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Pro Blogger of the Year

It is that time of the year where bloggers everywhere are giving awards so I thought I’d ask the question – who is the ‘Pro Blogger’ of the Year?

This may not be an official award but I’m interested in people’s opinions and thoughts. What blogger (not blog) would you give the award to? And why?

Would you give it to one of the high profile bloggers like Nick Denton, Brian Alvey or Jason Calacanis who are experimenting with models of earning money directly from blogs?

Perhaps it would be one of those crazy creative bloggers who truely sold themselves to blogging this year, Jeremy Wright or Darren Barefoot.

Or would you give it to someone who is enabling bloggers to earn a few dollars from their site like Henry Copeland from Blog ads or even a blogger who is working to provide a blogging tool like Anil Dash from Six Apart.

Or maybe you have someone like Doc Searls, Jason Kottke, Steve Rubel or Jeff Jarvis in mind.

Or maybe its one of the many emerging probloggers who are quietly going about their business without blowing their own trumpet.

Who would you nominate and Why? What categories would you have if you were giving problogger awards. Perhaps if there is a big enough response we’ll run an inaugural problogger award early in 2005.

Google Page Rank and Backlinks Update – Coming Soon

Are you waiting for the next page rank update from Google to move up their results page and bring you a flood of new traffic? (aren’t we all?) Well a little well places birdie told me last night that Google are getting close to an update – in fact a page rank update is scheduled for the days between Christmas and News Years and a backlinks update is scheduled for the first week of January (6th at this stage). Of course I’m not about to guarantee the dates – but my source generally knows what he’s talking about so I guess we’ll see in a couple of weeks.

Update – looks like my source was a little slow off the mark as the forums are alive with reports of an update currently under way with some saying they are seeing a big increase in traffic and others large losses. To this point we seem to be on the loss side but only time will tell. How is the update impacting your blog??

Blogs for Sale – How Much is Your Blog Worth?

One of the trends that I suspect we’ll see more of in 2005 and beyond is Blogs for Sale. This past year saw Jeremy Wright sell his blog which proved that its possible – but the question it leaves me wondering is – ‘How Much?’

How much would you sell your blog for? How would you determine the asking price?

I’ve done a bit of searching around on Google and so far haven’t found too much quality advice. So far the main opinion I’m seeing is that you either sell it based upon one or all of the following three characteristics:

1. Domain Name Value – If you’ve got yourself a highly sought after domain name you might be able to sell that alone – the buyer could scrap your site and build their own. In a sense this is like selling your home that is falling down knowing that the buyer will knock it down and build something else – they’re paying for the land. Domain name value can range incredibly – loans.com apparently sold for $3,000,000 for example….
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Doc Searls responds to Blogging for Money Criticism

Doc Searls has been on the receiving end of some criticism recently after some of what he said at BloggerCon and a quote that appeared in a recent Newsweek article on blogging. Today he posts a good post clarifying his postition on problogging:

‘So let me make this as clear as I can. I have nothing against making money with blogs. Hell, I’d love to make money with IT Garage, and I’m watching closely what Nick and Jason and Tony and Stowe are up to, because they’re among the leaders at figuring that out. Chris Nolan, too, as a stand-alone journalist. Also Dan Gillmor. Same are Doug Kaye, Marc Canter and too many others to name here, each in their own ways.

See, I think the future of periodical publishing, and of journalism itself, will be built mostly by individual bloggers and indivdidual blogs, and by a new breed of publishers who harvest and republish (and, yes, pay for) goods from the wide open ranges where bloggers roam, and post, free. The day will come when the top print publications will be comprised of prose and pictures provided by blogs and bloggers….

Meanwhile, I still think there’s more money being made because of blogs than with them. Problem is, I have no hard evidence for that. There also are not many people, besides myself and Dave Winer, who are interested in talking about it.’

Ok – I actually think that most of us are on the same page here. Whilst there are a few examples of bloggers writing off blogging directly for money as not being viable – I think its generally accepted that there are numerous examples of individuals or groups who are making a living from their blogs. Along side this I think we’re also seeing individuals and groups emerge who are making a living indirectly from blogging whether that be through consulting, blog design, blog services/tools or as a result of the credibility that they build through their blog in their area of expertise.

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Holiday Visits to Retail Sites Up 24 Percent

ClickZ reports that traffic continues to be up in online retail outlets which is a good sign for many probloggers who use affiliate programs to send their readers to such stores:

‘In another indication of the growth of advertising and retail opportunities online this holiday season, U.S. visits to shopping Web sites accounted for 9.7 percent of all Internet visits in the week ending December 11. That figure represents a 24.1 percent increase over the same time period in 2003, according to the latest Hitwise report.

