Someone Always Pays: The Truth About Blogs and Money

Scroll down ↓

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!!!

Rant over.

Have a lovely day.


Join our Email List for Weekly Updates

And join this amazing community of makers and doers. You know you wanna...

68 responses

68 responses to “Someone Always Pays: The Truth About Blogs and Money”

  1. JF-

    Nice post- for my money consulting is where ‘it’s at. Way better than ‘pimping’ thesis or whatever you are selling (not that there’s anything wrong with thesis, affiliate marketing or what not).

    Create authority and then rent that authority to others. Product reviews, meh. Works–but you gotta believe and vouch for people.


    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Agreed, I much prefer the indirect path to income. Though, I do very occasional reviews, but only when the product/book or person truly speak to me. And, if it’s a service, I don’t think I’ve ever done one unless I know and trust the person behind it.

  2. Julie says:

    “Yes, I confess, I don’t just do it for the love of people and pixels.” I love the succinctness of this line, Jonathan, because it sums up the much about why I blog. The other part? Exactly what you are talking about here. Your post is full of integrity. For the most part, I think the old belief about not being able to make money while doing good work in the world has been busted, but I guess not for all. I’m not sure what prompted your post, but I love having this all out in the open.

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Haha, it was inspired by a bit of recent snark, but, trust me, it’s been building for a while, lol

  3. ami says:

    I think this is a case where bloggers did a poor job of managing expectations.

    Bloggers put out good content for free, created useful tools for free, developed helpful resources for free.

    Like a parent who gives a child everything they ask for without hesitation, bloggers set high expectations for themselves and in their audience. So when the world shifts and bloggers decide to charge for what used to be free, some readers – predictably – will have a tantrum.

    But just as parents wait out tantrums and allow the new paradigm to settle in, bloggers can wait out the complaining until the new paradigm settles and everyone accepts it. Arguing with the complainers is like arguing with the kid in tantrum mode. No one is convinced.

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Lotta truth to that analogy I think, thanks for framing it that way. Now…when did you say that tantrum will end? 😉

      • Leigh Kramer says:

        As the mother of a former 2-year old, I found the best way to deal with tantrums was to 1) never placate 2)let her flail away until she got tired of herself. Never knew how long they were going to last, however.

        Jonathan, keep up the great writing and perspective!

  4. Thump that bible, baby! The world needs more evangelists like you.

  5. We should all feel free to make money from our blogs, if that is what we choose. Those who object, simply won’t read the blog. Oh well!

  6. Jeremy Head says:

    Couldn’t agree more… but that pop up asking me to sign up for your newsletter… that’s one attempt a ‘monetization’ I could do without… it takes more than a single visit to a blog to get me sufficiently engaged to sign up for something. Quite a few people are using it now (it’s wordpress plug in driven by a cookie isn’t it? first time visitor… activate a pop up) and it really annoys me.
    And… taken to the ultimate extreme – Tripadvisor… the pop ups there drive me nuts!

    • Jonathan Fields says:


      Yeah, I along with most others bloggers who’ve adopted the lightboxes agonize over it a bit. But, when mine is working right, you’ll only see it once…ever…and only after you’ve finished reading a post and scrolled to the comments.

      Plus, a little inside info, it’s bumped up my subscription rate more than 200%.

      If anyone here has had the lightbox pop more than once or while you’re still reading a post, PLEASE let me know in the contact form. We are working to fix it now.

  7. This is a hot topic this week….well I guess it will always be a fire pit issue when money is involved. One of the best things about the internet is how many great things you can get for free online. One of the bad things about the net is how many great things you can get for free online.

    Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?

    However it has been my experience that there is no free lunch for the things that truly worthy of my time and attention. Same with blogs, the best blogs take a insane amount of time and effort to maintain the problem is so many people expect that if is on the net it should be free, if not free cheap.

    I am new to this blog world but one thing I do know is market dynamics, if you undervalue yourself so will your audience even if they love what you do!

  8. Jeffrey Tang says:

    I’m thinking that the problem extends beyond the blogosphere … after all, everyone loves to blame money for social problems. We blame rich people for crashing the economy, for stealing from the rest of us, for being wealthier than we are – so dammit they must have done something immoral, unethical, or illegal.

