Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Don't believe the blog hype!

Somebody's lying to the Wall Street Journal:
It takes about 100,000 unique visitors a month to generate an income of $75,000 a year. Bloggers can get $75 to $200 for a good post, and some even serve as "spokesbloggers" -- paid by advertisers to blog about products.
What a load of crap. Once again, the media can't get the basic facts right. I average more than 100,000 visits per month and anybody who thinks that generates $75,000 a year is delusional. As for this "$75 to $200 for a good post" -- Heh! Maybe Jane Hamsher expects that kind of money. Or maybe Harvard boy Ross Douthat.

This WSJ nonsense about $75,000 a year is almost a rumor too good to deny., but I'll deny it anyway, because it could hurt my business. Most of my blog income comes from people hitting the tip jar, which you should do immediately.

Otherwise I might be tempted to sell out. But that would require a willing buyer, and so far my promotional work as "unofficial spokesblogger" for Corona Beer isn't a paying gig. But if you'll just click that bottle, maybe . . .

UPDATE: Jeff Jarvis: "He says that bloggers with 100,000 readers a month are making $75k. Name a few." And buy that man a Corona!

UPDATE II: Pat in Shreveport: "That's why he gets the big bucks." No, they give the big bucks to Ross Douthat. Because he's so witty and insightful, we laugh at the mere mention of his name. Har. Har har har.

UPDATE III: James Joyner at Outside the Beltway:
I'm quite dubious of these figures. They are likely self-reported and inflated. $75,000 a year is $6250 a month. Who is it that's getting paid $6.50 per thousand visits? At that rate, Andrew Sullivan and Glenn Reynolds, who average around 4.3 million and 10 million monthly uniques, should be atop the Forbes 500.
Joyner's got a Ph.D., so he's got those def math skilz. Buy that man a Corona!

UPDATE IV: Another professorial blogger, Donald Douglas, says he ain't ready to quit teaching merely because he's raking in the sweet blog-o-bucks.

UPDATE V: Little Miss Attila is rattling her tip jar, too. She talks about a recent dearth of advertising income, but at least she's in BlogAds, a network that won't even allow me to join. So instead I'm doing G*o*o*g*l*e A*d*s*e*n*s*e (you're not actually supposed to mention it on your blog) which threw me a whopping $153.25 for 243,000 page impressions in March.

Maybe Dr. Joyner (who's also a member of the BlogAds network I'm not allowed to join) can do the math and tell me how many page impressions per month I'd have to get in order to gross $75,000 a year from Google. Short answer: A freaking lot.

UPDATE VI: Linked by The Anchoress, who's got more traffic than me and ain't even close to $75K/yr. And I'm not linked by Megan McArdle, who's probably getting paid at least $75K/yr. by The Atlantic Monthly, but only a fraction of what Ross Douthat (who never linked me, either) is being paid since leaving the Atlantic for the New York Times.

The way I see it, there are two kinds of bloggers in the world: Bloggers who link me, and assholes.

UPDATE VII: Linked by Rusty Shackleford, who is not an asshole:
The Jawa Report gets over 100,000 hits every 3 - 4 days. It averages out to about 750,000 hits a month or about 9 million hits a year.
So by that math I should be making like $500,000 a year from this thing.
I actually felt kind of guilty for making some money last year from blogging since so much of the content of the Jawa is written by others. Pajamas Media, I thought, was a pretty sweet deal. But it was nowhere near what it needed to be for me to quit my day job.
Seriously, nowhere even close. Not even in the ballpark. Think minimum wage.
Blogging works best, it seems to me, as a promotional medium. That is to say, it's a good way to call attention to something: A news story, a video, an event, or photographic evidence that Miss California's had a boob job.

While it is possible to use a blog as a venue for long-form writing (and all the updates are turning this post into a War and Peace), the key function of a news/politics blog is as an aggregator -- link, link, link. To that basic work of aggregation, you then add your own personality or specialized knowledge.

Since no two people have exactly the same set of interests, no two blogs will have the same linkage. Ergo, from the reader's perspective, the key to getting the maximum value from the blogosphere is to identify a small number of blogs that share your general interests and then following their links. Your favorite bloggers thereby function as intake funnels that pre-select and present information.

From the blogger's perspective, it helps to have some (more lucrative) service or product that you can promote through your blog. If you're a journalist, an author, a political consultant, a radio talk-show host, or the idiot daughter of a failed presidential candidate, blogging can function as a way to establish your "brand" and promote your work in an interactive format.

