Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Gravity from pwnwear reports on the Tankspot blog having been bought by ZAM. I very much liked the quote he has about this:
"Firstly a warning: if you are a blogger, do not think you can automatically make money from WoW blogging. Don’t read this and think “whoa, a pot of gold, all I have to do is repeat what tankspot did”. You need seriously large amounts of traffic before you can monetise beyond a coffee or two a week, and what tankspot has done has taken enormous effort. Remember that Projectlore.com died. Write because you enjoy it, not for profit. If you want to make money then you should learn how to trade CFDs, currencies or futures contracts, go to Uni and get a better job, or create a site that’s uniquely valuable (blogs usually do not have a distinctive offer). In short, do something that’s intended to make money and scales up more easily than advertising revenue from pageviews. Anyhow, end of warning."Hello, I am Tobold the blogger, and I endorse this message. :) From my personal experience, I would say my blog is "successful", not just from traffic numbers, but hey, I even managed to acquire an anti-fan who dedicated his life to write an anti-Tobold hate blog. One needs to be pretty famous to have anti-fans, they are a lot harder to acquire than fans. But after a first initial wave my own monetization experiment pretty much leveled out at the "a coffee or two a week" level of income from donations. And all the data I have suggest that if I changed my monetization scheme to income from advertising, the level would be about the same.
I find blog monetization an interesting subject, not because I dream of becoming rich from blogging, but because I have a general interest in how people behave on the internet. How people behave in relation to blogs is as interesting to me as how they behave in relation to MMORPGs, which is why I frequently post about blogging (to the displeasure of some readers who would like me to post only about games). Monetization of blogs poses a lot of interesting moral and philosophical questions, like how can you make money without compromising your integrity? I'm rather happy with the donation solution, as it means I'm not beholden to any special interests. Advertising or affiliate selling a specific game is impossible without casting a serious doubt over the blogger's ability to write impartially about the game he derives his income from. Getting paid regularly by the same game company is obviously a stronger influence than receiving a freebie once, and even freebies are something which some reader's think can cloud a blogger's neutrality. Advertising with banner ads you don't control the content of is even worse, especially as a MMORPG blogger, as you might easily find yourself advertising products you personally don't approve of, like illicit RMT, gold guides, or powerleveling services.
Monetizing blogs is also interesting from the point of view of the wider question of the value we create when we just do the things we like to do. That can range from selling your MMORPG account to selling your blog. On the one side the fact that people *do* sell these things, and find buyers, suggests that MMORPG characters or blogs have value. On the other side I can't help but feel that a good part of the value comes from something immaterial, call it "soul", which can't be sold. Buyers of MMORPG characters often end up disappointed, and buying a blog also comes with obvious risks that the sale changes the nature of the site, and ends up destroying its value.
I once stated, and that is still valid, that I'm perfectly willing to sell you my blog for $100,000. That would get you my blog, including my archives, all associated domain names, and the Google pagerank that comes with it. What that wouldn't include would be my services as a writer. I'd take the money, wish the new owner good luck, create a new internet persona with a new name, and start a new blog. In other words, the outer trappings of my blog are for sale, but its soul isn't. I'm not even sure that it would be possible to sell that. Even if somebody would be willing to pay me a monthly salary to write blog posts, the fact of being a paid-for writer would change my writing. Unconsciously, or through active influence of the guy with the money. I didn't visit Tankspot very often, but thoughts like these make me wonder how the site will change under new ownership.
What do you, as reader, think of the various forms of blog monetization? Are you for or against bloggers receiving money at all? Are there specific forms of monetization you like or hate? Tell me what you think!