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You're (Probably) Not Going To Be a Pro Blogger

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the but-you-could-still-win-valuable-prizes dept.

The Media 120

ThousandStars writes "Contrary to what the specious Wall Street Journal article Early Transition to Blog Pro says, You're Not Going to be a Professional Blogger argues that not that many people can make money through web advertising. The WSJ article 'doesn't discuss how people actually use their blogs to make money, which is by selling ancillary services.'"

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120 comments

Wake me up when.. (5, Insightful)

fictionpuss (1136565) | more than 3 years ago | (#28365321)

..web advertising rates have risen to the point where they accurately reflect the value they can provide clients rather than being bogged down by the dinosaur media forms of print and tv commanding increasingly outdated and thus artificially inflated prices.

Until we wake up to the future, we'll still be uselessly dreaming of the past.

Re:Wake me up when.. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28365575)

web advertising rates have risen to the point where they accurately reflect the value they can provide clients rather than being bogged down by the dinosaur media forms of print and tv commanding increasingly outdated and thus artificially inflated prices.

There's too may ups and downs and the sentence construction is too crap for me to even guess what you're trying to say.

Re:Wake me up when.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28365921)

Nice trolling.

Wake me up when web advertising rates have risen to the point where they accurately reflect the value they can provide clients

Right now, advertisers pay a few pennies for a few thousand clicks. The grandparent believes that, even with a 1% conversion rate on advertisement clicks to new business, a few pennies is a silly amount to pay the people hosing advertisments.

rather than being bogged down by [old media's] artificially inflated prices.

I prefer his artistic and descriptive approach. My snip, however, should be more to your liking.

Until we wake up to the future, we'll still be uselessly dreaming of the past.

Pretty self-explanatory.

Re:Wake me up when.. (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 3 years ago | (#28366193)

.web advertising rates have risen to the point where they accurately reflect the value they can provide clients rather than being bogged down by the dinosaur media forms of print and tv commanding increasingly outdated and thus artificially inflated prices.

That and lack of a decent micropayment solution.

Macropayments dammit! (2, Funny)

mrmeval (662166) | more than 3 years ago | (#28367435)

Yes some are comics, deal with it.

I buy
Your book, (Schlock Mercenary)
Your mug (Glow in the dark messiah of the moment)
Your stupid grin on a signed photo.
Your MOM
Signed pictures of your cat (Hi Kyle Cassidy and Roswell!)
Your T SHIRT! (Yes you Dr. McNinja!)
Your verbally abusive T- SHIRT! (NUKE THE MOON!)
Your wordless T SHIRT! (WWWBatmanD)
Your rather funny T Shirt (Blogger, novelist of Better to Beg Forgiveness) -> BOOMY
Your hysterical mug if you had a damnable CLUE (Some comic that had a banner ad with a coffee mug emblazoned "Not for use with crotch" BUT DIDN'T SELL THE DAMN THING)
Your doodads (Alien Dice key fob thingies).
THE CUTE OMG THE TERRIBLE TEETH DESTROYING SUGARY CUTE (DMFA)
The strange T-Shirt (Oh My Gods)

In other words all the 'side bidness' you need to be able to EAT. :)

Feed your artists and authors people.

Re:Wake me up when.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28366477)

So you want advertising rates, which are, according to you, now artificially inflated by "dinosaurs", to rise even more?

And that is rated insightful???

Re:Wake me up when.. (1)

fictionpuss (1136565) | more than 3 years ago | (#28366691)

TV as we know it, and print media are dinosaurs in the sense that they are going extinct, and nothing can save them. It's a shotgun approach/one-to-many relationship which categorised the vast majority of 20th century communication.

Now we live in a universe where many-to-many communication is the norm, and rapidly expanding our ability to store, process and filter information. With many-to-many, a soap company can tell exactly how many house-spouses in Delaware are interested in their product, rather than printing an ad in a paper, or playing an ad on local TV and just guessing as to the impact.

But we have vested interests at work. Does the New York times reduce its print rates, and demand more for its web rates? No. Instead they put up a wall and make it harder to see their online ads. Can I charge higher advertising rates than NYT? Not likely more than a relatively static percentage. And so we are.

To be clear, since many AC's seem to be struggling on this point - tv/print - overvaluated. Online ads - undervalued.

Re:Wake me up when.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28366867)

Web advertising isn't the only way to be a professional blogger. The East Asia Forum (www.eastasiaforum.org) pays some of their staff to blog even though the blog doesn't run any advertising at all. I know other blogs follow this model. Just because the blog doesn't make money doesn't mean the bloggers don't get paid.

In the specific case of East Asia Forum, the benefit it has to its financial backers is the public good it provides.

Re:Wake me up when.. (1)

fictionpuss (1136565) | more than 3 years ago | (#28366971)

True, but it doesn't seem like a scalable solution for financing web-content in general - significantly increasing the percentage of "professional bloggers" who can actually earn a living by doing so.

