This is the second in an occasional series on people who have done interesting things to do with the Internet or digital culture, but who we don’t talk about enough, or perhaps who we don’t think about as being “off of the Internet”.
Martin Lewis is “an award-winning campaigning TV & radio presenter, newspaper columnist and bestselling author“
Lewis owns and runs moneysavingexpert.com which seems to be one of the best case studies in internet enabled community action that no one ever talks about*. MSE, as it’s users refer to it, is easiest described as a toolkit for hacking commerce; it’s a script kiddie resource for getting a little back in your dealings with corporations. If your new year’s resolutions included auditing your finances, then MSE is where you should head.
MSE is nothing fancy, webwise: an archive of articles written by Lewis and his team, and a pretty standard implementation of an open source message board, but it’s the focal point of a large community of money savers, and has been the beating heart of campaigns to reclaim council tax and bank charges.
Sure there are some folk who have issue with the board moderators but it’s rich in case studies of community action of the type that authors such as Shirky and Leadbetter have popularised.
Lewis is also of interest as he’s something a self-facilitating media node. MSE offers financial advice and journalism, is independent and (according to the last figures) turns over a lot of cash through an affiliate linking business model (you know the type of thing that other bloggers try but which never works).
So Martin Lewis – you save us money while making money out of a website. They said it couldn’t be done.
It can, and we salute you, Martin.
*I think Charles Leadbetter has written a bit about it. Maybe.