Practical Technology

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The Real State of the Blogosphere

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Technorati , perhaps the best site that tracks blogs, has just issued a new report on what’s what with the wild wonderful world of blogs: Technorati’s State of the Blogosphere 2008 report. There’s some interesting material here, but don’t trust the overview materials. Look at the numbers instead.

The most glaring example this is the section called: Blogs are Profitable. It reads: “The majority of bloggers we surveyed currently have advertising on their blogs. Among those with advertising, the mean annual investment in their blog is $1,800, but it’s paying off. The mean annual revenue is $6,000 with $75K+ in revenue for those with 100,000 or more unique visitors per month. Note: median investment and revenue (which is listed below) is significantly lower. They are also earning CPMs (cost-per-thousand impressions).”

Sounds good at first doesn’t it? Make money with blogs! Yea! Take a look at the report’s real numbers. The median annual income is $200. That sure doesn’t sound profitable to me.

These are also self-reported numbers, so I would expect the income numbers are inflated. I’ve touched 100K unique visitors from time to time at Practical Technology. I can assure you that I am not making anything like $75K in annual revenue from my site. I’d be delighted if I made $7.5K in revenue from it.

At that, I’m doing extremely well. I have a Technorati authority—the number of other blogs that has linked to a Website during the previous six months, well over 50. Some of my Practical Technology stories make it to the front page of Digg. Counting my stories I link in from my publishers, such as ComputerWorld, CIO, NewsForge, etc. there’s at least one new story on the blog every day of the week. And, I’m a relatively well known technology and business writer with a 20-year track record so a lot of people know my work and follow it.

In short, for someone who isn’t a big-time blog star, I’m doing about as well as you can do In terms of making money, and, that’s not very well at all. I do a blog so I can write stories that I feel strongly about that I can’t cover elsewhere. I write a blog so I can cover topics, like HDTV, media extenders like the Apple TV and other video issues, that I don’t have another venue for. I do it because I have fun writing it. I don’t do it to make a living.

The real conclusion from the data is that if you treat blogging as a job rather than as a hobby–or as a way to promote and supplement your other writing work, which is what I do–it’s a thankless job. You can easily make more money by working at the fast-food joint of your choice.

If you love writing about a subject that you love, go for it. If you think you’re going to get rich, or even make a living from it, well… have you considered buying lottery tickets? The odds are probably a bit better.