8==C=O=C=K==S=L=A=P==D ~~-_ (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28365339)

thunk.

Re:8==C=O=C=K==S=L=A=P==D ~~-_ (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28365485)

OUCH! That cock slap hurt :(

Yep (-1, Offtopic)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | more than 3 years ago | (#28365347)

If you're going to make money, it'd be best to have product to sell, and use the blog to get information to people who might want your product. Read Don Lancaster's, "Incredible Secret Money Machine", available at http://www.tinaja.com/ [tinaja.com]

Re:Yep (3, Insightful)

Jason Levine (196982) | more than 3 years ago | (#28365407)

"Secret Money Machine"? He writes a book on how to make money, sells it, and makes money? Is his book only one page with the following typed on it: "Write and sell a book describing how people can make lots of money."

Re:Yep (1)

relguj9 (1313593) | more than 3 years ago | (#28365877)

heh, it's not an original idea... I've seen a lot of infomercials and ads for books with similar "secrets to becoming a millionaire" and said secret I can oftentimes deduce from the ad is to "create something with low manufacturing cost and low retail price, advertise the shit out of it, sell a million and you'll be rich".

Said author probably bought a book from another author with the same message.

Re:Yep (3, Interesting)

syousef (465911) | more than 3 years ago | (#28366053)

"Secret Money Machine"? He writes a book on how to make money, sells it, and makes money? Is his book only one page with the following typed on it: "Write and sell a book describing how people can make lots of money."

I realise you're making a joke, but it's interesting to note that the only reason that this doesn't work exactly as described is that people realise they're being fooled straight away.

You don't walk up to someone you want to cheat and say "Hey can I cheat you" and expect it to work. Likewise the one page book won't work. Instead what has really worked is to draw this one page out into about 200 pages and convince people that there are deep insights. By the time they've worked out what's happening (if in fact they ever do) they'll have recommended the book to friends and family and be talking about those deep and life altering insights, which in turn drives sales of the book.

The only real problem is that creating such a vibe is very hit and miss and you're much more likely to have a book that flops before you can achieve the critical mass through word of mouth. Fashion is fickle. However many self help books that have happened to succeed and make their author rich are exactly what I've described.

Re:Yep (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28368231)

Damn it, don't give out all the secrets away!

Not true at all (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28365387)

Get your blog posted as a Slashdot article and watch the money come in.

Re:Not true at all (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28365659)

Slashdotters will use adblock plus and you won't get any revenue.
That and your web service will drop out and be unreachable for awhile. ;)

You must be new here (2, Funny)

monkeyboythom (796957) | more than 3 years ago | (#28365695)

That is, if your servers can withstand being slashdotted in the first place.

503-b Ad Revenue Unavailable

At least everyone has a share (1)

ThousandStars (556222) | more than 3 years ago | (#28366411)

Given that Grant Writing Confidential [seliger.com] doesn't sell ads, you must be using Milo Minderbinder's Catch-22 system of capitalism, with me as Yossarian, who says, "I don't understand why you buy eggs for seven cents apiece in Malta and sell them for five cents." Milo responds, "But I make a profit of three and a quarter cents an egg by selling them for four and a quarter cents an egg to the people in Malta I buy them from for seven cents an egg. Of course, I don't make the profit. The syndicate makes the profit. And everybody has a share."

Actually, come to think of it, that's a better description of blogs and money making than any other I think I've read.

Re:Not true at all (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28366653)

Been there done tha- 403 - Page Not Found

Um, news? (5, Interesting)

Rachel Lucid (964267) | more than 3 years ago | (#28365427)

Getting paid to blog is like getting paid to write. You don't just produce stuff and get paid (unless you're a novelist... good luck!), you produce stuff and get hired to MAKE SOMETHING LIKE IT.

It points out (correctly) that if you wanna make money blogging, you sell something that isn't just your content. Even if you're only a writer, you can still sell frickin' e-books at a few bucks a pop instead of always giving it away. (of course, holding ALL your work behind the golden door doesn't work either. You've got to strike a balance, even if the balance usually leans towards "give away most of it".

It's stunning how few people realize this.

Re:Um, news? (1)

BOUND4DOOM (987004) | more than 3 years ago | (#28365545)

Actually, there is a business model by one author that seems to be working, I would say it is a rare working model and not everyone could pull it off. Sci-Fi author Scott Sigler [scottsigler.com] runs a successful blog. His blog basically started off his writing career. He would blog short sci fi stories, and yes they were free, but he built up a fan base, so when he went to publish his first book it sold very well even though he publish the whole book for free on his blog as well. He has since published several books and a DVD of all his pod casts [amazon.com]. How I personally view this much like a rock star, there are millions of people that play an instrument, very few make a living doing it, and even fewer strike it rich. Same with blogging.

Re:Um, news? (1)

Rachel Lucid (964267) | more than 3 years ago | (#28365589)

This isn't that different than what I said before, or even what most webcomic artists do after a year or two in terms of selling dead tree versions of their work.

