BloggerCon: Bloggers and money

John Palfrey from the Berkman Center at the Harvard Law School led a discussion about how to making money through blogging. Here is his lead in to the topic:If you are a blogger, how do you go about making some money from your work?
Written by Dan Farber, Inactive

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John Palfrey from the Berkman Center at the Harvard Law School led a discussion about how to making money through blogging. Here is his lead in to the topic:

If you are a blogger, how do you go about making some money from your work? One obvious answer is the classic approach of throwing BlogAds or Google ads or whathaveyou ads on your blog. That works for some people, but it generates more than beer money only for a select few at the left-hand side of that famous power law distribution. Some, like Mike Arrington at TechCrunch, have added premium sponsorships to the mix; then again, Mike’s plainly in the select few. Others contend that a blog is itself an advertisement. You don’t make money on the blog itself, but rather you make money on other things (as in the artist who gives away his or her content on a p2p service and makes money on other things to pay the rent). I trust that we’ll kick around these ideas, but also get into some new possibilities: shouldn’t really simple syndication allow for some new thinking around getting people to pay for the content you create? And are there ways for bloggers themselves to get on the bandwagon of making some of the money that the venture guys are planning to make? How could that work, exactly? Put another away: lots of people have spent lots of digital ink (sound and images too) on the general problem of “how do you monetize the long tail?” 

The extraordinary Docnography notes document the session, and we have a downloadable podcast of the session available.


John Palfrey leads the bloggers and money session

Chris Pirillo of Lockergnome said making money on blogging is about branding, and leveraging your personal brand. Many bloggers make money through sponsorships on blogs and podcasts, as well as from consulting and events, based on the visibility they have from their blogs. Affiliate programs suck--forget about Amazon.com links. Cost per click like AdSense, but there is a certain art to it...and most bloggers to grok it. Rex Hammock agrees with Chris that branding is critical, creating trust and authority in the niche you target.


Lance Knobel and Chris Pirillo, the brand 


Toni Schneider of Word Press (Automattic) said he sees a whole range of opportunities for making money, but blogging should be about writing, not about making money primarily. When you start to let that happen it starts to look like link and spam blogs, he said. When a blog has a big audience and lots of traffic you can have interesting ways to make money, he added. Bloggers can be more financially successful by selectively choosing ads to target the audience, not just relying on AdSense type targeting. He doesn't recommend putting ads in RSS feeds.


 Toni Schneider of Automattic said blogging should be about writing, not money...which makes sense if you believe that great blogging/writing will lead to a way to pay for the habit

Terry Heaton said that there is no formula, and blogger should be open and experiment with business models. Elisa Camahort disagreed with the 'just experiment' strategy, and said you have to have a plan and a strategy. "There is nothing intrinsically evil about that," she said.


  Rex Hammock, Terry Heaton and Lance Knobel 


Susan Mernit said the emerging blogging economy would be powered by bloggers making niche recommendations, taking the traditional magazine model of editor's recommending products in a completely transparent way, and making money when people act on a blogger's recommendation.



Susan Mernit and Lisa Williams talk about blogging and making money

Toni Schneider said that the blogging community is good at helping each other how to blog, but when it comes to making money their is a big silence. People are looking for the magic bullet to make money in blogging. Blogging is so diverse, there are many ways to make money. Many people don't want to share ideas about how they make money, Tony said.

Jake Ludington, Ultimately the focus should be on building relationships and trust.  


  Jake Ludington, podcast master

I asked why people aren't willing to pay for consuming blog content. If a blog has 50,000 readers and gets $10 a year from those readers, do the the math. Lance Knobel noted that people have been funded through tip jars to support special projects.

Lisa Williams: If you have a local blog will never make money on Google ads or other network. the market encourages blogs that are keyword friendly like engadget to be profitable.

Jake Ludington suggested BlogAds as a solution.

Jay Rosen said that there is a band of advertisers, local business who aren't big enough to advertise in the local newspapers, but would advertise if it were easy in local blogs. Nobody has made it easy to target those businesses, he said. In discussing a local blog in Ohio developed by Weblogs Inc. (AOL), Jay said that it doesn't have same truth value as ones' that just arise.

Several minutes were spent on examples of where hyper-local blogging is working.

How are you making money is about like asking how media power is shifting, said Eric Herz.

Terry Heaton told about a barbecue restaurant owned by a blogger and how the local bloggers are supporting the restaurant.

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