Written on October 19th, 2004 at 03:10 pm by Darren Rowse

Corporate Bloggers

Business Blogging 0 comments

Sifry is writing about Corporate Blogger today - he numbers them as 5000:

‘These are people who blog in an official or semi-official capacity at a company, or are so affiliated with the company where they work that even though they are not officially spokespeople for the company, they are clearly affiliated. For example, the folks in SAP’s developers program get blogs if they want them, and are available to anyone who joins the (free) SAP developers network. This group also includes folks at Sun Microsystems and at Microsoft, where employees are Actively encouraged to blog.’

Read more at Sifry’s Alerts: Corporate Bloggers

The other posts in this series of posts are also worth reading - at State/Size of the Blogosphere - Growth of the Blogosphere - Big Media vs Blogs.

Written on October 19th, 2004 at 08:10 am by Darren Rowse

Do you have time to be a enternetusers?

Business Blogging 3 comments

I’m currently taking a bit of a working holiday in New Zealand and am spending a few days with two fellow bloggers to talk about the possibilities of working together as a blogging collective. One of the things I’ve found myself thinking on a number of occasions over the last few days is that it takes time to build a blogging business.

This morning I had an email from a reader of this site telling me that they want to earn money from blogging and they want to earn it fast.

In writing this blog I do not want to create any false impressions that blogs are a silver bullet - that all you have to do is start one, add some ads and then you’ll be set for life with a nice passive income.

The truth of the matter (in my experience) is this - if you want to make an honest and modest living from blogging that it is possible. In fact I believe it is possible to make a substantial living from blogging. However it takes a lot of work and it does not just happen over night. I started my first blog just under 2 years ago. Whilst I didn’t start blogging for dollars until around 1 year ago that first year was vital for the results I’m seeing today because it was a year of building my domain name’s ranking up. I’m just starting to see the fruit of all this hard work now - two years later.

Unless you have an absolutely brilliant concept or strike it incredibly lucky it will take you time to build your blogging up to a position where it earns you a decent income - even then you still need a bit of luck, many hours in front of the computer and a few intelligent strategies in place to make it worth your time. I spend at least 30 hours a week blogging - I treat it as a full time job - if I’m not willing to put substantial hours into it why would I expect it to reward me with a substantial figure?

Of course over the months my rate of return for the hours that I blog is on the increase but in the initial stages (as with any business) one has to be willing to put in the hard yards to get things going.

A recent study (see quote below) of business people found that 71% of marketers saw lack of time as a reason for not starting a business blog. I know business blogs are a different genre of blogging to the type of blogging that I do - however the principle still remains - if you don’t have time to blog you’ll never earn much from your blogging - and by time I mean time each day and week - but also time in the bigger picture of your life, if you’re not willing to work hard for a year or so with little return.

So some important questions to ask yourself when you start your problogging is ‘do I have time to dedicate to my blogging?’ ‘Do I have the patience and long term vision to pull it off?’

Written on October 15th, 2004 at 01:10 pm by Darren Rowse

Micropayments and Blogging

Advertising, Adsense 0 comments

When I was in my first year of high school I met a guy who would change my life - ok he didn’t really change it, but he taught me a lesson which I still use today in my pro-blogging. He taught me that if you aim small you can actually make it big! Indulge me if you will as I reminisce about my friend Trent.

My most vivid memory of Trent is in an Aussie Fish and Chip shop. For some reason our class was out on a field trip on this particular day and our teacher had taken us to a Fish and Chip shop to get some lunch. We’d all been told to bring a $2 - $3 dollars to get our lunch but as usual Trent hadn’t brought any money.

Trent wasn’t the most organized person in the world and I suspect money wasn’t flowing at home and so he’d developed this wonderful skill to get by when he needed money in such situations as this.

He waited until everyone else in the class had ordered and paid for their fish and chips and then he proceeded to move around my class mates asking if they could spare a few cents. He did it in a funny/clownish kind of way and made most of us laugh in the process. Most people gave him a few cents, no one gave him more than 20 - but when he’d finished his rounds of classmates and fellow customers and the time came to order Trent proceeded to the counter and placed an order that made the rest of us look like we were just having snacks. He’d collected $3.50 - more than enough for lunch - and probably a snack on the way home after school.

None of Trent’s classmates really minded about his good fortune - after all it hadn’t really cost us much - but when added all together our spare change was significant in Trent’s eyes. Trent was ahead of his times - a forerunner in the Micro-Payments industry.

The theory is simple - get enough people to give you a small payment and you’ll earn a significant income.

My mum is a regularly user of the phrase - ‘If I had a dollar for every time I’d heard that….’ Again - my mum is onto something with such a thought. Imagine that you had a dollar, or even 1 cent, for every person that viewed a page on your blog!? Do the sums

1 cent x 1000 page impressions = $10

5 cents x 1000 page impressions = $50

10 cents x 1000 page impressions =$100

You get the idea…. Nice theory isn’t it. But how does one earn 1c, or 5c or even, dare we dream it, $1 from someone looking at a page on their website? This is the million dollar (or maybe 1 cent) question that bloggers have been pondering for quite some time now.