    I think we’ve trained ourselves to be inherently suspicious of money and anyone who wants to make money – bloggers included. Artists are supposed to be poor, because getting rich off your art is “selling out.”

    The love of money is the root of all evil, right? So those who decide to charge money for something are also evil.

    Which is sad, really, because we’re throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

    So I see the blogger-money backlash as an extension of a larger issue: distrust of money. The real battle is challenging people to rethink what money means, instead of blindly chasing after “free.”

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      I think you’re right, there is always just an element of discomfort with money and dislike for those who have it (not that I’m one of those, lol).

      Money isn’t the root of anything, it’s our perception about what’s let to the accumulation of money and how those who have it spend it that trips us up.

      But, in a vaccum, money’s not different than rocks.

  9. […] And then a new friend, Career Renegade Jonathan Fields wrote this one: Someone always Pays: The Truth About Blogging and Money […]

  10. Walt Goshert says:


    First… a big Thanks You!

    For your inspirational, thought-provoking posts.
    For being out there and your quick response to my Tweet yesterday.

    This whole Free thing…

    Humm… Seems that bloggers are pretty damn good at Cialdini’s concepts of Reciprocation, Commitment, Social Proof, Liking,and Authority.

    But suck at Scarcity.

    And pray for more Instant Influence.


  11. Hit a spot Jonathan. Thank you. To everybody:
    “Someone has to pay” that’s so true. Look around you, nothing is free, someone always has to pay down the chain. Everything around you is paid for, roads, garbage collecting…etc you either pay upfront, from the taxes, somebody else but charges you in some indirect way. The geniuses of business figure out a way to make you pay WILLINGLY.
    Rant over 🙂

  12. I think the backlash is also a jealousy issue. People don’t always realize that the blogging A-listers who are monetizing have put it a lot of time and energy into their own learning process. They don’t think about the failures along the way and the strategies that didn’t work.

    There’s still a stigma out there that people who make money blogging are “overnight successes” or just started blogging and money magically came their way.

    It goes along with the whole theme that’s been spinning about the blog world – run your blog like a business (assuming you want to make money off of it). It takes hard work to make money in any endeavor.

    Thanks for the great post!

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Interesting thought, Mike. I have to think about that. Not so sure it’s jealousy as it is patterns and expectations.

      We’ve spent a lot of time teaching people that ideas and content are worth…nothing. Now, we’re trying to change that paradigm…and it’s not easy.

  13. […] Tweets about this great post on […]

  14. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by remarkablogger: RT @jonathanfields Someone Always Pays: The Truth About Blogs and Money (pls RT)…

  15. Pamela says:

    I come here for the content and the interesting thoughts AND to learn about new things that will help me in my business. If I find out about something that will help me (e.g. SEO Scribe), and you get a kicker for telling me about it (and disclose that fact), then I consider it a win-win. But of course my attitude is predicated upon my being confident enough to evaluate for myself whether or not I want to buy something AND being of the philosophy that everyone has the right to support themselves.

  16. BenSpark says:

    I think that new bloggers are like scientists standing on the shoulders of giants and making crazy cool leaps. They’ve had the good fortune to see how some of the old guard struggled, made mistakes and then are quick to judge when someone who has been giving value for a long long time, for free, decides that they want to make a little money too.

    I’ve done the paid posting thing scattershot in the past, way back when PayPerPost, the company not the concept, started. I made mistakes and learned from those mistakes, got more real refocused and grew up. I’ve been through the growing pains and after getting knocked around for selling out can be gunshy about other ways to make money.

    For the most part my blog is a hobby, a hobby that I put tons of hours and money into learning, tweaking and perfecting. I now have been doing it long enough that I am making much more monthly money consulting and helping thus funding my hobby. I still do a paid post or sponsored tweet but only the ones I can get behind.

    • Jonathan Fields says:

      Great point, in an odd way, it’s almost easier to be starting now and setting a different expectation from the get-go.

  17. Hugh says:

    I couldn’t agree more with you and other bloggers making money from your community. As you said, you invite people to become a part of the community in different ways. Personally, I have gotten so much value from this and other blogs that I am completely willing to buy your book (Great, by the way!) and others’ books and products because 1)I love to read them, and 2)I feel that I should give back for all of the great information and inspiration that you and others have shared.