Given this dual nature of the 'sphere -- blogging as promotion and blogging as aggregation -- some people will gain far more from its non-monetary benefits than from direct income. It's a way to "get your name out there," or to get your ideas "out there," and so you're willing to overlook the fact that blogging per se is not particularly lucrative.


  1. Well, jeez, I make more than $75K a year.

    Oh... you mean from blogging?

    Oh, well, I don't like Corona anyway.

  2. Got you linked, Stacy!

    I'm not quitting my teaching job anytime soon. Hey Pat, I do do it for the money!

  3. Man, you start gettin' the hits and you go highbrow on us, switchin' to Corona. What happened to your ostentatiously unpretentious Budweisers?

  4. What happened to your ostentatiously unpretentious Budweisers?It's the lime, man. That's how I get my Vitamin C nowadays. Otherwise, I'd die from scurvy.

  5. I'm a blogger who makes more than $75k a year. Of course, not all of it is from blogging.

    Okay, okay, none of it is from blogging.

  6. Corona isn't beer. It's stale urine. Three things ruin beer; light, heat, and exposure to air. Corona's clear bottles - name any, ANY good beer in a clear bottle - break rule number 1. That's why every bottle is marketed with a slice of lime; the Corona on its own tastes awful.

    To 'The Other McCain' public: drink Corona if you must, but only do so while you're already wasted, otherwise you'll slowly destroy you're finely tuned palate.

  7. Last month I got my first ever check for blogging. I'm proud to say that six months of blogging activity very nearly paid for my electric bill. I should hit that $75000 mark sometime before the third millennium.

  8. Let's see if I can extrapolate 100k/month to my somewhat lower figure:

    200/day -> 6000/month -> $375/month

    Umm, yeah. I'd take that in a heartbeat. Probably a good thing that I have a day job.

  9. I have to agree with the Anonymous Coward about Coronas. Save your hard-earned shekels, R.S.; go back to Budweiser, and spend the money you save on a BOGO vitamin deal down at the local CVS.

  10. My good sir,

    It is Tuesday. You know what you have to do, and you won't get paid until you do it!

  11. Wow. I haven't heard a Pink Flamingos quote in years.

  12. G*A* is like Fight Club. You get in trouble if you tell people to click the links. You get in trouble if you tell people not to click the links. I wish they'd make up their freaking minds.

    As for BlogAds, I tried a few times to get into that thing -- they never responded. Even a cruel rejection notice would have been less painful. To.. someone who... could feel pain. So I've heard.

  13. What's the story on BlogAds? You just need a sponsor? I can do that. If you're violating something in their TOS I'm unaware of, not much I can do.

  14. If your Jane hamsher you think you should get $150,000


  15. James said...
    What's the story on BlogAds? You just need a sponsor? I can do that.

    Apparently not, James. Already had one guy offer to sponsor me, contacted BlogAds, and they never responded. They're apparently no longer interested in adding new blogs to their network. Besides which, with the online ad slump, you'll notice a lot of BlogAds spaces are just sitting empty now.

  16. @ Anonymous re: Beer

    You are totally right. Corona = horse piss.

    Spaten Optimator is my personal favorite but some of the Sam Adams seasonals are nice - Oktoberfest is a good one.

    I speak beer.

    I will never make enough $$ blogging to support my beer habit.

    Unless I go to work for the government.

  17. I actually own www.bloggersforhire.com and have been doing this business for 4 years and none of my bloggers let alone myself are making that kind of money.

  18. "The way I see it, there are two kinds of bloggers in the world: Bloggers who link me, and assholes."

    Whew. I'm not an asshole.

    Well, maybe I am. But for different reasons, at least.

    Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. And I did work for the government. The benefits are nice, but the pay, not so much.

    Of course I was an enlisted squid. I've heard the whole professional whor - eh, Politician - gig is much more lucrative.

  19. The Wall Street Journal Article was careless with its source, which is

    The $75,000 number comes from this:

    “Among active bloggers that we surveyed, the average income was $75,000 for those who had 100,000 or more unique visitors per month (some of whom had more than one million visitors each month). The median annual income for this group is significantly lower — $22,000.”

    The huge difference between median and average says that there are a few very high numbers out there. It also says that if you are getting “only” 100,000 unique visitors per month, you will be getting a lot less than $22,000 since that is the median of all those getting 100000 or more uniques per month. Half of them are getting less than that amount.