Again, he made the blog, then he sold books based on what was on that blog, and used the profits to go from there. He didn't put it up and then "hope" to get enough from ads and amazon referrals or something; he actually produced work that attracted people and got them to buy his other stuff. That some of what people bought was also content already on the site isn't that unusual.

Re:Um, news? (2, Informative)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 3 years ago | (#28365849)

Actually a number of Sci-Fi authors give away their books, or at least some of them. Oddly enough they usually see a jump in the sale of their dead-tree versions.

Imagine that.

Anyway, check out Baen's Free Books if you want more info, I'm too lazy to look it up but a quick google will find it for you.

Re:Um, news? (4, Insightful)

WheelDweller (108946) | more than 3 years ago | (#28365811)

I'm with ya, guy; *if* you can provide content, you've got to find that balance that provides a sample for the unitiated to try, while keeping your heavy-mover content protected, more or less. It's a balancing act most don't have the strength or maturity to achieve.

But long before that...content. Remember the sexually-ambiguous guy screaming "Leave Brittany Alone!"? That's not actually content. Whining, peeing, sleeping, talking about computers while drunk...those are all bodily functions, not entertainment. Most blogs, speaking statistically, wind up more like diary entries than anything, and rarely does that count, either.

Re:Um, news? (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#28365931)

It's interesting that the Wall Street Journal would publish a story trying to discourage individuals from making money on the Internet.

You would never see an article discouraging corporations from doing the same, however. An individual who writes a blog and tries to have advertising and eke out a living is a "loser" but a corporation that spends millions to start up some cockamamie Web 3.0 nonsense and lasts a year and goes down in flames, losing their investors' money is "visionary" and "too far ahead of the curve".

Isn't it ironic that this icon of the mainstream publishing industry, which is trying to play catchup with bloggers who have basically been eating the mainstream publishing industry's lunch, causing dozens of major newspapers to go under and in fact causing the Wall Street Journal's original owners to sell the paper to Rupert Murdoch, is all of a sudden trying to discourage the same bloggers who they are trying their best to emulate.

I know it sounds like I'm making a campy joke, but I believe this with all my heart: The Wall Street Journal is a "capitalist tool" to enrich a very few people.

They have an agenda which relies upon them beating the bloggers at their own game. They should absolutely not be trusted in regards to this article.

If you want to find business data or insightful business journalism, there are several individual and group bloggers that do a better job without the self-serving agenda. We've seen this in several areas of journalism- political, foreign affairs, technology, etc.- where the mainstream publishing industry was several steps behind the curve, and behind the bloggers. Is it any wonder that they'd try to discourage people from blogging? And if somebody wants to pay the 3 bucks a month for hosting and put up a blog that doesn't make any money, why is the Wall Street Journal so concerned?

Re:Um, news? (2, Informative)

jgalun (8930) | more than 3 years ago | (#28366395)

This is impressive. Not only didn't you read the RTFA - which doesn't discourage people from blogging, but instead interviews someone who has successfully created a career from blogging - you didn't even RTFS, which is attacking the WSJ for saying that you can make money just from ad-blogging

Jesus. Forget about engaging brain before posting. Engage eyes before posting!

Re:Um, news? (2, Interesting)

jdbausch (1419981) | more than 3 years ago | (#28366463)

There appears to be a this belief on slashdot that all these bloggers are what is putting newspapers out of business. Unless someone can point me at a source for this, I simply cannot believe it. My perception of what is killing newspapers is that people can get vetted news (Reuters and AP for example) stories for FREE in a preferable delivery system (computer, phone, etc). By comparison, paying to get a paper that is already outdated by the time you read it just does not cut it. I understand that many reporters have blogs and they produce and reproduce news content there, and also some news reporting does come directly from Blogs. But I still don't think that is even close to the source of the newspaper's troubles.

Re:Um, news? (1)

Rachel Lucid (964267) | more than 3 years ago | (#28366643)

Well, Folks who work in newspaper comics certainly believe that webcomic folks like myself are killing their business... never mind that there's very little stopping them from taking advantage of the exact same channels.

Re:Um, news? (1)

servognome (738846) | more than 3 years ago | (#28366523)

It's interesting that the Wall Street Journal would publish a story trying to discourage individuals from making money on the Internet.

Not only would they publish such an article, the WSJ actually faces the digital convesrion conundrum [businessinsider.com] under Murdoch.
What they point out is that in the world of blogging, much like iTunes app store publishing [gamasutra.com] a creator faces perfect competition. Facing an industry with 0 economic profit, differentiation and other services are needed for economic profitability. That's why selling of merchandise, or other value added services is important for creating a viable blogging business.
This isn't just for the individual, it's for anybody getting involved in the blogging world. Corporations have the advanatage of leveraging their existing trademark, or as we often see spending millions of dollars to buy an already popular blog. Ultimately they face the same problems of selling something other than their blog to pull of a real profit.