  18. I am amazed that YOU even had to write this post! Last time I checked, capitalism is the primary platform used by humans who participate in our global economy. Why would your blogging business be excluded from this? Am I missing something?

  19. […] I know enough of you will purchase stuff that can build your business to make it worthwhile.  And Jonathan Fields speaks to this better than I […]

  20. bchase says:

    The lesson for me in this post is to make sure to value what I know. Hard for me, actually. There was an earlier post here or on someone else’s blog about over coming the attitude that money was sleazy and people who hawked things were, therefore, themselves a little sleazy.

    In the interest of true confession, I am being converted to the idea that online information does have value and deserves remuneration. I used to be more of the attitude that it ought to be free. Some of what you have posted makes me realize that I would pay for the same info in a book so it is a “tad” hypocritical to resent paying for it here.

  21. Janet says:

    I would love to see the “bit of recent snark” that inspired this awesome rant! Rant on, Jonathan!

  22. As others have written, free is fine up to a point. A person can only create so much content for so long before they have to face one thing:

    There ain’t no shame in making some coin; profit isn’t a dirty word.

    As a musician, I’ve been happy to give my self-produced CDs away, but that wasn’t the point. The point was getting people to buy tickets for live shows. It worked for everyone.

    On a larger scale, though, playing every night and touring is hard work, and making some money off my content would be great.

    Like you, I believe that free content is a good place to start, but for th

  23. [oops, hit enter too soon!]
    …but for those who want to make their passion into a proper source of income, they have a right to sell whatever people will buy.

  24. Steve Wolfson says:

    I think there is two different things going on. First yes there is well its free elsewhere why should I pay for it here? And to that I say well true but sometimes you get what you pay for as well. I think those who provide original content like you, will grow and thrive after some bumps along the way. The other one is the fear that the content is bought by the commercial interests paying the bills. I think there is an erroneous belief that if its free its purer. Sometimes free is good, the Open Source Software movements has given us many of the tools we use to make the net a better place. Those of us who might be a little bit older remember that the internet while its roots were as a military and commercial communications platform, as it started to be used by ordinary citizens it became a kind of freedom of speech haven due to its relative anonymity and it was fostered by the number of universities who were sharing research and software tools for internet use free as no one saw any commercial value in building them at the time (email, web etc.) Then in the mid-90’s commercial usage started creeping in, having a web page was kind of like having a Facebook page or twitter account today. THe problem here is companies had no idea how to make $$ of the net originally as there were no business models. It became kind of a fad to reach younger demographics, and an adjunct marketing tool to have a web page or free because say customer service on the web didn’t cost anywhere as much as hiring people so companies put instruction manuals, how-to’s, FAQ’s etc online as a cost savings measure.. So even then as was mentioned people expected “free” content. So there’s been a very long history (well as far as the net goes). I think the second issue is we live in an area where it seems that everyone’s allegiance can be bought with enough money, so there is a backlash particularly against product recommendations that appear to be product placement is item X being given a great review because its a great product or because someone got it for free or was paid to say it was a great product. Similarly in some cases there are groups of people who seem to be Mr. A recommends, Ms. B and Ms B. recommends Dr. C who also recommends Mr A. It appears on some sites that there is this self-congratulatory recommendation going on by those who stand to make a buck from all of it. Again its a perception not necessarily a reality. Finally the internet’s success is in a sense a failing, It has democratized and opened the doors to a lot of people to do things that couldn’t have been done before. Prior to the net you might have written a column in a Newspaper or magazine, or if your lucky published a magazine based on your topic.
    But the cost of entry was high. With the cost of entry low, there also is a perception that anyone can do anything, so inversely when you start to charge there are those who say “Well what’s so great about him I could write about “Blah” just as easily”.

    Overall there is a lot of old baggage to overcome but I would rather see it work, so those who want to earn a living with there ideas can. Now I do say I’m not sure about the “subscription” method per se. The net is great for casual reading and maybe I’m interested only in an article or two. As a consumer I don’t want to have to pay for a months subscription just to get to a couple things. As a publisher I don’t want to lose customers if my content is overpriced. Perhaps its time to visit the micropayment system where when you read something say I read only Tuesday’s articles here I get charged a small amount to read the full value. If I read it enough, then when I get to some level of payments within a period time I automatically get the subscription because I’m using the service enough (or at least reminded the subscription would be a better deal at this point). There have been many technical issues with the micropayment concept in the past but it might be worth revisiting again today.

