Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Mark Penn of the Wall Street Journal has figured out how to get a lot of links and traffic: Claim that there are hundreds of thousands of people who are making a living via blogging.
In America today, there are almost as many people making their living as bloggers as there are lawyers. Already more Americans are making their primary income from posting their opinions than Americans working as computer programmers or firefighters....
It takes about 100,000 unique visitors a month to generate an income of $75,000 a year. Bloggers can get $75 to $200 for a good post, and some even serve as "spokesbloggers" -- paid by advertisers to blog about products. As a job with zero commuting, blogging could be one of the most environmentally friendly jobs around -- but it can also be quite profitable. For sites at the top, the returns can be substantial. At some point the value of the Huffington Post will no doubt pass the value of the Washington Post.
Add my voice to the chorus of bloggers left, right, and, well, whatever, who are calling bullshit. No. Way. Not even devotion to the Five Rules can earn that kind of coin in the typical blog. We routinely garner 100,000 unique visitors in a month -- more, actually -- and I can report with confidence that we are not earning $75,000 per year from blogging. Adding Amazon commissions (which at this blog benefit from our decidedly affluent readership, which in turn derives, no doubt, from our relentless defense of the "rich") to extrapolated earnings from the recently added Google ads, and we will be lucky to earn 10% of that figure. While I am sure we might have been more aggressive in monetizing this modest blog in years past, it is hard to see how it could generate even a modest living without a ten-fold increase in traffic.
That said, I do have some idea of the value of blog traffic. Assuming (aggressively) that TigerHawk generates triple the revenue per unique visitor that Instapundit does, I am going to venture in to dangerous territory and estimate that Glenn Reynolds, who has done a particularly good job in turning his own pioneering blog into a quality of life experience, earns more than $200,000, perhaps much more, per year from blogging. And so he should, for Instapundit was a first mover in a business that in the aggregate generates an enormous amount of revenue. Professor Reynolds did not invent blogging and he is not the biggest blogger, but he developed a certain style of it that transformed blogging. The result is that Instapundit occupies its own niche from which it will not be dislodged, and that commands substantial economic value.
Eh, none of the TigerHawk bloggers are in the poor house anyway, and all of us are "rich" on any kind of global comparative basis (especially in spirit).
As for Mr. Penn, there is nothing worse than being off by an order of magnitude when you are showing off your number crunching in a national newspaper. That would get you fired from some jobs.
Even his comment about environmental friendliness may not be correct.
It is correct insofar as there are savings from not commuting. However, if someone stays home all day and keeps their entire house heated/air conditioned (and if they're making that much money from blogging then I have to assume that their house is HUGE), then, compared to someone working in a crowded office, they'll be using much more energy to keep themselves comfortable.
The US has more than 1,000,000 lawyers. You mean to say that there are almost a million bloggers in the US making their living through blogging?
Then how come newspapers can't make their on-line editions pay that well? All that "fair use" copy we rich bloggers are snatching up, obviously.