Re:Um, news? (1)

ThousandStars (556222) | more than 3 years ago | (#28366731)

They have an agenda which relies upon them beating the bloggers at their own game. They should absolutely not be trusted in regards to this article.

I hate to break it to you, but the WSJ article implies that you can make money blogging. My article on Grant Writing Confidential [seliger.com] argues otherwise. You may want to read the articles on which you're commenting with more care.

(Cue jokes in 3... 2... 1...)

Re:Um, news? (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#28367711)

Sure, it tells you that you can make money blogging, as long as it's from doing something besides journalism which they believe is solely for "professionals".

So, "if you want to make money blogging, sell t-shirts".

I still call shenanigans on WSJ.

Well . . . . (4, Funny)

arizwebfoot (1228544) | more than 3 years ago | (#28365429)

"The WSJ article 'doesn't discuss how people actually use their blogs to make money, which is by selling ancillary services."

What ancillary services are we talking about here? 1/2 hour, 1 hour, or 2 hours "donations" for services rendered?

Re:Well . . . . (1)

TinFoilMan (1371973) | more than 3 years ago | (#28365615)

Do I have to wear my tin hat while services are rendered?

BTW, it's now a gold hat with a 0.1 micron filter that advertises for ISP balloons in Africa while blogging.

Re:Well . . . . (1)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 3 years ago | (#28366049)

The primary is advertising, you nitwit. Blogger blogs, gets lots of people to read blog. Blogger then sells ad-space to advertiser, so the people who read the blog also get to see the ad. A small number of people purchase items from advertiser. Blogger, advertiser, and visitors all win.

Was that simple enough for you?

Other ancillary services would include merchendise (t-shirts, hats, books, etc), or perhaps an additional service related to the blog (i.e. you blog about organization tips, then offer organizational consulting services for a fee), etc.

There are a lot of options, newspapers just can't think of any. The small time guys who make it big are usually really good at it though. Note that not all small time guys will make it big, and the ones who don't probably aren't good at selling ancillary services, or they'd have made it big.

Re:Well . . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28366373)

... you nitwit...Was that simple enough for you?...

Dude, chill.

Ever hear of sarcasm?
Do you know what humor is?
Do you have a donkey's dildo up your ass?

Re:Well . . . . (1)

ThousandStars (556222) | more than 3 years ago | (#28366627)

Funny you should say that--Penelope Trunk did write a post called Blog ROI: Consider measuring the success of your blog by if it improves your sex life [penelopetrunk.com]. Alas, that wasn't what I had in mind for the article I wrote...

Re:Well . . . . (1)

arizwebfoot (1228544) | more than 3 years ago | (#28367245)

LOL

Like the AC mentioned, I was simply trying for some light hearted humor. Sometimes I get modded up and sometimes I get trolled.

Nice article though.

Re:Well . . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28368007)

Good man. Nothing passes by this guy.

More to the point, who wants to do so? (2, Interesting)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 3 years ago | (#28365463)

I'm not sure many people want to be professional bloggers. I have a blog that has a small number of readers and having more readers is always nice, but blogging to me and to most bloggers is a hobby or a side element. Blogging professionally would involve a tremendous amount of stress as if every post isn't just perfect, readership, and hence profit, will suffer. Blogging would cease to be a relaxing activity. In fact, many so called professional bloggers such as say most of the bloggers at http://scienceblogs.com/ [scienceblogs.com] aren't professionals in the sense that they get large income streams but rather that is a convenience to have a small income stream in addition to their day jobs.

Also, apparently Firefox includes the word "blog" in its default spellchecker and "blogger" but not "bloggers" although "blogs" is included. Weird.

Plenty of suckers out there (1)

orthancstone (665890) | more than 3 years ago | (#28365517)

There are always people who are late to the party on trends, and stories like these target those suckers. It convinces them that the right entrepreneurial spirit will lead them to the path of success (one of WSJ's principles...that hard work pays off).

Nevermind that the sucker needs a time machine to go back to the period when they needed to start their blog to make decent money on it at this point (2000 as the article points out in its example).

Re:More to the point, who wants to do so? (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#28365605)

Blogging professionally is an oxymoron.

Re:More to the point, who wants to do so? (2, Informative)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 3 years ago | (#28365957)

Er, why?

You do know what the terms "profession" and "professional" mean, right?

A profession is essentially the task or series of tasks you perform to supply your living. Anything you can do and get people to pay you for qualifies as a profession. Hell, I could be a professional water dumper if I could get someone to pay me to dump water.

If what you do is blog, and someone pays you for it, that is your profession. It makes you a professional blogger. The opposite of course is the amature blogger (or amature anything, really) who does blogging as a side hobby or aspect of their work, but does not take the bulk of their energy and does not provide most of their income.

In other words, you're a moron.

Re:More to the point, who wants to do so? (1)

pxc (938367) | more than 3 years ago | (#28366403)

What you said is not necessarily true. "Blogging professionally" does not necessarily directly equate to "blogging as a profession". It could mean "blogging with professionalism". The grandparent poster could then be criticizing what he perceives to be the unprofessional nature of blogging.

