Little Green Footballs

Saturday, August 20, 2005


Hog on Ice has a reality check on the issue of earning a living from blogging.

Bottom line: If you aren't already, you probably never will. (Emphasis added.)

I heard a rumor that [Pajamas Media] are offering some bloggers three figures a month to sign up. There's nothing wrong with three (low) figures a month. It's beer money. It's what a good blogger would earn from Google ads and BlogAds. It's nothing to sneeze at. On the other hand, it won't change your life, and you can't live on it.


As a blogger, you probably bust your ass to get a hundred hits per day. I'm only getting four thousand visits per day on my two sites (combined), and I'm one of the lucky ones. I'll never make money at this. Allah earned peanuts when he had almost ten times this much traffic. You really have to be in the blogging stratosphere to earn any money as a blogger. [...]

The more I think about it, the more I realize that blogging is over, as a means of putting yourself in a position to earn money. Even if your work is better than the stuff that appears in newspapers and books and magazines, no one will "discover" you and beg you to write for big money. Life doesn't work that way. You have to "discover" yourself and get in people's faces until someone agrees to publish you. So far, the best money-making opportunities that have presented themselves (since the glory days when any moron could get 10,000 hits per day just by showing up) have been Google ads, BlogAds, and PJM. And look what PJM is offering. Enough money to take your girlfriend to one good dinner per month.

If you write a crappy article once a month, and you get your articles published in crappy local magazines, you'll make several times what you would make blogging every day for PJM or for Google or BlogAd money. If you get published in the national press, you can make an actual living.

Obviously, if you want to make money writing, the smart move is to focus on getting things printed. You aren't going to get anywhere just by blogging. Use your blog to make contacts, sure, but forget about using it to generate income.

If you want to make money online, writing isn't the way to go. You need to find a way to get huge traffic without busting your hump every day. Or you can start a company and convince other bloggers to put up your ads, which is what PJM is doing.

The Internet is a dead end for most of us. The Internet is clogged with bad little blogs, and it's very hard to get noticed. People who are aggressive and sharp and highly knowledgeable about business can start web enterprises and make money, but most of us aren't like that. A few of us have managed to generate tremendous blog traffic, but they got where they are by starting before the rest of us. And a first wave only occurs once. Trying to get blog traffic today is like trying to buy Dell Computer for a dollar a share. You already missed your chance. The fat cats are already fat, and it is extremely difficult to push your way past them and get to the food bowl. I think PJM will just make them fatter, without producing much benefit for its members.

If you want to make money writing, write. And try to sell it to real publications. If you want to make money on the web, forget writing. Try to come up with a brilliant idea that will get you reliable traffic without undue exertion. Sign up for BlogAds and Google Ads and PJM ads to get beer money--IF you're one of the lucky few who get enough traffic to make it pay--but you know what they say: don't quit your day job.

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why blogging will always (except for a very select few) be an amateur proposition. Not that there's anything wrong with that -- "amateur" is derived from the Latin for "love," after all -- but those who really think that with enough perseverance and snark, and a sufficiently well-chosen blogroll, they'll become the next Reynolds or Zuniga or Johnson or Black -- are simply deluding themselves.

Blogging for profit isn't the next big thing -- it's the last big thing. And the day when the pajamahadeen will supplant the eeeevil MSM seems farther away than ever.

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