update: How to blogs earn money? For more information on this topic check out ProBlogger the Book.
Yesterday I spent the afternoon wading through some of the most highly visited blogs going around at Sitemeter statistics. I quite often head over there to keep track of who is doing what. Whilst it doesn’t track all blogs it does give you a hint at what blogs people are reading in terms of topic.which ranks those blogs with
Today I was surfing through the top 30 of these blogs and I started to keep track of how many of them have some sort of income stream (whether it be ads, affiliate programs, donation buttons, merchandise for sale etc). I did the same exercise informally about 12 months ago and found that just over half of the top blogs had income streams. This year I found that things have changed – the Blogosphere is becoming more commercial (or at least the most highly visited blogs are). I’ll outline what each of the top 30 are doing to earn an income below – but let me first share some initial findings:
- All blogs in the top 30 have an income stream. Only one blog had no advertising or affiliate programs (it did have a donation button though).
- The most popular Income Stream on these Blogs is BlogAds – 23 of the top 30 have them.
- The next most popular income streams were donation buttons and Amazon links (mainly to books).
- Also popular were AdBrite text ads.
- Only 8 of these blogs use Adsense.
There are plenty of other observations to be made from what I found but I’ll let you chew over them a little and make your own remarks below in comments. Here are the notes I took on each of the top 30 blogs in the list:
One note of explanation – I deleted two of the blogs listed indue to them being duplicated in the list. The numbers below are their daily visitors (averaged from their last 7 days traffic).
1) Daily Kos – 443841 visits/day – Runs Blog Ads (15 currently running) ranging in price from $13000 per month for the premium position down to the classified position at $500 per month)
2) Gizmodo – 175706 visits/day – Runs a variety of Ads including an Affiliate program with CNET, a variety of private sponsorships and button ads, text ads using AdBrite ($400 per four week campaign). They also run Adsense ads on individual and category pages. Details on their Advertising Rates.
3) Instapundit.com – 129981 visits/day – Runs BlogAds (8 ads currently showing) – ranging in price from 6000 per month for the Patron Position to Classified $500 per month. They also have a Donation Button and Amazon affiliate links.
4) Gawker – 104460 visits/day – Runs a variety of sponsorship/banner and affiliate ads (CNET again). They also have AdBrite text ads available at a cost of $600 per 4 week campaign. More information on their Ad packaages.
5) Eschaton – 103837 visits/day – Running BlogAds (currently with 8) which range in price from $2500 per month down to $100 for a classified ad. They also include a donate button and see to be running an affiliate program with a book store.
6) Defamer – 91942 visits/day – Similar to the above Gawker blogs with CNET affiliate program, banner ads, text ads with AdBrite ($450 per four week campaign). More on their ad packages.
7) lgf: journey heaven is a funky moose – 82475 visits/day – Blog ads (currently running 10) which range in price from $2750 per month for the premium spot down to $800 for a second tier ad). They are also running ads and have options for donations.
8) Power Line – 62304 visits/day – Blog ads (currently running 11) which range in price from $1400 down to $450 per month. They also have an ad for an insurance company (could be CPM or could be affiliate ad). Lastly they have a store which sells merchandise (t-shirts, cups, caps etc).
9) Wonkette – 54963 visits/day – Similar deal here to the other Gawker Blogs with the exception of some BlogAds (currently running 10) ranging in price from $1700 per month down to $650 per month). Their AdBrite text ads are $150 for 4 weeks. They also sell Wonkette T-Shirts. More details on their ad packages.
10) www.AndrewSullivan.com – Daily Dish – 48804 visits/day – BlogAds (3 currently running) range from $3200 down to $250 for 4 weeks. Andrew also runs Adsense ads on a few pages, with a few Amazon affiliate ads and runs a successful ‘Tipping Point’ donations campaign.
11) Michelle Malkin – 45661 visits/day – Also runs BlogAds (six at present) ranging in price from $1900 to $650 per month.
12) The Smirking Chimp – 41947 visits/day – Runs BlogAds (2 at present) at a cost of $425 per month. They also run some amazon affiliate ads and a merchandise store.
13) The Washington Monthly – 41482 visits/day – BlogAds (4 of them today) cost $395 per month. They also have affiliate links for Amazon, Adsense ads and a Donate button. You can of course also subscribe to the print edition.
14) Go Fug Yourself – 38742 visits/day – BlogAds (7 of them) cost $275 per month). They also sell t-shirts.
15) Blog for America – 33746 visits/day – No ads that I can see – but you can make a contribution/donation.
16) HughHewitt.com – 26517 visits/day – Currently 5 BlogAds running – the cost of which is $1000 per month. You can also buy Hugh’s book via an affiliate link on the sidebar where he has a few other books linked to also. There is also a site sponsor banner ad and a tip/donation button.
17) Captain’s Quarters – 20817 visits/day – BlogAds (currently 23) cost between $200 for premium ads to $125 for second tier ads per month. They also have affiliate links (amazon) in their sidebar as well as a donation button.
18) Lifehacker – 19185 visits/day – Similar to other Gawker Blogs with a range of banner ads (some served by double click – impression based I guess). Details of their advertising.
19) Blogcritics.org – 16078 visits/day – This blog focuses heavily upon Amazon affiliate links (they are in every post). They also have 3 BlogAds ads at ranging from $700 to $210 per month. There are also a few other affiliate program ads scattered around their blog.
20) Wizbang – 15379 visits/day – BlogAds (2 at present) ranging in price from $500 to $100 per month. They also have a text link or two on the sidebar through AdBrite ($150 per 4 week campaign) as well as amazon affiliate links to books.
21) washingtonpost.com – White House Briefing – 15125 visits/day – Has a variety of ads including banner ads and text ads run via a number of systems including Overture, doubleclick etc.
22) The Volokh Conspiracy – 14337 visits/day – Runs a DoubleClick campaign at the top of its sidebar as well as a donation button.
23) Kim du Toit – Daily Rant – 14179 visits/day – BlogAds (currently 4) cost $140 per month. They also accept donations via PayPal.
24) PoliPundit.com – 14025 visits/day – BlogAds (currently 8) range from $280 to $140. They also run Adsense ads in their sidebar and some sort of impression based ad or affiliate program on individual pages under posts.
25) MyDD – 13964 visits/day – Blog Ads here cost $500 for premium ads and $100 for classifieds per month – they currently have two running.
26) Drudge Retort: Red Meat for Yellow Dogs – 13667 visits/day – This blog runs a variety of ads including Adsense Ads across the top of their blog and BlogAds (currently 3) which cost $200 per month.
27) Roger L. Simon: Mystery Novelist and Screenwriter – 13388 visits/day – Roger runs BlogAds (currently 3) which cost between $800 and $300 per month. He also has Adsense ads in his sidebar and affiliate links to his books as well as a donate paypal button.
28) Matthew Yglesias – 13353 visits/day – BlogAds here as well (currently 6) ranging in price from $220 to $130.
29) Crooks and Liars 12933 visits/day – BlogAds here (3 at present) cost between $230 and $75 for a month campaign. They also run Adsense Ads in the side bar, accept donations
30) – 12518 visits/day – The most prominant ads here are Adsense ads on all pages. There are also Adsense Adlinks and is a Adsense Search Bar. There are also Amazon affiliate programs, BlogAds (2) at $107 per month, text links from $49 per month and other affiliate programs.
Ok – I spent too much time on this today so I’ll stop now. I’ve got a few more observations and reflections to make – but I’ll open it up for some discussion first. What strikes you about these blogs? Looking forward to your comments below in comments.
Update: I’ve written a second piece on a few more of my reflections on this little study here.