  25. My son has been a punk musician for years. Punk has the same do-it-yourself ‘free’ ethic as blogging. A friend of his was in band that was having some success, i.e. they were earning some money. At a gig he was accused by a fan of ‘selling-out’, of betraying the ‘punk ethic’. It wasn’t that the music had changed, it was that there were a lot of people paying money to hear and play their music. He said to the fan, “I see you regularly at gigs at the weekends, why not other times?” The fan said that he had a job and worked during the week. “Selling out then”, said the punk, “too busy earning to come and see us play?”

    The people who consume the blogs, or punk music, in different ways see no problem in having a job and earning money, why do they deny it to creative people such as bloggers and musicians?

    There is a famous quote by John Ruskin, “A book worth reading is worth buying.” This is an important concept that we should remember as bloggers. It’s not the time we spend that is worth the reward, it is the quality of what we produce. Follow that and people’s complaints should disappear.

    • Excellent post, and I love what Graham added – it is so true that there are industries that you are almost expected not to make money, or if you do, you have to be “fake” or not good. Funny thing is that in most industries it is the quite opposite.

  26. I think the main thing that people seem to forget is that nothing is really free.

    They think that the internet should be free, but it isn’t. They most likely bought a computer and are paying for their monthly internet access. And they don’t have to pay any extra to read your blog, so what are they complaining about, exactly?

    I guess these are the same people who somehow consider watching television to be free, and have forgotten that they had to buy a TV and monthly cable or satellite access. And they’ve also conveniently forgotten that television shows are funded by advertising to make it “free” for the viewer, just like *gasp* most blogs.

    Would they expect to be able to walk into a store and then walk out with whatever merchandise they want? Of course not. Because that’s a traditional way to sell stuff and make money, so it’s considered OK.

    I think it’s true that the model is still too new for some people to accept, but I do think that will eventually change once it’s around for long enough. At least, I hope so.

    Also, remember that some people will complain about anything and there’s no pleasing them. But, like you said, 99.99% of the people understand and pretty cool about it.

  27. Heather says:

    I’ve never been here before Jonathon (clicked over from Darren’s Google feed thing, whatever you call it), but wow. Very well said sir, and I think you’re completely in the right here.

    Signed up for your newsletter now to keep up to date, and definitely looking forward to seeing the rest of your posts.

  28. Having been around since the beginning of blogging, I can tell you this is a problem of evolution, or of growing up, if you like. Blogs are “growing up.” They are no longer mere online diaries. They are marketing channels for business. As such, the relationship is implicitly commercial: my free content is also my marketing, and that free content will be useful to readers and ALSO a commercial message that drives leads and sales.

    That commercial message isn’t the complete picture: there’s really good stuff for you once you part with your money. The quality of the free information is an indicator of the quality of the paid. That’s how it works.

    It’s not true that a reader can “just go someplace else” because the people who are really good are charging for it at some level. At some point, as a reader, “free” means you’re settling. And settling has never been a path to success.

    Refusing to pay for quality information that pays for itself many times over doesn’t make you idealistic, it makes you a cheapskate. And what you’re hurting is yourself. You’re not “sending” anyone a “message.” It’s your loss. There will always be smart people out there who understand what it means to invest in good information and help. Cheapskates don’t succeed, investors do.

  29. Finally, someone has the guts to say what ever other “humble” blogger has been dying to say for years: “Yes, I confess, I don’t just do it for the love of people and pixels.”

    All the readers that like to complain are like the stubborn church members who snort at the new guest. Blogging 2.0, as I would like to call it, is running full speed ahead – no turning back now.

    Thanks for being candid and honest. We all have to make money somehow, and blogging is a quality medium to do just that.


  30. Greg says:

    Great post, and I totally agree! We have to put food on the table, it’s as simple as that.

  31. Patrenia says:

    Hello JF,

    I’ve been mostly a lurker here on your blog, finding myself reading here more and more. I totally agree with all of your points here. Many people don’t realize the time and effort it takes to get to where you (and all the others) are now. You’ve not been sitting by twiddling your thumbs. Let’s flip this…(for those that have been complaining). How would they like it if they showed up at their job and after 2 weeks of putting in 40 hours per week they weren’t going to be able to get paid? They had fun helping out, right?

