Monday, February 05, 2007

Links 2/5/07

Some of my friends are in the news today:

from Christian Science Monitor: Bloggers can make money, but most keep day jobs My friend Steve Garfield is quoted :-): Steve Garfield, one of Boston's earliest video bloggers, doesn't see a YouTube ad model working for him, since he's more interested in forming personal connections.

"I've gotten so much from giving and sharing my videos for free," says Mr. Garfield, whose vblog is at "I've made so many friends from all over the world."
Steve does admit to getting perks from vlogging...that's kind of the crux of it for lots of us. What we "make" may not be totally sustainable income (not yet anyway) but we *do* get something for our efforts. Note that "media expert" Jeff Jarvis only makes about $1,000 a month from his blogging--and he's an A-lister.

From NPR: Bloggers Join Frenzy at Media-Saturated Libby Trial Lists all the bloggers who are blogging the trial--friends Bob Cox and Aldon Hynes (who I met at MediaGiraffe) are litsted there (yes, I got the press release on this from Bob--but didn't write sooner mea culpa.) Curiously, Tom Pierce cites Wonkette weighing in on FireDogLake's commentary (I won't say another word--not about to get embroiled in another mess--the column speaks for itself.)

Scott Kirshner with some perspective on blogger ethics: Bloggers' choice: Free agents or infomercials? Scott highlights some of the low points and connundrums on blogging for bucks So it shouldn't be surprising that marketers and public relations firms are now trying to sway people who publish blogs, produce podcasts or post video clips on the Internet. Shortly before Microsoft and AMD doled out free laptops, a company that customizes the interior of private jets flew a Lear-load of bloggers and vloggers (video bloggers) to Washington state for wine tastings and a dinner. Last year, in an attempt to counteract negative coverage of its employee health care offerings, Wal-Mart funneled rebuttals to right-leaning bloggers -- some of whom posted the material without noting its source -- and later surreptitiously helped fund a pro-Wal-Mart blog. (Scott gets all the details on the Wal-Mart "flog" stuff right--few articles explain the nuances of that connundrum)

So, I'm thinking: When someone with as high traffic as Jeff Jarvis can make only $1,000 a month from his ads, then how are individual bloggers to make a buck? If they take perks, should they disclose? Absolutely. But marketers shouldn't think that just because they give products to a blogger, that the blogger is beholden to say something good about their product. Do they hold other "review sites" to the same standard? or are marketers expecting more from bloggers than they might from, perhaps, CNet? Yes, bloggers should disclose--but marketers should be realistic and less sensitive to a blogger's (perhaps) less-than-rosy review of their products. If they want rosy, they should just stick with p/r flacks.

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Murley said...


I'm not so sure Jarvis is a good example. While he may make only $1,000 a month, he's a very narrow niche A-lister, and doesn't seem to really try that hard to make the profit off his ads that others do. He does seem to get a lot of invitations to go to conferences like Davos, OTOH, and I'm sure he's not doing *that* for free. :-)

Tish Grier said...

good point on Jarvis's conference perks, Brian :-) Although I'm not sure he's in a narrow niche, as he does address a lot of media issues and ends up on tv a lot as an expert (another perk, too, perhaps?) Blogging, though, seems to be something that, if you're not splogging, it might be tough to make a lot of money from in general. I think of it kind of like freelance writing--where, as I learned at an ASJA conference, freelancing income is best when supplemented with speaking engagements, teaching, and such. The whole money question might be a bit different for group blogs and well-organized citizen journalism sites (although I'm not sure there either.)

Murley said...

True that. Although I have a feeling there are people making money on sites like GigaOm, TechCrunch, Instapundit, and some of the blogs that are in "groups" like boingboing, lifehacker, and Huffington Post.

Federated Media just said they pulled in several million in ad buys for the fourth quarter of 2006, so somebody's getting some money out of it. :-)

But the thing I think that is generally true is that it's very difficult to build up a lot of money if you don't have some sort of previous reputation in another field. That was not necessarily true in the early days of blogging, but probably more true now.

For now, I think you're right that it's best thought of as freelancing for most folks - and there's probably more money made from networking contacts than from actually blogging.

Tish Grier said...

Oh, one can *certainly* make money in blogging if one has an established reputation (esp. if one combines journalism and tech or politics) and *then* adds some friends to the mix. Group blogs create lots of content, and lots of content makes getting into search much, much easier (and gives readers a bit more to chew on) They end up functioning like small media companies--which is fine and how the group blogs you mention work. But for the general schmoe (such as you or me) who writes in a niche, and doesn't have 80 or more hours a week to devote to this thing, and isn't a bona fide "expert" in a particular field, it's seriously tough to create huge volumes sufficient, relavent, entertaining content that will draw in a sufficient number of readers to create good income. I don't know about you, Brian, but I really kinda like walking away from the computer several times during the day, and doing stuff like reading and talking to other people. So, it is what it is. I know that, for me, it's only a career supplement (or base--that's kind of new) and a great way of meeting interesting people.