Sunday, September 04, 2005

Are blogs good vending machines?

Are blogs good vending machines?

I wonder what happens to a blog's content and credibility when it becomes just another advertising medium.

Can a blog make money and still retain integrity, candor, and objectivity?

My most serious concerns are:

(1) what is the author of a money-making blog doing to drive traffic to the blog?

(2) what are the ads trying to sell to blog visitors?

(3) are customers satisfied with the products?

(4) what does the blogger do if the ads promote shoddy products that customers hate?

Darren Rowse, who has been very kind and supportive of me, has made an unusual and startling claim. (Thanks to Jeremy Wright of Ensight blog for pointing me to this article.)

In his ProBlogger blog, Darren's announcing that he made $100,000 in a 12 month period, in his post entitled:

"I'm a Six Figure Blogger"

His announcement coincides with a seminar he's offering called "Six Figure Blogging".

Some bloggers are wondering if getting rich with a blog is a result that can be achieved by taking a seminar.

Then again, if Darren has achieved this, he has every right to declare his success and use it to promote his seminar.

But it's not the blogging that is generating income, it's the ads on the blog. There's a big difference. There's also some question about how "affiliate programs" work, though I'm not saying that Darren is doing anything wrong or unethical.

Plus, I thought that the terms of the Google AdSense contract include not divulging how much money the blogger is making from the ads.

Here is my comment that I posted at his article:


Congratulations Darren, but what is the real deal?

What were the ads promoting, and are the customers who bought the products promoted by AdSense satisfied with their purchases?

Are bloggers wanting to make money by running ads on their blogs? Then the blog becomes a vending machine and the content is going to possibly encounter credibility disadvantages.

When a blogger publishes great relevant useful valuable content, it would be very nice if he or she could make money at the same time.

I would love to see all high quality bloggers be able to live on blogging alone, and not have to work the crappy jobs that most people are resentfully forced to take just to survive.

What I cannot figure out is why anyone would click on an ad that appears on a blog. I think most blog ads look bad and I have no trust in whatever sites they lead to.

Then again, I'm opposed to online shopping due to identity theft and the failure of companies to protect sensitive consumer data, as we've seen with ChoicePoint, et al.

Are you announcing this income to promote your seminar, AdSense, or both?

I see how this declaration of income lends credibility to your concepts, but are you sure those who sign up are not expecting to get rich quick in a false hope of reproducing unique results?

I am sure you're legitimate, but I do have these questions.



I have no plans to display ads on any of my blogs. And I would never click on any ads on a blog. But remember: I'm opposed to any form of online shopping or other financial transactions over the internet.

Now, what do YOU think about all this?

Share your opinion by posting a comment here, or emailing me.

I'd like to know your experiences with blog ads, affiliate programs, and traffic sharing systems.

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate




Andy Merrett said...

AdSense changed their TOS to allow bloggers to state their overall earnings. They cannot publish more specific details, ie CTR, individual revenue etc. (This has to be the case for tax purposes, if nothing else)

People do click on ads—particularly those that come to sites from Google—probably because they are used to the contextual advertising Google provides on its own site.

AdSense is certainly one of the easiest ways to generate some revenue from a site. There are other ways, and ones that a publisher has more control over, but there has to be a balance between maintaining the blog itself, and getting revenue from it. At least with AdSense (and similar contextual advertising services) the publisher does not have to negotiate advertising deals, banner space, etc. etc.

Ideally, I suppose, people would pay to read your blog, but you have to be something pretty special to get there.


Blogger Captcha's stink

steven edward streight said...

Andy: thanks for taking the time to explain a few things.

But what is the blogger's responsibility for the customer's satisfaction with the products that are purchased via the blog ads?

Have you ever had an irate, upset customer contact you? Hopefully not.

Do you monitor the ads and check the links? Do you examine the products being promoted in the ads?

What about traffic to the blog? Are you recommending traffic sharing systems, i.e., affiliate programs?

Ideally: you would NEVER pay for ANY online content. That is an undesirable business model for the net.

I have learned a great deal about web usability and blogology from free content on the web. So I could not in good conscience make anyone pay to read my blog content, even though some information I provide comes from seminars, books, etc. that I did pay for.

I'm an info anarchist in the sense that I believe information wants to be universal and free. But I'm not opposed to charging for seminars, books, films, etc.

Just wish to provide my audience with tons of free information and advice. Then, based on the quality of that free info, they, some of them, may wish to go deeper, more specific...

...and then that might cost them.


Blogger/Blogspot is the best thing to ever happen to the blogosphere.

I'm an unabashed Googlephile.

A character recog/veri captcha may be a slight pain, but it is way better than have automated comment spam on a blog.

I have endured and vanquished two strong waves of comment spam attack.

This second, more recent wave was repulsed largely by the word verification captcha, bless its heart.

I also favor and recommend many other Anti-Comment Spam tools and strategies, like comment moderation with delayed posting, site registration, etc.