    Anyone SHOULD assume that if there is a domain out there, in some way, shape or form the owners of the domain will be making money. That’s just the bottome line.

  32. Hi Jonathan,
    I agree with many of the points that you make and the comments made.

    It reminds me of a band that I saw in Covent Garden in London a few years ago. They were busking in the central plaza. Now, they didn’t get booked and nobody had to give them money or buy their CDs. But, guess what, they were great, drew a crowd and have, subsequently, gone on to get a multi-album deal, win awards and now tour the world. In the beginning, like now, they are building their brand and that takes effort and stamina and, if you’re good (or not), you’ll get the return that you deserve.

    Thanks for speaking out. Too true. Keep it up,


  33. Barbara D says:

    I pay for content, and am fine with the fact that free content may lead toward putting money down for something else down the road. Bloggers who generate great content geared toward internet marketing for indie business people – both struggling and successful – are helping us MAKE MONEY. It’s a no brainer to give something back.

  34. Sean Cook says:

    Thanks for writing this Jonathan. It was exactly what I needed this morning.

    I’m new in business and use my two blogs as front ends for my coaching practice. I put out a lot of stuff that I think will be helpful to people and the blogs seem to be coming along with readership. While I’m still building a client base, I have also worked to add some ads and affiliate links to my blogs, to see if I can find some additional ways to earn some income. I’ve been careful to only add things that I think really are complementary to my content and the community I want to build. I don’t want to be seen as a someone out there just shilling this or that. But I do struggle with the same sort of “punk rock ethic” that Graham mentions in his comment. I want to sell myself and my ideas, not SELL OUT. The funny thing is, I am really not selling much of anything yet through these ads and links. It’s kind of hard to be a sell-out when you aren’t selling much of anything.

    This post is a great example of why I follow you and your blogs. You just get it, and you aren’t afraid to put it out there to the world. Thanks again.

  35. Annabel says:

    I’m working on a guitar instructional website and damned straight I’m going to charge for my hard work! (while still giving away enough free stuff so people can see how good my work is)

    I see guitar teachers all the time on YouTube giving away free stuff and while most are grateful, there’s always a petulant minority bitching (with quite a sense of entitlement) because they didn’t get more.

    Screw them. They are like the 5% of customers that cause 95% of the headaches and only brign 1% of the profits.

    I think the association between “blog” and “free” may be too strong to overcome, but I see nothing wrong with packaging content you may have previously given away into organized “mini courses” or (for “instructional”-type blogs) repackaging archives organized by subject, etc. and selling that- I’m sure I’m not the only one that doesn’t want to spend hours slogging through months and years of chronological archives no matter how valuable the free stuff therein might be.

    p.s. I like your popup, very tasteful.

  36. Good post. I know better and can still forget that “somebody pays.” I liked the parent, child tantrum analogy and also thought it was a good one.

    My question is why do you get hooked? If 99.9% are behind you what is it about that .1% that seems to make you feel like you have to explain or defend? I know my reasons, curious about yours. Cherry

  37. Margie says:

    Fantastic…thank you!!!

  38. I think a lot of the attitude of “free” boils down to those who do (self-employment) and those who…well, don’t. I may get flamed here, but I personally had a real epiphany when I started my business in 2003. I suddenly realized that NOTHING is free – not health insurance, not vacation or sick time, not the education I needed to make my business successful.

    Many people who have “job-jobs” don’t see the direct costs of what they “get” (salary, plus benefits, perks). They get lots of learning “free” from the companies they work for. There’s a real disconnect about where the money they are paid actually comes from.

    Plus, yes, the culture of “if it’s on the Internet, it should be free” has created a culture of taking, without much figuring out how to give back.

    I love that you point out VERY plainly that (1) people should be paid for their knowledge and skills and content and (2) that somehow SOMEONE always pays. Very few people putting out A++ content (or even A and B level content) are doing it for purely non-profit reasons.

    Bravo for this post!

  39. I’ve always mostly blogged to promote stuff, but as I’ve gone along I wanted to develop into some kind of “real” writer.

    Geez, writing well is a lot of work. And the formatting too.

    Doing a nice blog is hella’ more work than slapping out SEO spider food junk. Work I could put into writing books or articles that pay – lots of other money-making things.

