"How to Make Money" BloggerCon session

We didn’t start from scratch this morning in talking about how to make money session at BloggerCon IV, and I think the un-conference group made a lot of progress in exploring the topic. (Dave had duct tape over his mouth.) Dan Farber of ZDNet has got a rockin’ round-up of the session, complete with loads of photos. Doc has his amazing outline in real-time of what was said. And the whole thing is available in mp3 format (along with all the others).

Here’s an outline of suggestions people have made — before, during and after — for the “How to Make Money” session:

  1. Making Money By Blogging
    1. Run ads
      1. On your own site
        1. Text/images on your site (BlogAds, Adwords/Adsense)
        2. Sponsorships on site (TechCrunch, or the “Be Mike Arrington” strategy)
      2. In feeds (Feedburner)
      3. In a podcast (Chris Pirillo)
      4. In a vlog (Rocketboom)
    2. Put other thing on your blog that generate money for you
      1. Classifieds (EdgeIo “listing” tag)
      2. Other feeds (Stylefeeder feed)
      3. Affiliate program (e.g., from Amazon with books or other products)
    3. Put up a tip-jar on your blog
      1. (Some) people at BloggerCon said they’d contribute to you (IT Conversations).
      2. Lean into the micropayment movement — it might be $10/year (Dan Farber’s suggestion) or it might be much less — make both possible
    4. Get hyperlocal (Lisa WilliamsH2OTown, Nashville is Blogging)
      1. But maybe we need a new, easier way to give pizza parlors the ability to post ads, for which they’ll pay a higher cost per click/impression/whatever than what they will through Google Ads.
    5. Join a network of blogs
      1. Federated Media: John Battelle approach
      2. Pajama’s Media, Corante, Weblogs.com
    6. Sell your feed or other content itself to publishers (will someone pay? Gather, Squidoo)
    7. Generate payment via aggregators and revenue-sharing (Feedshow)
    8. Promote a specific product or products (Manolo shoe blog)
    9. Give it to charity (Goodstorm, as retold in TechCrunch)
  2. Making Money Off of Blogging
    1. Sell software, services (whether or not you blog)
    2. Blog to brand yourself (establish trust, credibility, relationships, goodwill), then…
      1. Sell consulting
      2. The Dave Winer solution (no ads, get famous, sell a pinger or the like for millions of dollars)
      3. Host a conference (Blogher, Gnomedex, Web 2.0 Conference)
    3. Sell search etc. (Technorati, Feedster)
    4. Become a VC (make money off of other people’s work)
    5. Make money for other people, like charities, through the leverage of your blog

A Wired story about BloggerCon mentions the How to Make Money session. Frank Paynter has posted lots of good stuff in the lead up to the conference and in covering sessions like the Emotional Life of Bloggers.

Post a comment with suggestions for more examples to add to the list and I’ll try to keep the outline up-to-date.

(Disclosure: I have an interest in a few of the companies above — Stylefeeder, Edge.io — and am a part-time investor in other entities that are included by reference above.)

The "How to Make Money" Session at Bloggercon

Dave Winer has kindly (or, well, maybe…) offered me the chance to be the discussion leader for the “How to Make Money” session at Bloggercon IV. I’m delighted and honored to be taking up this challenge with the help of the rest of the unconference attendees later this month in San Francisco. Here’s a framework for the discussion:

During every conference about Web 2.0 (oops — did I say that?) blogging, the conversation gets around, one time or another, to “how to make money.” It’s obvious there’s money all around this space. The simple proof: the venture capital world salivates at the prospect of a hot new company in this space, bidding up valuations and fueling the trend with not just their capital and attention but big-time connections and leadership. Somebody, definitely, is making money related to blogging and related technologies, or is pretty sure they will make money on it, but it’s not obvious that bloggers, in fact, stand to make much money from blogging.

If you are a blogger, how do you go about making some money from your work? One obvious answer is the classic approach of throwing BlogAds or Google ads or whathaveyou ads on your blog. That works for some people, but it generates more than beer money only for a select few at the left-hand side of that famous power law distribution. Some, like Mike Arrington at TechCrunch, have added premium sponsorships to the mix; then again, Mike’s plainly in the select few. Others contend that a blog is itself an advertisement. You don’t make money on the blog itself, but rather you make money on other things (as in the artist who gives away his or her content on a p2p service and makes money on other things to pay the rent). I trust that we’ll kick around these ideas, but also get into some new possibilities: shouldn’t really simple syndication allow for some new thinking around getting people to pay for the content you create? And are there ways for bloggers themselves to get on the bandwagon of making some of the money that the venture guys are planning to make? How could that work, exactly? Put another away: lots of people have spent lots of digital ink (sound and images too) on the general problem of “how do you monetize the long tail?”

In classic Bloggercon/unconference style, though, this is just a starting point. The beauty and the thrill is in where the conversation may go.