There’s a lot of things I could talk about today. It’s definitely been a hellish week for the ol’ Mr. Rizzn here. A lot of my stress has been brought on by this guy, but I’ve gotten my nerdy revenge, with my smooth SEO skills. Doing a Google Search for who is now, I suppose, a declared nemesis of mine, will yield my account of his atrocious behavior at Rank 5. Go me!
It’s not been all bad.
I’m also at Rank 6 for this Google Search, which is a good thing (I was, but now I’m at 11 and 12).
At any rate, I picked up this story today from ValleyWag for today’s RizWords. It all refers back to the State of the Blogosphere release by Technorati recently that noted the end or at least stall of the growth of the blogosphere. There’s been a lot of talk as to why this has happened, but no real concrete theories that set well with me and go towards really hitting towards the heart of the issue.
As you real Rizzn-ites know, it’s darn hard to create a viable business model that supports the participants in any Indy-Journalism venture. I’ve attempted to create several such ventures here .. the most recent of course being the Oblong Box network, ModernOpinion and PoddedMeat. Other similar ventures in the past were things like BlipMedia and even my own blog, Rizzn.com, what you are reading right now.
I’ve never really publicly discussed why these ventures have failed, but I’ll bet the intelligent reader can guess: Money.
It comes down to money, and the inability to properly monetize the production process of producing quality online content. Let’s go down my list of ventures, and explore the sticking points.
When I started BlipMedia, arguably one of my most successful projects, I was just in the right place at the right time with a good idea. It was a free podcast hosting company, with the added benefit of having instant updates available to the content producers – they didn’t need to be in their studio to create podcasts… they could simply call in from anywhere they could find a telephone. This was a novel idea at the time, and that feature combined with there being free unlimited hosting made for an explosive growth on the site.
Unfortunately, then, as now, there was a real problem finding advertisers willing to speculate with their dollars on monetizing such a bleeding edge media. This fact, combined with a devestating hurricane that destroyed our office in Florida, meant we could no longer keep the service alive. If not for that, we might still be around today, and we might be breaking even – as of current, there isn’t that many people willing to venture out in the podcasting market to advertise, although this is quickly changing now, thanks to the efforts of companies like TalkShoe, PodTrac, and Blubrry.
After that, I started Oblong Box – and this was the offer I put out to a bevy of writers: Have a free domain name, free hosting, and free design. All you must do is post to the blog. I had worked out a series of monetization deals with companies like Blogitive and PayPerPost that should have subsidized all my expenses, and put us way out on top. Unfortunately, as in the Blip days, Blogitive and PayPerPost were very slow to sign up new advertisers, additionally they created very complex and restrictive posting policies that more or less strangled our financial growth.
As a result, I was unable to pass the cash down to the writers quickly enough to keep them around, and one by one, they ended up dropping off the network, and consequently, we only have a fraction of the writers on the network who still write – those that write simply for writing’s sake.
ModernOpinion was based upon the same principals, but with an optimized website and domain status in an aim to get around the restrictive policies that PayPerPost and Blogitive had instituted. Unfortunately, it was not enough, and despite investing hundreds in promotion and advertising on the site, the money was not enough to pay the writers, and much like OblongBox, they lost interest, and stopped writing.
PoddedMeat is a similar story, although technically the company is not dead, simply on hiatus. We tried another bleeding edge technology – video podcasting, right at the start of the video podcast craze that iTunes was attempting (and continues to) fuel.
Again, though, we could not find advertisers that would keep pace with production costs. Simply put, there are no ad agencies out there that can get enough money to subsidize these types of ventures. At it’s peak, PoddedMeat’s two shows were recieving in excess of 60,000 views/downloads a week. Unfortunately, this was not enough to entice advertisers into making the leap to the new medium.
There are simply not enough ways for the average blogger and podcaster out there to make enough money to justify their habit. As I have seen, only those with a true passion for writing, podcasting, or video podcasting will continue, regardless of what it pays. And, it would appear, there are only around 15 million of these people in the world.
15 million is a large number, though, isn’t it? That’s still a lot of people, and with that number, someone should be making money.
That’s an excellent point, and several people are making money off this. Just not the people who are doing the bulk of the work (i.e. the content producers).
Digg, Google, PayPerPost, Blogitive – these are the people who make a lot of money off these bloggers. However, when it comes time to reward them, they are handed a pittance. As I’ve said on the show many times, my blog has been here for around 10 years. I’ve been monetizing it for about half that time, primarily with AdSense, although I’ve used PayPerPost, Blogitive, BlogAds, and other smaller services ad various points.
AdSense, on my best month, produced around $24.00, shortly after I broke the Christopher Walken story and posted the pictures I took of Suge Knight being hauled off to the hospital after he was shot in the leg. In total, I’ve recieved about $200 over three years from AdSense.
Blogitive produced me about $600 over five months.
PayPerPost produced me about $200 over two months.
BlogAds produced me about $24 over one year.
I produce consistent quality content and have a significant audience that reads my words, and many of my ventures have grown to the point where actual percentage points of the internet have been exposed to me (at least that’s what Alexa says). I have my own wikipedia page, for cryin’ out loud!
Despite this, the blogosphere continues to punish me monetarily. I’m stubborn enough to keep coming back.
If you’re looking for your reason why the blogosphere is slow to grow, though, that’s it.