 1 million reading and writing blogs, a tiny 1.5% of the audience, it could hardly be considered a viable market. Some of it was due to the fact that the largest blogging network, Seed Media's Scienceblogs.com, didn't write much about science, so as portrayed in a scathing commentary by the New York Times,
Hammering away at an ideology, substituting stridency for contemplation, pummeling its enemies in absentia: ScienceBlogs has become Fox News for the religion-baiting, peak-oil crowd. Though Myers and other science bloggers boast that they can be jerky in the service of anti-charlatanism, that’s not what’s bothersome about them. What’s bothersome is that the site is misleading. It’s not science by scientists, not even remotely; it’s science blogging by science bloggers. And science blogging, apparently, is a form of redundant and effortfully incendiary rhetoric that draws bad-faith moral authority from the word “science” and from occasional invocations of “peer-reviewed” thises and thats.and it was a real turn-off for the audience who discovered them first. But with some Scienceblogs departed going on their own, some forming new networks or even joining other networks like PLoS, there will be a lot more diversity of culture in science blogging. It won't just be militant shills ridiculing Republicans and religion. And that will be good for the reputation of not just science blogging, but science writing overall, including communities like ours.
Some asked in the wake of the Scienceblogs exodus if blogging networks themselves were dead - I predicted just the opposite, that networks would explode...and so they have.
Welcome to the communication aspects of Science 2.0, PLoS!