This weekend, my friend and colleague, Chris Brogan, one of the nicest, most decent human beings, and extraordinary bloggers on the planet, got into a firestorm over a sponsored post he wrote about K-Mart.
With a tweet by Jeremiah Owyang, the Twitterverse and the Blogosphere erupted with scores of generally self-righteous posts about how taking money compromises the journalistic and ethical and moral value of blog content and bloggers. Blah blah blah.
I’m not going to get in the middle of the K-Mart/blogger kerkuffle, but I am going to talk about making money blogging.
While I prefer to see outright advertisements instead of a sponsored posts – and that’s why What’s Next Blog carries ads through Blogads.com – it is simple common sense that somehow, those of us who blog need to put food on the table.
As Brogan noted in a thousands of words long post:
“I give you everything for free. Somewhere, I have to make money, or my kids don’t eat. Would you rather I ask you for money? Someone always pays for the meal.”
As I see it, there are a couple of different kinds of blogs:
1- Blogs like mine and Brogan’s, written by individual bloggers. We use them to establish our personal brands, to espouse our views, to be seen as experts in our fields, and to attract business, so we can eat.
2. Group blogs like Boing Boing, Mashable, Read Write Web, with multiple writers who post dozens of times a day. These bloggers are generally paid by the publisher, who supports the business with advertising revenue.
3- Bloggers with jobs whose job description includes writing a blog. Among the best in this category are Jeremiah Owyang is one, Robert Scoble, Steve Rubel and Chris Brogan.
There also are blogs written by reporters for mainstream media, and CEO blogs, but I don’t think they are relevant to this discussion.
To paraphrase Mistress Mia, Just because these bloggers’ currency is different from each other doesn’t mean they don’t all have a currency.
My Proposal: Even better than bloggers giving away all of their work for nothing, I propose that from today on, any blogger with more than a thousand readers must pay each of their readers for each post they read.
There, that’ll fix the whole problem.
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