But in targeting different retail sectors, the top three search engines appear to outperform their rivals in certain online niches, said Bill Tancer, vice president of research at Hitwise.’

Read more at Holiday Visits to Retail Sites Up 24 Percent Over 2003

Weblogs Inc revise 100 blogs in a year prediction

Jason Calacanis reflects upon the end of Weblogs Inc’s first year of blogging in which they had predicted started 100 blogs but in which they will actually start approximately 75. He writes:

‘However, the main reason for us not hitting 100 is that we decided to shift our strategy from niche blogs (i.e. scuba or cigars), and instead do bigger category blogs like Gadling (travel, with a scuba section) and Luxist (luxury, with a cigar section).’

Read more at Hitting 100 blogs in year one…

75 blogs or 100 blogs it has been a pretty impressive start from Weblogs Inc who are getting a real foothold on many valueable niches of the blogging market.

Blog Predictions for 2005

Already I’ve seen three articles with predictions for 2005 – expect a lot more! The best of those relating to Blogging today is from Pete Blackshaw from ClickZ who writes a number of insightful predictions including one on blogs which he says will ‘absorb flak, yet stay on track’:

‘Publishers, site managers, and even message board managers will embrace (or in some cases, begrudgingly capitulate to) RSS (define). Big brands and their sites will find the “add water and stir” nature of blog publishing tools irresistible. That will humble overpriced agencies that view platforms such as TypePad and Movable Type as more evil than outsourcing.’



Read more at Buzz-Informed Predictions for 2005

A Message of Hope for Depressed ProBloggers

Judging by my inbox this mornig it seems that my post examining whether contextual advertising is viable on a blog both inspired and depressed a few bloggers that had been thinking about running Adsense and Overture on their blogs.

In short what I was trying to show in the post was that making money from a blog through contextual advertising wasn’t quite as easy as some might think – but that under the right circumstances you could make quite a lot of money using it.

In doing so I posted some tables that outlined a variety of scenarios and how much bloggers could earn.

For example:

- a site with 2,000 daily impressions and a click through rate (CTR) of 1% and 5 cent ads would earn $1 per day
- a site with 10,000 daily impressions at 2% CTR with 10 cent ads earns $20 per day
- a site with 10,000 daily impressions at 5% CTR with 50 cent ads earns $250 per day

The variety of combinations are limitless – check out the tables in this post for more on this.

Ok – so it seems that some who emailed me were a little depressed by these figures. At the lower end of the spectrum, say $5 – $20 per day isn’t much is it!? True – its not. But let me share a messages from my experience that might give a little hope.

1. Blogging is a 7 days per week venture – Most traditional jobs are 5 days a week. When I first started blogging for dollars it took a while to get in the habit of not multiplying my daily earnings by 5. $20 per day is $140 per week or $600 in a 30 day month – or $7300 in a year….
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The Alpha Bloggers

Newsweek has an interesting article this week on the Alpha Bloggers (A list bloggers) – There is nothing too new in it although I was interested in this last paragraph – complete with a typical Doc Searls back hander swipe at a Probloggers.

‘And what do the alpha bloggers get in return? Certainly not riches. Though it’s possible to pick up a few hundred dollars if you enlist in the program that carries Google’s ad on your site, many A-listers don’t bother. “If you’re into blogs to make money, you’re into it for the wrong reasons,” says Searls. “Do you ask your back porch what its business plan is?” On the other hand, some alpha bloggers report better jobs, more lucrative consulting, speaking gigs and—if not groupies—a certain bit of glamour that comes from having people hang on your every word at the end-of-day reception at a tech conference.’

Call me stupid – but this is the second or third time I’ve heard the ‘back porch’ comment – and I’m still trying to work out what its Doc is on about.

Whilst I agree that blogging is so much more than making money – I don’t have an issue with people commercializing their blogs or even having making money as a motivating force for blogging. To me I look at it similarly to the way I see news papers, magazine and other traditional forms of media – most of which these days must have some way of sustaining themselves. Of course there are other motivations for starting newspapers and magazines – but we don’t complain that they are commercial also. Anyway – I think the debate about problogging is getting a bit old. Each to their own I say – lets just get on with blogging.

Read more of this article at MSNBC – The Alpha Bloggers