With the general resurgence in Internet-related commercial activity and speculation, it’s not surprising that a fair bit of attention has turned to the commercial and advertising possibilities of blogs. Blogging as a large-scale phenomenon came too late to cash in on the dotcom mania last time around, but plenty of people are keen on a bite at the cherry this time around. The multi-million dollar purchase of Weblogs Inc got lots of people thinking about how much their site might be worth.
But just like last time around, there are plenty of reasons for scepticism. Looking at the prices being charged by leading bloggers on Blogads, it doesn’t seem as if many people are making a lot of money. Nic Duquette did the sums and concluded that a site with 10 000 page views a day ought to be able to gross around $US4500 a year. Putting in 10 hours a week for this kind of return amounts to a wage of $US9 an hour, and that’s before you allow for any costs.
While I’ve been following the debate I noticed an Australian blogger who claims to be making $100 000 a year with a bunch of blogs, getting a total of 10 000 to 15 000 visitors per day. That’s massively better than the rates implied above, and (if correct) suggests the benefits to be had from exploiting the workings of Google.
Darren Rowse operates a site called Problogger and a string of commercial blogs. The most notable seems to be this one, which deals with digital photography. It’s not quite a splog, but I can’t imagine anyone wanting to read it on a regular basis.
The articles are almost all of the form “Site X has a review of Camera Y and writes …” There’s little or no analysis, and hardly any comments are posted. The other sites seem to be much the same.
From Rowse’s discussion, it looks as if most of his readers come via Google searches, and presumably a fair number of them leave by clicking an ad. Nice work if you can get it, but it’s hard to see what value is being added by the blog content.
Cutting to the chase, I don’t plan to put ads on this blog any time soon. The modest returns that appear to be available for a general blog like this one don’t justify the effort, potential problems and reduction in the quality of the blog for readers.
fn1. It seems likely that this is an overestimate, since his starting point was the assumption that Daily Kos pulls in $600 000 a year, and Kos says this is far too high.