Re:More to the point, who wants to do so? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28367263)

Yea, but he is an amature moron.

Re:More to the point, who wants to do so? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28365707)

True. I'd never annoy my few readers with google ads and other advertising crap that would make me a few cents per year. Its usually the non-commercial blogs that are the most interesting to read anyway.

Re:More to the point, who wants to do so? (2, Insightful)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 3 years ago | (#28365713)

Blogging professionally would involve a tremendous amount of stress as if every post isn't just perfect, readership, and hence profit, will suffer.

I'm not sure this is the case. Certainly with a lot of popular political blogs (I'm thinking especially of Little Green Footballs here, but there are many others), the proprietors spent a lot of time expressing their bold individual viewpoint six or seven years ago, but now that they've made it big, they seem to just be phoning it in. In fact, I notice that a lot of their posts nowadays start with "Reader X alerted me to this article" followed by a simple copy and paste of something published in the traditional media. It doesn't look like readership has suffered, because the amount of comments on each story has only been going up.

Re:More to the point, who wants to do so? (1)

Anik315 (585913) | more than 3 years ago | (#28365809)

I wholeheartedly agree with this. I read a lot of blogs, and the best ones are seldom very profitable. If you want to make money from advertising, your best bet is to run around chasing celebrities (TMZ/Perez Hilton), but if you want to make a difference in the world around you, don't expect get rich doing it. I would suggest getting a real job, so that you can afford doing you're passionate about.

Re:More to the point, who wants to do so? (2, Informative)

Mike Buddha (10734) | more than 3 years ago | (#28366225)

I think that people fail to realize that Mark Frauenfelder has been writing in this more casual style (with 'zines then blogs) for more than 20 years now. He was building an audience for more than 12 years by the time he decided to blog. It's not like he was starting out with nothing. This was an evolution in his career, not a catastrophic event.

That's what they all say. (1)

hardwarejunkie9 (878942) | more than 3 years ago | (#28365507)

Just wait until I get picked up in the first round of the draft. I'll be living the high life: macbook pro and a thousand twitter followers.

Not true (2, Informative)

Absolut187 (816431) | more than 3 years ago | (#28365533)

From TFA:

Google ads pay almost nothing.

To the contrary: Google ad sense has paid me between $0.30 and $1.00 per ad click.

Unfortunately, my blog has extremely low visitation so I've only made $2.98 in the last month, but still. Google ads can pay pretty well. It depends on the ad. My ads are primarily from companies that offer LSAT prep classes.

Re:Not true (1)

JobyOne (1578377) | more than 3 years ago | (#28365607)

I'm in about the same boat. The ads are really just on my blog as a sort of "just in case." Just in case I ever get Slashdotted or something I might make a little real money. Getting paid only for clicks makes me wish my readers weren't so savvy.

I need to find some more gullible readers...

Re:Not true (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28366301)

for the sake of $3 a month and not have adverts cluttering my site i would pay the difference out of my own pocket (if iam in business who cares? its a business expense)

plus why would you want to send your visitors to unknown (usually shady) unverified third parties ? surely you want your visitors to interact with your site/business/services,after all you just managed to get them there (via search/WOM/typed) and now you want to send them away to unvetted businesses via an advert ? to earn $3 a month?

and people wonder why nobody earns money

Re:Not true (4, Funny)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 3 years ago | (#28365623)

So basically what you are telling us is that Google ad sense has payed you almost nothing?

Re:Not true (1)

Absolut187 (816431) | more than 3 years ago | (#28365825)

Basically what I'm telling you is that Google Ads pay up to $1.00 per click.

OBVIOUSLY, getting the clicks is the hard part.

Re:Not true (1)

silent_artichoke (973182) | more than 3 years ago | (#28365947)

OBVIOUSLY, getting the clicks is the hard part.

Haven't you been paying attention around here? All you have to do is ??? and you can profit without those pesky clicks.

Re:Not true (1)

selven (1556643) | more than 3 years ago | (#28367085)

Almost nothing? So, it's like nothing, but there's not quite enough of it to be called nothing?

Some content is worth more than others. (1)

Rachel Lucid (964267) | more than 3 years ago | (#28365677)

It depends on what you're offering.

If your blog talks about education (like yours seems to) or other high-profile niches, there's money in it. If your passion is in something more obscure like knitting in the round, don't expect people to pay you $.30 a click.

Re:Not true (2, Informative)

basementman (1475159) | more than 3 years ago | (#28366101)

Google is a shitty way to monetize compared to direct ad sales, ad sales from a large network, or affiliate marketing. You might get $0.30-$1.00 in a high paying niche, but that same high paying niche will do much better with other monetization methods.

The problem is people think that blogging about their boring lives for a weeo and throwing adsense up there will make you a millionaire. It doesn't work like that.

