pageok
pageok
pageok
Bloggers for Hire:

The WSJ reports there are over 20 million bloggers in the U.S., 1.7 million of which generate income, and under 500,000 of which make blogging their primary source of income.

Larrya (mail) (www):
Sounds like authors, artists, and musicians. Having a personal muse bugging you really sucks. Sometimes.
4.21.2009 10:51am
Fub:
So < 2.5% of blogging is a primary source of income. I'm surprised that it's not < .025%, a couple orders of magnitude smaller. I've got no actual stats from which to jump to that conclusion though -- just a WAG along the lines of roughly analogous business / part-time / hobby populations such as actors, poets, musicians, graphic artists and the like.
4.21.2009 11:05am
rick.felt:
I assume that if you're unemployed or a stay-at-home mom/dad, and you get $1.47 per month in Google ad revenue, that counts as your "primary source of income."
4.21.2009 11:15am
cboldt (mail):
But for how long can nearly 500,000 people who are gradually replacing whole swaths of journalists survive with no worker protections, no enforced ethics codes, limited standards, and, for most , no formal training?

.
For as long as they are entertaining and able to sell advertising space. The "enforced ethics code" of journalists is a self-created myth. Journalists are nearly as big a bunch of liars as politicians. They have the ethical standard of cheats and scoundrels.
4.21.2009 11:51am
Careless:
<blockquote>
So < 2.5% of blogging is a primary source of income. I'm surprised that it's not < .025%, a couple orders of magnitude smaller. I've got no actual stats from which to jump to that conclusion though — just a WAG along the lines of roughly analogous business / part-time / hobby populations such as actors, poets, musicians, graphic artists and the like.
</blockquote>
My immediate thought is "if it's their primary source of income, just how much are they making?" I know some people who run websites/blogs that, if they lost their jobs, would have those as their primary source of income but don't come close to making a decent amount of money from them
4.21.2009 12:29pm
trad and anon (mail):
I'm suspicious of this "1.7 million of which generate income" figure. If you follow the link in that WSJ article it takes you here, where it says "1.7 million American adults list making money as one of the reasons they blog." That's not at all the same thing: people could well be listing making money as a reason they blog because they hope or expect to make money from blogging, not because they are actually making money from blogging.
4.21.2009 12:34pm
zippypinhead:
Something approaching a half million people get their primary source of income from blogging? That seems awfully high. 5,000, sure. But 500,000? Heck, no... I can't imagine that click-through ad revenue, ancillary book sales, or whatever, could possibly support close to a half million bloggers. And if making money online is really that easy, how can it be that major media organizations with web presences read daily by millions like the New York Times, USA Today or Washington Post are still losing their shirts?

Unless they're counting pittances earned by blogs of unemployed Gen-Y geeks living in Mom's basement, and/or pay-porn sites?

On the other hand, if there's something to this statistic, it does suggest that Professor Volokh may be leaving some money on the table. Only question is what would be the most effective way to "upgrade" VC (I originally typed "ruin," but that would impose an unfair value judgment on entrepreneurship): More ads? Direct book sales? "Donate here" buttons linked to PayPal? Subscription fees? Hmmm...
4.21.2009 12:45pm
zippypinhead:
"1.7 million American adults list making money as one of the reasons they blog."
Ah ha! Mystery solved. It doesn't say they make money ON their blog. Rather, everybody who uses a blog in an attempt to raise their professional visibility would fall into this category. So, for example, every insurance salesman, investment advisor, or -- heaven forbid -- lawyer with a blog that is basically used as an advertising channel would count.
4.21.2009 12:51pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):
I find even 5000 making their primary income from a blog unbelievable. I have a relatively high visibility blog, and I couldn't afford to live on a steam grate with what I make from blogging.
4.21.2009 12:59pm
trad and anon (mail):
I find even 5000 making their primary income from a blog unbelievable. I have a relatively high visibility blog, and I couldn't afford to live on a steam grate with what I make from blogging.
The WSJ article cites that figure as coming from here, which in turn cites this survey by Technorati. I couldn't find the 452,000 figure anywhere in the Technorati report, but it is interesting that according to Technorati the top 1% of bloggers by revenue earn more than $200,000/year. I thought this number sounded suspicious, so I looked at their methodology, which was apparently based on a random sample of blogs registered with Technorati, who are probably very nonrandom. Unfortunately, they don't provide the response rate, so there's no way of knowing how representative the survey respondents were of registered Technorati bloggers. What it does say is that they received 1,290 responses, so they got 12 or 13 bloggers claiming to earn $200,000+ in blogging revenue. One wonders who these 12 or 13 bloggers are, but they don't say. Perhaps they run blogs for large corporations and their "blog revenue" is the salary they're paid for blogging?
4.21.2009 1:28pm
gerbilsbite:
Hooray, I get to claim personal expertise!

