Paid Content has a good Round-up of MSNs launch into Blogging. Maybe I’m just overly tired after a big week at conferences but I’m over all the writing about it. I’m not sure how much impact MSN will have upon blogging – at least in the short term.
Just found a site for the 2005 Australian Blogging Conference. Not much in the way of details of a time and place yet – except to say that it will be in Melbourne sometime in February 2005. Suits me fine as that is my home city and apart from two days February is looking very empty in my diary so far!
I’ll be interested to see how it all unfolds in terms of content, turn out and its success.
In stark contrast to the last post, Jasen Dowdell at marketing shift predicts that Bloggers will start to get more and more attention from Ad agencies. He predicts:
‘- Ad agencies will seek out A-List bloggers who have strong relationships with other A-List bloggers to head up their blog placement departments.
- Someone will step up and create a blog taxonomy that shows the key players in specific blog verticals. This will identify the “people to know” if you want to succeed with your blog pr campaign.
- Large PR Firms and Ad Agencies will spin off subsidiaries dedicated to blogs to increase their relationship with bloggers and appear to be experts in blog product placement and blog pr.
- Blogs will continue to increase their focus on specific areas whether these are niche verticals or niche subject areas.’
Read more of this interesting (and hopeful) article at Monetizing Blogs
Steve Smith from EContent writes that there will be no dollars in blogging in 2005 for bloggers or networks (like Gawker and Weblogs Inc) who are directly blogging. He writes:
‘The wild and wooly blogosphere itself will not make money for many, including blog networks like Gawker Media and Weblogs Inc. Nevertheless, blogs are already proving to be powerful audience retention devices for known media brands. Some B2B sites report that up to 10% of daily traffic now goes to columnist blogs. Blogging is less a business model than a thoroughly compelling communications model that keeps users coming back two and three times a day more effectively than standard content refreshes. Accept it and get sponsors for it.’
This is the second such article I’ve seen arguing this this week (the first was here).
Once again I wonder if Steve is perhaps being a little short sighted with this statement. I acknowledge he says this approach will not make money for many – leaving things open for a select few to make money blogging – but I would argue that quite a few have already stumbled upon formulas for making money directly from blogging and that 2005 will see the number of those making a living directly from the medium explode – likewise I predict that we’ll see those already taking this approach start to earn some very big money. In fact I think 2005 will see a number of bloggers earning $1 million and over. If they’re smart they will probably keep these figures to themselves – but it will happen – if not next year it will happen in 2006 for sure.
As I talk to pro-bloggers and reflect upon my own experience in two short years I’ve noticed that the trend is a for a very slow start to levels of earnings – but that there comes a tipping point where the growth becomes exponential. Most bloggers exploring the income side of blogging give up before the tipping point however and never see the reward for their efforts. Of course it is not just a matter of time and patience – it takes some smarts, hard work and a little luck along the way.
Update: Steve Rubel spotted this same article and has a few things to say on the topic also. I particularly agree with his observation about the lack of overheads for bloggers. My biggest overhead is my own time. The opportunity cost of me putting my time into another job or business is significant because I choose to blog virtually full time – however apart from this I have virtually no expenses apart from a small ISP, hostings, design and home office costs.
Update: Wayne at Blog Business World has also entered the discussion and writes – ‘As blogs become more deeply entrenched, within both the mainstream media and the mainstream consciousness, money will flow naturally in their direction. If other companies discover the power of blogs, as an advertising vehicle that returns highly targeted buyers, you can be absolutely certain that savvy marketers will put their cash into blogs.’
American Roulette is an interesting case study of a blogger using the medium to make a few dollars. Its written by a ‘professional casino cheater’ who gives thoughts on casinos and gambling. The site isn’t highly monetized at this point – Income streams so far seem limited to Amazon affiliateship and another affiliate program – but if he can get his traffic to a high level with a topic like this he could be making some serious money.
Interesting concept – its a quirky enough topic that its likely to get some interesting link ups like it did today from Boing Boing.
JenSense will be a blog to watch if you’re using Adsense as it is run by ‘Jenstar’ who is a legend in Adsense forums where she is a moderator and guru. I’m putting this on in my RSS tracker as we speak – sure to be some useful tidbits in this one for all of us using Adsense – whether old hands or newbies.
Clickz reports that ‘Online Retail Traffic was up on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday – ‘The market share of U.S. visits to the online shopping category was up 27 percent this Thanksgiving Day over Thanksgiving Day last year. Shopping visits on Black Friday this year were up 24 percent over figures for Black Friday a year ago.’
This is no surprise to me as I have done a bit of an informal survey of my problogging friends via MSN the last couple of days and found that most of them report increases in earnings from affiliates and contextual advertising over the last week – including Thursday and Friday. Those who especially saw gains were those blogging about consumer products. Whilst traffic on personal and political topics was down for most – those with a topic mix focusing on electronics, toys and other gift ideas have found their traffic and income stream surging in the past week.
‘Online advertising grew 2.5 times as fast as overall U.S. advertising in the first three quarters of 2004, according to data released by TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.
Online advertising in the U.S. totaled $5.59 billion for the first three quarters of this year, up 25.8 percent over the $4.45 billion measured over the same time period in 2003. That growth was well ahead of the year-over-year increase of 10.3 percent in overall U.S. ad spending to $102.47 billion from January through September, from the $92.90 billion spent in the same time period in 2003. The figures come amid other signs of stabilization within the online advertising market in recent weeks….’
Read more at Studies: Price Rise Fuels Online Ad Increase
Richard Zwicky writes that ‘Blogs are Diamonds in the Rough
Blogs are a potential diamond in the rough for your businesses marketing effots. The material posted on an ongoing basis to blogs are a veritable gold mine of insights for readers, provided by business leaders, market leaders, innovators, philosophers, marketers, political commentators, and many other opinion makers who never before have enjoyed such easy access to a simple and unmoderated public forum in which to share their opinions, ideas and insights….’
John Taylor writes on the topic of keeping your reader in mind as you blog….
It doesn’t matter what kind of web site you have you must understand your target audience and know what it is that they want. Please notice that I used the word want and not the word need. There is a world of difference between wants and needs. For example you might need a means of getting from A to B and almost any vehicle would fulfil that need; but what you really want is a top of the range BMW!
I write my blog with just one person in mind. In my minds eye I have come to know that person intimately, I understand his goals, his dreams and his aspirations and I know the things that really interests him. He is my ideal reader, he soaks up every word and he clicks every link I include in each blog post.