Indirect Payments - by far the easiest way to earn a few cents at a time from your blog is not to charge your reader directly but to find another indirect income stream. This is what most of enternetusers case studies in this blog are doing by running advertising or affiliate programs from their blogs. The Adsense program is perhaps the most widely used such system. Whilst payments per click can earn quite a bit if you pick the right keywords and can compete with the many other competing for traffic on such words, most keywords on this system pay 2-20 cents per click. Doesn’t sound much - but if you can generate thousands of clicks per day you suddenly discover the power of micro payments. Of course such an approach brings with it many challenges which I address in my Adsense for Bloggers series.

Other indirect payment systems include using impression based ads like Fastclick (they pay a small % of a cent for each impression), Affiliate programs like Amazon (they pay you 2-7% of what ever your readers buy after clicking through from your site) or Clickbank (which offers thousands of affiliate programs that pay out at a variety of rates).

Direct Payments - Whilst indirect micro payment systems are becoming quite common and increasingly easy to use direct payments from blog readers continue to be a real challenge. Many approaches have been tried in getting readers to part with a few cents or dollars for the privilege of reading website content - but few have been successful to this point. Challenges being face by those wanting to explore direct micro payments include:

- finding readers willing to part with money for something that they can often get elsewhere for free

- finding a system that will allow a quick, easy and secure way of readers paying small amounts of money (it needs to be very quick and easy - web readers have notoriously short attention spans and will not tolerate a system of payment that includes many forms, clicks etc.)

- a cheap, easy and integrated system for bloggers that manages micropayments without costing them too much (this would probably need to be a plug-in for a blogging system that is integrated within the structure of a blog).

Having said this it may be possible to generate income from readers from your blog if some of the following factors are in play:

- You have very high readership. Some of the bigger bloggers going around will occasionally run an appeal for readers to donate money to them in order to keep their blogs running. Andrew Sullivan is one blogger who has reportedly earned a significant amount in this way. Only a small percentage of readers would be likely to respond to such a request and so a readership of considerable size (and demographics) would be needed to make it work well.

- Your blog provides exceptional quality of content. If your readers cannot live without your writing you might be in a position to charge them for the privilege of reading it. Some bloggers have a dedicated, loyal and obsessed readership who might be more than willing to pay a few dollars a year to read their writing.

- Your blog provides highly targeted and/or exclusive content. Similarly to high quality content - some readers will be willing to pay for information that they cannot get anywhere else for free on a particular topic. This would probably only work on a highly targeted topics containing specialist expertise. It would not work on topics such as the many gadget blogs going around which provide readily available information that can be found in any one of up to 10 or 20 sites within ours of new products being released.

- You have a premium content/privledges option on your blog. I’ve seen a number of bloggers taking this approach. They have a free content section and a pay per view/premium content section for members or subscribers. Such readers might also get other features like posting rights, special access to your as a blogger, ability to get links to their own sites etc.

I invite your thoughts, ideas and experiences on Micro Payments on blogs in the comments section below. What methods have you tried? What challenges do you see in this approach?

Related Micropayments in Blogging Articles:

- Micropayments - Natalie Solent

- The Case Against Micropayments - Clay Shirky

- Thinking about Micropayments and the Blogging Economy - Peter Davidson

- First Fame, Then Fortune: An Alternative Look at Micropayments Potential for Social and Economic Change

- Fame vs Fortune: Micropayments and Free Content - Clay Shirky

- The Case for Micropayments - Jakob Nielsen (1998)

- Paid Content - Three New Studies - vin Crosbie

Written on October 15th, 2004 at 10:10 am by Darren Rowse

Blog Advertising - Fear and Ignorance Keep Media Buyers Away

Advertising 0 comments

Advertisers including Paramount Pictures, The Wall Street Journal, and The Gap are successfully reaching niche audiences for a fraction of the cost of traditional advertising and a handful of bloggers are earning six-figure incomes from their blogs. Why aren’t more advertisers and bloggers getting together? Fear, ignorance and the knowledge that a lot of pioneers got shot.

With clickthrough rates in traditional online advertising dropping, inexpensive blog clickthroughs are as high as 5 percent. Blogs provide advertisers an excellent opportunity to reach a devoted audience niche for as little as $10 a week. Already, blogs like DailyKos which receives 15 million page views a month, get $9,000 a week for advertising and is sold out for weeks in advance.

Advertising on blogs is not like buying a minute on the Super Bowl says Henry Copeland, founder of Blogads, which matches advertisers with blogs. Successful blogs are edgy, have a sense of humor, and are recognized experts in a narrow niche. Blog audiences look at traditional ads, like “Click here, get 20% off,” and say “screw this, I’ve seen it everywhere,” Copeland says.’ Read more at Blogs are a Good Buy for Advertisers but Fear and Ignorance Keep Media Buyers Away

Written on October 15th, 2004 at 09:10 am by Darren Rowse

Article Swapping

Writing Content 0 comments

Wayne over at Blog Business World has a good article on Article Swapping as a strategy to increase the content on your blog. If you can ensure the quality of your article swapping partners this is a good strategy that can double your article producing power and therefor quantity of content on your page. He writes:

Adding new visitor traffic to your website is always a challenge. Finding fresh and innovative promotional techniques is often as difficult as creating fresh content.

