Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Turkey Day! Throw that blog a bone?

Ahh, it's Thankgiving Day in America and you're catching up on your blog reading. Good for you. And football? Nice. I'm hungry. And so maybe are thousands or maybe millions of bloggers around the world. And why not? This is the medium that's putting thousands of proper journalists out of work. 'Why the hell should anybody pay for this when millions of you wankers just throw it out there for free?', you say.

And an excellent question that would be. But it's not my question. It's a question that's been coming up a lot lately, all over the blogosphere.
Jay Deragon and his blog, The Relationship Economy (highlighted below) gets the ball rolling this way:

"The Internet and social technology has turned the publishing industry upside down and inside out. We’ve seen 24 of the top 25 newspapers go out of business. Magazine subscription rates are down and the leaders within the industry are struggling to find a strategy to stay alive.

The Wall Street Journal is forging a war against the Internet. Rupert Murdoch wants to block its content from Google and has taken a stand with its readers by charging a subscription for the paper. No more free in the Murdoch world."

And so what's in all of that for me? Well, nothing basically. Murdoch was pretty adept when he bought MySpace, way before anybody really understood what social media was, but I think he may have bitten off a little bit more than even he can chew here.
Even Seth Godin says he's gotten this move backwards. When I think of my own work here at WWED and ways in which I might make a buck off it someday, I like this quote from Clay Shirkey:

Wow. Does that nail it. Can anything I do be 'necessary', 'irreplaceable' and 'unsharable'. Well, yes, except the unsharable part, because I want people to share things they find here, and give me credit, hopefully. The harder part is the first two constraints of 'necessary' and 'irreplaceable' . Can I create that, offer that, and then somehow, get paid for it? And my answer to that is yes. Just like the model for National Public Radio in America. People voluntarily subscribe. They don't have to. The content is already on the radio, and subsidized by the government for free - but listeners pay anyway, because they value the programming and know it doesn't have conventional advertising support behind it.

"Content is only as valuable as the audience who consumes it.", continues Shirky,
"Some audiences, and they are getting smaller, will pay for what they consider as 'premium information from talented writers'. Then there is a larger audience that finds valuable content for free and the authors pull audiences to their content based on style and substance, whether professional journalist or not."

So can WWED be considered as 'premium information from a talented writer'? According to one reviewer of late - "You might be very talented but what you are doing with the blog does not make you unique. Neither content nor expression." - uhh, no. But according to the overall number of positive comments, nearly 200 regular subscribers as well as subscribers who actually sent a little cabbage my way, the answer is a pretty resounding Yes. And although you're probably tired of me going on about our Technorati ranking, as of today, Turkey Day, we're at an Authority of 125 and a global ranking of 36,355, up from around 55,000 just six weeks ago. Heck, we're ranked at number 60 in the 'Business' category. Note to aspiring business journalists: "Just write whatever falls out of your butt three times a week and YOU too can be number 60!"
Hell, I can't wait till I'm sitting on the new Oprah show, hawking the book I made from a blog and that reviewer from above leans over on a sofa somewhere and says to her friend, "I knew that guy when he was just a bum trying to eek out a living in Munich. He sucks". And then I'll jump up and down on the couch. Won't that be sweet?
But until then, I won't be embarrased at all about encouraging support from readers. I'm a damn fast writer, and a damn prolithic one, but this still takes a great deal of time and a few bucks thrown in the hat from time to time just plain makes me feel better. It also helps pay some rent. You'll notice that we've added a 'subscribe' button to the page from PayPal. The way this works is that some nice person clicks it, and I get $5 bucks a month until they get tired of paying. You can 'unsubscribe' at any time. Seven people have done this so far - really.
So get another helping of that stuffing, some cranberry sauce and another beer. I'll take that wing if you're not going to eat it. And if you've just got too much time to kill, make sure to fill out our 2009 readers survey.
Post Script: In a post following this post, RCNevada at 'My View of the World' gives a more thorough overview of Rupert Murdoch's quest for cash off the Internet, in particular his much hinted at deal with Microsoft and Bing. If he swings it, he will give Bing exclusive rights to News Corp. info and Google will be cut out of the deal - so of course you'll have to search Bing for his info - and of course he'll get some fraction of a penny from every click on that info through Bing and make bazillions.
Many bloggers sell books, art or other products and use their blogs soley to promote whatever it is they're selling. For those of us without another product to sell, the idea that our content could someday be integrated into another site with larger traffic, and that we could get a tick for every click we generate is a good one. But until then, I'll stick with the voluntary subscription model, and keep my day job.

For more on blogs, blogging and bloggers, check here:

Advertising People & Blogs - The Travis Diaries VI
How to Write the Best Damn Blog in the World
Throw That Blog a Bone!
If Blogs Are Free Are They Worthless?
What If Gutenberg Had a Blog?
If You Like the Blog, Read the Book>/a>
2008 Annual Report - The Wild Wild East Dailies
Blog Redesign WWED
BarCamp Saigon 2008
Attraction vs. Conversion - How to Power Your Blog
Are the Bloggerati Missing the Market?

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting post regarding the subject. I am also on the same page with most of what you had to say.


The Wild Wild East Dailies

D a v i d E v e r i t t - C a r l s o n
Find me on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn. Read my blog: The Wild Wild East Dailies and keep up on our efforts with aSaigon/CreativeMorning.