Do it out of love first (5, Insightful)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 3 years ago | (#28365595)

I've kicked around the prospects of making mula from blogging before. Generally it's not worth it. Blog for love of the subject, and if it eventually clicks with an audience, THEN consider the mula aspect.

Re:Do it out of love first (2, Interesting)

GMFTatsujin (239569) | more than 3 years ago | (#28365853)

Absolutely seconded.

I've blogged mostly about gaming -- tabletop D&D a few years back, and old-but-awesome PC games this year. It's a lot of hard work to do it, and I only put out a new show once a month. If that.

If I were depending on the blog for money, I'd he hanging by my necktie off the balcony rails of my cheap-ass apartment right now. I probably have, like, twelve people in the world I can count as an audience. I don't have any swag to sell and I'm not on the speaking tour circuit.

I keep coming back to it because I love what I'm blogging about. Those twelve people give me the little doses of feedback that my ego craves, too, so I feel lots of loyalty to doing them right. (Wanna be lucky #13? Follow the link in my sig.)

That being said, I was floored when I got an affiliate's notice that I had earned $3.50 last month on sales from click-throughs. It's honestly more than I ever expected.

Re:Do it out of love first (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 3 years ago | (#28366171)

Which is the rule for all good art. If you always seek to please everyone, you will lose, or create stuff like Britney Spears and Electronic Arts.

The point is that great leaders give a lead, and make you believe that this is the best thing ever. If you seek to please everyone, you do not lead.

It's also the same rule that makes the men that know what they want more attractive, and defines the unspoken hierarchy in a group (where a tramp can be above a queen).

Re:Do it out of love first (1)

ThousandStars (556222) | more than 3 years ago | (#28366935)

The problem is that even if you do love the subject, you're still probably not going to make money from blogging--which is part of my point.

Re:Do it out of love first (1)

element-o.p. (939033) | more than 3 years ago | (#28367333)

But if you love the subject, whether or not you make money is irrelevant. I've got a blog, and I've never made a penny from it, nor do I expect to make a penny from it. That doesn't make any difference to whether or not I will continue to blog, which was Tablizer's point.

Building a website takes time (2, Interesting)

Jarlsberg (643324) | more than 3 years ago | (#28365647)

It's like any business, it takes hard work and time before you see any revenues. I have a blog at http://blog.magicode.org/ [magicode.org] (http://mirror.magicode.org/ [magicode.org] if it goes down, as it's hosted on my server in my home office) and I can tell you this, I'm not making a living on the ad revenues. ;)

I code for a living. Having a good, professional blog is a way of showing people what you can do, and it inspires confidence, unless you put up pictures of yourself partying down, or post derogatory comments abour your ex-boss (or ex-wife, which is mostly the same thing, hehehe).

Re:Building a website takes time (2, Funny)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#28365991)

or post derogatory comments abour your ex-boss (or ex-wife,

I don't know, tales of Evil-X a few years ago at K5 gained me lots of fans. No money, but I wasn't after money. Now I mostly blog here at slashdot about hookers and other women, and drinking.

I've come to realize that hookers are popular among my fellow nerds. And blackjack. Wait, forget the blackjack.

Re:Building a website takes time (1)

ThousandStars (556222) | more than 3 years ago | (#28366501)

Having a good, professional blog is a way of showing people what you can do, and it inspires confidence,

Indeed, and that's the point of the second half of the original post [seliger.com]: you're not going to make money through selling ads, or whatever. Rather, anything you might make is indirect through signaling your expertise in a way that's exceedingly difficult if not effectively impossible to fake.

Re:Building a website takes time (1)

pimpimpim (811140) | more than 3 years ago | (#28366865)

The guy behind http://www.netbooknews.de/ [netbooknews.de] seems to be making a living from his blog, if I remember correctly. He was one of the first to write about them, he goes to all the product introductions, and by writing in good quality he could also convince manufacturers to send him pre-production samples, etc. I tried to look up some info, apparently before he worked on a linux OS specialized for the Via EPIA line. That also means that he was probably used to not earn a lot :)

Isn't this kind of obvious? (3, Insightful)

gubers33 (1302099) | more than 3 years ago | (#28365673)

At least I think it is. Writing is like any other talent that millions of people can do, but not all can do well. Those few who can do their talent extremely well get paid for it. It is just like sports. Millions of kids play little league, but only a few thousand play minor league or college ball, and only a smaller few play in the MLB. Compare this to writing blogs, millions do it, a few thousands have blogs with some advertising and a smaller few get paid big bucks to do it professionally.

True, but so what? (1)

Punk CPA (1075871) | more than 3 years ago | (#28365689)

Step 1: Start blog
Step 2: ???
Step 3: Profit!