For the record, I spent several years as a blogger-for-hire and online fundraising consultant for various House and Senate candidates (it's decent work if you can get it). And I think Penn is drastically inflating his numbers.

That said, online fundraising is a rapidly expanding field, and most professional fundraisers are developing blog-based strategies. Moreover, many traditional media outlets (not just newspapers, but also trade publications, for example) maintain blogs now, so that could easily account for thousands of full-time professional bloggers (people who blog incidental to their jobs or as their primary job duty).

So 1.7 million seems unbelievable, but I could easily see there being tens of thousands of bloggers who make their livings online.
4.21.2009 1:31pm
LarryA (mail) (www):
And if making money online is really that easy, how can it be that major media organizations with web presences read daily by millions like the New York Times, USA Today or Washington Post are still losing their shirts?
Most successful blogs are specialized, as VC is. Newspaper blogs are general and don't attract the eyes per column inch that the focused ones do.

500,000?

There are several sites like About.com that keep lots of bloggers happy. Again, focused topics. There are also those hired to blog, for instance a game company that supports a site. The site itself then is advertising, and need not be integrally self-supporting.
4.21.2009 2:40pm
Jesse Wendel:
Okay, this is total BS.

The math is wrong by at least two orders.

I publish one of the top 100 political liberal blogs in the U.S., Group News Blog. I assure you I don't make my living from it. In fact, in the liberal blogosphere, FROM BLOGGING, at best, a couple of dozen make their living from blogging. And that is out of several hundred fairly well known blogs with a solid 50-100 very well known.

On the conservative side the numbers are about the same, however instead of just ads, there are also more speaking fees, books and fellowships available. Conservatives tend to take care of their own financially better than liberals do. On the other hand, there are only a very few top end conservative blogs, while there are a bunch of high end lib blogs. But only the top ten blogs, maybe top 15-20 make enough money for their owners to support their writers. Like a say, at best we're talking two dozen people make a living in liberal politics as BLOGGERS.

Lots more make money on television, as general writers, doing campaigns, as consultants and so on. But purely as bloggers? The WSJ has their head deeply in a dark place. They pulled numbers more or less at random from a couple of sources and didn't bother to a) check with anyone if the numbers made sense, b) do any math on the numbers, or c) apply any common sense. It was just too damn good a story and helped them sell "The end of journalism is being caused by bloggers" BS story, so they ran with it.

Shame on them.
4.21.2009 3:28pm
Mikee (mail):
The story WSJ wrote about was not that there are some numbers of bloggers making money. Indirectly, they were writing about the traditional print news media who are, and have been, losing money for several years now.

Bloggers have not caused the failure of the main stream media, either print or electronic. The practitioners of journalism have lost over half the population, and in some cases all but geriatric habitual viewers (yes, Katy Couric, I am thinking of you here), due to their own failures.

Bloggers have helpfully pointed out both the lies by omission and the lies by commission of the MSM, but it is the MSM that has killed itself through agenda journalism, failure to report honestly, and obvious bias.
4.22.2009 1:27pm

Post as: [Register] [Log In]

Account:
Password:
Remember info?

If you have a comment about spelling, typos, or format errors, please e-mail the poster directly rather than posting a comment.

Comment Policy: We reserve the right to edit or delete comments, and in extreme cases to ban commenters, at our discretion. Comments must be relevant and civil (and, especially, free of name-calling). We think of comment threads like dinner parties at our homes. If you make the party unpleasant for us or for others, we'd rather you went elsewhere. We're happy to see a wide range of viewpoints, but we want all of them to be expressed as politely as possible.

We realize that such a comment policy can never be evenly enforced, because we can't possibly monitor every comment equally well. Hundreds of comments are posted every day here, and we don't read them all. Those we read, we read with different degrees of attention, and in different moods. We try to be fair, but we make no promises.

And remember, it's a big Internet. If you think we were mistaken in removing your post (or, in extreme cases, in removing you) -- or if you prefer a more free-for-all approach -- there are surely plenty of ways you can still get your views out.