Wait a minute! Why not accomplish both goals at the same time? By working with your current link exchange partners, and other website owners with businesses that complement yours, both goals are achievable.

Every website requires new content to provide interesting information for your site visitors. The same old stale articles won’t bring in much in the way of return traffic.

The various search engines give extra credit for site freshness and incoming links. Every article you provide to other webmasters provides them with new content. It provides your site with a themed incoming link. The same holds true for guest articles hosted on your site.

The level of my blogging earnings are directly related to the number of pages on my blogs (of course there are many other factors but quantity is a significant factor). Therefor one strategy for increasing earnings is obviously more pages as I’ve written about in my Generating Quantity of Content series.

Written on October 14th, 2004 at 08:10 pm by Darren Rowse

Street Talk

Case Studies 0 comments


Street Talk is another blog with an income stream that uses the Adsense program. It is a little different to other blogs that we’ve featured here in that instead of focusing upon products it focuses upon a popular New Zealand Television show - Shortland Street.

The site is currently in beta and will no doubt add more features and advertising opportunities - it will no doubt be a popular site for private advertisers which will be drawn to the site as traffic levels build - which they will if it goes in the same direction as another NZ fan blog that the owners of Street Talk own - Idolblog which focusses upon the New Zealand Idol and Australian Idol shows (ala ‘Pop Idol’ (UK) and ‘American Idol’ (US)). Idolblog has been a massive success for its developers generating a frenzy of activity every week before during and after episodes of the popular shows.

The beauty of these sites is that they are highly targeted on geographic areas and they will appeal to private advertisers from those locations.

Written on October 14th, 2004 at 12:10 pm by Darren Rowse

Questions for Nick Denton

Pro Blogging News 0 comments

Nick Denton seems to be on a bit of a publicity tour at the moment as there have been quite a few interviews with him and articles about him online in the past few days. Here is another Questions for… Nick Dention. Here is one of the questions put to Nick:

WSJ: Name two interesting moments in blog-ad history.

Mr. Denton: The first most significant development is Google’s AdSense. This enables small Web sites — like Weblogs — to at least fund some of their costs without having to build an advertising sales force. It provides very good targeting of text ad to content. If there is an item about Palm Pilots, then Google will supply ads about Palm Pilots automatically without any need for manual intervention. For certain topics, the revenues are quite meaningful. There are some Web sites, like a site called PVRblog, all about personal video recorders, that pretty much cover their running costs with Google ads and nothing else. The other development, in the last six months, advertisers like Nike and Audi are discovering blogs and engaging with the medium. I think it shows that blogs can attract innovative, brave advertisers, not just technology advertising, not just performance-based advertising, but classic brand advertising.

Written on October 14th, 2004 at 02:10 am by Darren Rowse

RSS Ads - Monetise your RSS feed

RSS 2 comments

RSS Ads is a system to add ads to your RSS feeds. They are currently signing up publishers for a release of the program shortly.

They write - ‘Monetize your RSS feed. Maintain total control over the ads placed in your feed. Expose all of your content via premium RSS feeds.’ It will be interesting to watch how this system and others like it work out for bloggers.

If any of you are using such a system drop me a line and let me know how you’re finding it and we’ll put it up as a case study.

Found via Micro Persuasion

Written on October 13th, 2004 at 10:10 am by Darren Rowse

Nick Denton Profile

Case Studies 1 comment

Fortune Magazine has a profile piece on Nick Denton and his growing blogging ventures:

‘With nine sites launched in two years and 24% month-over-month aggregate traffic growth, the business outlook for Gawker’s mini-media empire seems promising. Denton won’t talk about the company’s financials, and he points out that even at 2.5 million unique visitors per month his sites are only just starting to “get the numbers that actually register with media buyers.” But he also makes the case that numbers aren’t everything. “It’s not just a numbers game. If it was, they’d all be advertising with Weather Bug,” he says referring to a popular Windows toolbar download.’

Read more at Gawker Grows Up

Written on October 13th, 2004 at 10:10 am by Darren Rowse

Blogging for Dollars: WebPro News

Pro Blogging News 0 comments

WebProNews has a good little article on Blogging for Dollars that picks up a few income streams available for bloggers wanting to make money from their blogging.

‘Blogging for dollars might sound like the latest game show or some new drinking game, but it’s the latest craze to hit the Internet. Bloggers began blogging for a number of reasons, but as the blog movement has increased in popularity, they have found ways to monetize their blogs and are seeing their commitment pay off’

Also read my article of the same name - Blogging for Dollars


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