People who believe they will make their fortune from a blog need to read up on the internet bubble. Eyeballs are not dollars, as investors discovered. A blog is just another kind of website. If you are selling your services, a blog is a great way of showing your expertise. You must make your money by actually doing something, though, not by writing about it. The blog just shows prospective clients what you know.

page views (1)

ventmonkey (1578351) | more than 3 years ago | (#28365725)

With millions of (mostly inactive) bloggs floating around, I don't know how people expect to stand out writing stories their dog eating a remote. Especially with CPM (cost per 1000 impressions in ad speak) in the pennies. I'm building a website about a far more popular subject and see no way to use advertising as a viable revenue source. I don't think the advertising model is dead, but will only make real money for the Googles of the world.

Good blogs required a lot work (1)

fividotcom (1579135) | more than 3 years ago | (#28365747)

whether you have to spend time researching or just coming up with content that is germane to your audience and it's not simply a paraphrase of someone else's work. I blog for my site but it is primarily to communicate pertinent information and viewpoints to my users. I can't imagine being a professional blogger - not sure there is enough time in the day.

Oh come on... (1)

sys.stdout.write (1551563) | more than 3 years ago | (#28365779)

[since 1989] the only companies that have really made money from shrinkwrapped software are Microsoft and Adobe

Yeah, Symantec, Autodesk, et al. are merely figments of our imaginations.

Learn your history before you write a blog post describing it.

How effective is online advertising anyway? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28365797)

As more and more people discover the joys of Firefox and add-ons like adblock plus, isn't advertising gonna get less effective as time goes on? Hell, even without blocking the ads, people eventually condition themselves into ignoring adverts.

Re:How effective is online advertising anyway? (1)

CorporateSuit (1319461) | more than 4 years ago | (#28368163)

People are conditioning themselves to ignoring banner ads and google adwords, of course. They still haven't completely conditioned themselves to ignoring viral marketing. So if you've got a few thousand blog followers, to a savvy advertiser, your mini-market is tempting as a sweet, refreshing Coke!

2 cents (1, Interesting)

wrencherd (865833) | more than 3 years ago | (#28365845)

1. Including /. and (now) the blog cited here (and the WP article that it refers to), I've been "told" by at least 4 media outlets about how boingboing is one of the most popular blogs in the universe, yet I've never visited it and have no plans to do so at any time in the future. So the blogger could be right--the author is not making very much money--or maybe the WP article is right--he's cleaning up.

Either way I'm still not going to visit.

2. It seems like it would be a good thing if blogging is no longer undertaken as a way to get-rich-quick. That would seem to mean that the ones who are still doing it are doing it for some reason other than money: i.e. for free. If it weren't for people who did things for free (or at least on spec) there'd be no personal computers, no Linux, no US Constitution and no Holy Bible.

Look at this way, maybe some blogger will come up with an open source religion, like "Jezux: Put the fun back in prayer."

"Hinduxism", with a six-winged penguin-god.

Blogs never could make money (3, Interesting)

Alcoholist (160427) | more than 3 years ago | (#28365861)

I'm not sure why people ever thought blogs could make money.

I've been writing a blog for years but I was never so deluded to assume that millions of people would want to read my rantings and sponsors would want to shower me with money. I just do it because I like it. There may be some people who enjoy what I write, but not nearly enough to warrant an advertiser spending $2000/mo on me.

Putting some Google Ads on your blog always struck me as sort of desperate looking, like you were imagining yourself as the next Ann Landers or something. And face it, you're not. Even if you are a great writer, part of the problem is there are so many blogs available. Even if we assume only a million of them are properly active and not shit, who in their right mind would think that the world (or in my case, the English speaking world) could possibly support a million little magazines with advertising? Multiply $2000/month by one million and the number that pops out is 24 billion dollars a year. A pretty big price tag for citizen journalism and obviously the advertising market isn't going to pay it.

Re:Blogs never could make money (1)

ThousandStars (556222) | more than 3 years ago | (#28366527)

I'm not sure why people ever thought blogs could make money.

I'm guessing because articles like the WSJ one I linked to stoke the idea. Hence the importance of Penelope Trunk's comments (and, less humbly given the source, mine) as a counterweight.

Nothing has changed (3, Insightful)

sqrt(2) (786011) | more than 3 years ago | (#28365925)

To be a "professional blogger," which is really just a professional writer who publishes on the internet, you have to already be interesting and well known enough to attract readers or start from nothing and prove that you are interesting and talented enough to be worth reading. Then you can either sell ad space/content from your own site or get hired to write for someone else. Both of those scenarios are possible and there are examples of each. Writing is just like any form of artistic expression. The majority of people simply aren't good enough at it to make enough money to survive without also having another source of income. Even many who are talented don't get enough recognition to allow them to quit their day job.

But I think that is missing the point entirely. I suspect the vast majority of people who blog aren't doing it to make money and they never hope to. Blogging is essentially free, and at that price point there are plenty of voices that are worth checking out that wouldn't be worthwhile at any other price point, and maybe some of those people will even mature into successful writers in the traditional sense.

So yeah, you probably won't ever be a professional blogger, or novelist, or painter, or musician but that doesn't stop people from enjoying those creative outlets for their own sake.

