It’s no secret I believe bloggers should be free to earn a living at their craft…
Which is why it bugs me when someone questions my right to mix a relatively miniscule volume of features or content with a blended commercial intent into what I do here.
Warning: Rant ahead!
I’ve said it in my recent posts on the NY Times putting up a paywall, bloggers getting paid for their content, my take on the errant ways of the free brigade and plenty of other posts. My friend, Dave Navarro has killer post up called, When Free Gets Ugly, on the topic.
We’re not here out of the kindness of our hearts.
Yes, we love to create valuable content and conversations. Most of us come alive through the opportunity to make an impact. But, it also takes a substantial amount of time, energy and passion.
And, most of us are also really fond of paying our bills and honoring our responsibilities to ourselves and our families.
So, I’ll say it one more time…
Online or offline, someone in the chain of creation and/or consumption always pays.
There is no free, only the perception of free…because somebody else is paying.
In the newspaper and magazine worlds, the readers pay part and the sponsors and advertisers pay part. Sometimes it works, other times not.
In the blogosphere, which has grown out of the ethic of free, for years it was just assumed the blogger would pay. Always with their time and often with their own money and lost opportunity costs. But, then folks, readers like you, started to realize that creating consistent high value content, conversations and experiences takes a boatload of work. Work worthy of compensation (well, sometimes, lol).
Still, bloggers have been VERY hesitant to charge readers for the right to engage with their content.
So, instead, they’ve…
Developed ways to fund their efforts that don’t require revenue from readers.
Some put up adsense ads, others put up banners, still others accept money up front for posting reviews. Some use blogs to build a platform, a community that then fuels indirect or “off-blog” revenue like consulting, events and paid content offerings and solutions. That’s my main revenue model for this blog.
Yes, I confess, I don’t just do it for the love of people and pixels.
And, it’s why I offer a variety of ways join the community and even nudge people toward email with prompts at the end of my posts and a subscription lightbox that’s been specially scripted to be friendlier to a blog-community, only show once and, even then, not until you’re done reading a post (fyi-we’re currently fixing a setting that unintentionally made it show at other times),
Still others try out services and products and, if they find genuine value in them, become affiliates and pass on their honest opinions and experiences. On occasion, I do that, too. It’s an itty bitty part of the thousands of hours a year I put into sharing with this amazing community. And, it’s an itty bitty part of how I make money with this blog.
Non-hobby bloggers spend an insane amount of time creating content and conversations.
Nobody’s forcing us to do it, we LOVE doing it.
But, it’s an effort we could never sustain were we to go all purist and say, “I’m not worthy of remuneration…FROM SOMEONE.” Because, for most, time spent blogging is time taken away from other projects, ventures or jobs that would bring in income. So, I’m good with the fact that, over the last few years, a growing array of vehicles, strategies and opportunities that allow companies and individuals to support bloggers have evolved.
I don’t hide that, in fact, I pretty much evangelize it.
And, if anyone has trouble with idea of bloggers adding a modicum of commerciality to our blogs in an effort to put food on the table for our families, while also serving up a large volume of genuine value…I’m happy to receive a check in the mail instead.
Oh, and for the 99.99% of you who get it, who show up, write us bloggers the most wonderful emails, share your thoughts and ideas and tolerate our wacky desire to in some way leave you in a better place, while putting earning a living…
…you blow us away and honor us with the gift of your presence, your energy and your attention every day.
Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!!
Have a lovely day.
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