  40. I’m guessing the hardest part is making people understand that while you can get the same information for free, it takes about 10 times as long. Not to mention you have to sort through a lot of things that aren’t relevant AND the information will not be ordered in such a way that each piece builds upon the last. I tell people that I recommend paying for the info products if you can afford it. If you are out of work, then maybe it is better to invest the time. The reality is that you save people a lot of time and deserve to be paid for all that work. Look at it this way Jonathan, maybe it will stop some of the snarks from trying to join your tribe!

  41. Julie Halsey says:

    I agree with Angela – NOTHING IS FREE – and bloggers deserve to be paid for all of their hard work! I like the concept of info for free and then payment through affiliations, advertising, referrals, coaching/consulting, etc. As a blog reader – the initial free information is great and give you a sense of the person’s knowledge/expertise and builds credibility – and I have no problem with paying for additional info/services. The amount of work, time, effort that goes into blogging shouldn’t be any different than any other profession. Sure – it works as a hobby too – just as art, crafts, etc — but there isn’t anything wrong with it being a paid profession – especially if it delivers value – just as artists, musicians, etc. deserve to be paid for their art. So keep up the great work and ranting !!

  42. Joel Libava says:


    I wish you’d be a little more expressive. I get very frustrated with folks like you that beat around the bush, and write paragraph after paragraph of nothingness, only to mask what they really want to say.

    If you keep this up, I may just have to unsubscribe from your blog, Jonathan.

    Joel Libava, The Franchise King®

  43. Thanks, Jonathan, for reminding me of the true value that I consistently provide my readers.

  44. Free television and free radio and free content have set expectations. Those who do free as a hobby have blurred the picture, too. And, some of us bloggers who spend a lotta time creating free and forget that our business blog had darn well better be part of our business; well, we’ve added to the problem.

    I gave away a copy of your book at a workshop I did. When I asked to buy a copy for this purpose, you graciously sent it without cost. The recipient was delighted, they really appreciated it. And I firmly believe that part of her delight was the knowledge that this physical souvenir of your intellectual property had, indeed, cost *someone* money, even if it wasn’t her.

    I wrote my first two business books before I got serious about business blogging; then did a poor job of focusing on the physical souvenirs I make available. I feel badly for the bloggers who started out giving content away, then dared to (*gasp*) ask for money for a book they’d written.

    Folks who don’t get this probably aren’t in our target demographic anyway, right? 😉

  45. […] constantly aim to find new, awesome articles to share with you all. Today I want to share: The Truth About Blogs and Money by Jonathan Fields, Quieting the Lizard Brain (Video) by Seth Godin, Cracking the Google Algorithm […]

  46. lorrie says:

    your welcome i like leaving feedback on blogs and doing writing on mine its my outlet for writing since i left the writing career i had as a reporter for a small paper to focus on my petsitting business

  47. Arturo says:

    Very well said Jonathan.

    What’s up with people who want everything for free and they don’t see the value. Don’t you worry about those whiners, keep doing what you are doing, providing excellent content and lifting up our spirits.

    Keep it up pal,


  48. Hi.
    I have yet to monetize my blog yet, apart from adscence of course. I just hope you are right and people will be interested in buying related stuff. I’ll let you know how i get on.

    Keep up the good work

  49. Lori M. Connelly says:


    Excellent comments. As a fellow blogger who hopes to make this world a better place through my blogging, but also make an honest living- Forward thinking is essential on many levels.
    Perhaps Aldous Huxley said it best with this:
    The vast majority of human beings dislike and even dread all notions with which they are not familiar. Hence it comes about that at their first appearance, innovators have always been derided as fools and madmen.

    Thank you for your insights and contributions.
    Keep up the good work!


  50. adam quean says:

    It’s a great point, I just wish people would understand that although bloggers do love what they do, they still need to pay the bills. Brilliant rant!

  51. Aqeel says:

    Bloggers are investing their time to inform us about things happening around us, so they have every right to make money from their blogs.

  52. Jason Osborn says:

    I agree!

    There’s nothing wrong with creating valuable content and making some money at the same time.

    Creating free content and getting compensated for it go hand-in-hand. That’s what keeps the free stuff coming.

  53. Jonathan, I love your idea of creating massive value, and delivering it without the reader having to pay. It’s brilliant!