January 31st, 2007

Blog Herald Column: Should Bloggers Create Commercial Content?

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Should Bloggers Create Commercial Content?

Let’s say a blogger who writes about life and family occasionally writes a post through PayPerPost and properly uses the equivalent of “Special Advertising Section” to disclose that the post is paid. In the context of the entire blog, what’s wrong with that relative to how it has worked in other media?

  • Yep, the early days are always funny like that: unclear if something is going to be big/accepted or a historical footnote. Those who figure out the right answer the soonest reap the rewards.

    Your answer prompts an interesting question for any of your readers of this comment thread: Would Scott lose you as a reader if he accepted post sponsorship for topics only relevant to Publishing2.0's audience, with full/clear disclosure and full control over tone (e.g. positive or negative commentary)? It's likely the volume of sponsored content would be the deciding factor, so what's OK: never, 1/year, 1/month, 1/week, 1/day, enough to cover his bills or replace his other ads?

  • Dan,

    How much money would be required to invest the time and effort necessary to figure this out is one thing. How much money is required to overcome my misgivings is quite another. I like to think the latter can't be bought. Which gets back to the perception issue -- it doesn't matter if I make this distinction if members of my blogging community don't.

  • What's clunky -- are you kidding? Imagine watching television within a frame around the content that included text/graphic links 24/7 and I think you'll realize what's clunky. Your site design could deliver a better viewer experience if a portion of your posts had sponsors and you ditched Yahoo ads. In fact, I'm guessing a single sponsored post per month in your own voice, on topics relevant to your audience could eclipse your Yahoo Ads income.

    Thus, my other question about showing how sponsored posts could be done right. Let's call it a hypothetical. If you received $100,000 per sponsored post, could you do it the right way? How about $10,000? How about $1,000? How about $100? I'm guessing $10 is too low or else you'd already be a Postie ;-)

    What $/post would be required to match your Yahoo Ads, TLAs and Feedburner advertisements? I'm also curious how many sponsored posts/month would allow the right ratio of organic::sponsored content and fund further growth of this blog.

    Feel free to answer by email, but I was just curious and always trying to understand how sponsored posts can fit into a blended revenue model for different bloggers...

  • Dan, what's clunky about the Yahoo ads?

    As I said in my response to your comment over at the Blog Herald, PPP tainted itself by not requiring disclosure out of the gate, and those negative perceptions still persist despite changes in policy. Given the risks, trying to show how it can be done right is a non-trival commitment of time and energy, which I'm probably not prepared to commit to right now. And the risks to reputation are considerable -- my reputation is all I've got.

  • Nice post Scott. I'm curious whether there is a price and disclosure structure that even you would consider for Publishing 2.0 -- your site design could ditch those clunky "Ads by Yahoo!", but more importantly, you'd be a great example of how it could be done right...

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