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).
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.’