Conflict of interest (2, Insightful)

MrNougat (927651) | more than 3 years ago | (#28366115)

Wouldn't it be in the best interest of someone who makes money at their blog to dissuade people from becoming competition? Perhaps by writing a blog about how difficult it is to make money at blogging, regardless of what the Wall Street Journal says?

Blogs!? What the hell? (2, Insightful)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 3 years ago | (#28366159)

Weblogs? Are we still talking about those? What is this, 2003? Honestly that's what I thought when I saw the article summary. MAKE.MONEY.FAST with your blog!

Re:Blogs!? What the hell? (1)

selven (1556643) | more than 3 years ago | (#28367131)

Indeed. Unfortunately, even vlogs, tlogs and n-logs are dead too. What we need is cloud computing, that will save the online journalists (although it might c-log up the internet)

Blogging for a living is hard to do (3, Interesting)

Orion Blastar (457579) | more than 3 years ago | (#28366163)

at best the web ads would help pay the ISP bill, but doubtful they will make someone a millionaire. Remember that most ISPs that host web sites charge per bandwidth. That means the more people that visit your web site blog, the more bandwidth they will eat up. You have to figure out a formula or use accounting software to figure out if your web ads are bringing in a profit.

Basically if you are going to blog professionally you have to have a blog about something interesting enough to get a majority of people to visit it, and deliver content on a daily basis that is original and entertaining or interesting enough to keep people coming back to it. Not only that but you have to try and avoid offending people so that you don't lose your audience. Plus it has to be something legal or else your blog can be shut down and you face criminal or civil charges.

The blogs that have been successful have used affiliate adds that advertise to sell a product from say Amazon.com or Barnes and Nobel or some other company that you link to a book or product that has something to do with what you are blogging on and they pay you back a fraction of the purchase. That means your loyal readers will have to keep purchasing the products you advertise on your blogs in order for you to earn money. Some readers will be annoyed that you have web advertisement and some will use adblock plus on Firefox or adblock pro on Internet Explorer to block out your web ads and you don't earn anything from them.

Some people claim that the free web is over, and that professional blogs only show most recent blogs and then charge a fee for membership access to look at the archive of blogs. Many newspapers are starting to do this, while others are going with eBook readers like Kindle to sell electronic versions of their newspapers. Basically a professional blog is like a newspaper, because you expect the writer to be more of a journalist that checks facts and cites sources and is more professional than the armature bloggers out there who don't always check facts and cite sources.

Some professional blogs blog by serving up audio and video files of themselves talking instead of writing text and then insert advertising into the file in order to pay for it. Others only serve up those audio and video files by membership fees.

Since the problem of people not wanting to pay for a membership or only want access to a few blogs or files, some professional blogs take micropayments in that it costs $1 to $5 per article or file to download it to your computer.

But the problem comes in that when blogs and other web sites go to membership only, how do you cite a link to their material when only members can access it and you cannot share your account? Sure you cite and link to the web site, but then people who cannot afford membership will refuse to believe you or ask you to cite a "free" web site that says the same thing.

Re:Blogging for a living is hard to do (2, Interesting)

ThousandStars (556222) | more than 3 years ago | (#28366565)

The blogs that have been successful have used affiliate adds that advertise to sell a product from say Amazon.com or Barnes and Nobel or some other company that you link to a book or product that has something to do with what you are blogging on and they pay you back a fraction of the purchase.

Even those don't make much. Joel Spolsky has said that referrals from Joel on Software make ~$100 a month. Megan McArdle of The Atlantic [theatlantic.com] says she gets about enough to fund her book habit too. Both are very well-known, highly trafficked sites. If they can't make it, who can? Almost no one: and that's the point. People read articles like the one from the WSJ and think they can make it, causing me to shake my head at the level delusion said articles not only show but propagate to others.

It's a full time job (1)

OutputLogic (1566511) | more than 3 years ago | (#28366227)

Having some talent is one thing. But running a good blogging site is also a time-consuming job. Think about how much time it takes to write a quality post that attract a lot of traffic. Another thing is promote that blog. It requires constant attention. Don't reply to comments for a few weeks and you'll see the traffic drops significantly. So I'd argue that people who spend a lot of time blogging and promoting it have a chance to earn some money.

OutputLogic [outputlogic.com]

I get a few 1000 readers a month..... (2, Informative)

AnAdventurer (1548515) | more than 3 years ago | (#28366253)

And I still have not gotten that first $100 check from Google after 18 months. Granted I am niche. A friend who gets 1000's of readers (many returning) a day makes an "insignificant amount" also from click ads.

It's the way for the future.

It takes alot more time then a regualr day job (1)

shiftline (1207620) | more than 4 years ago | (#28368183)

I make a bit of side $ off websites but unless you plan on doing it 12hours per day every day dont expect it to replace your day job... atleast not for a number of years, For me its turned into more of a hobby like my Optical Illusion [visualfunhouse.com] site which is more for fun.
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