Breaking Out Blogger “Pay”

Fred Wilson sparked a nice conversation about how many bloggers get “paid” when people leaving comments, and how this payment system is breaking down as blog content and comments becomes splattered over the Web through services such as Friendster and Shyftr.

While the idea of “blogger” and “getting paid” are an oxymoron to the vast majority of bloggers, Fred does put the spotlight on how bloggers are compensated for pounding away day after day.

1. Advertising: If you’re lucky (like Fred) and get enough traffic, you’ll get to run advertising other than AdSense, and maybe generate enough revenue to treat yourself to a nice dinner every so often. For 99% of bloggers, AdSense is it so, for example, your blog gets 1,000 page views/day, you’re looking at about $30/month in revenue, although it could be higher if you’re in a niche such as digital cameras.

2. Comments: If you’re not into blogging for the money, comments are the reward. There’s nothing more disheartening to write something brilliant and/or provocative, but have no one comment while some off-the-cuff post written by Robert Scoble is pounded with comments.

As Fred points out, comments are happening in many places other than blogs so bloggers aren’t aware of comments being made. As well, comments are becoming more difficult to attract because the comment-erati (aka people who leave comments) are being wooed by Friendfeed, Twitter, etc.

3. Tips: In theory, a good concept based on the idea that if someone likes your blog, they will tip you. Reality: it doesn’t work. Tipjoy, which offers a tip widget, has attracted 7736 tips worth a whopping $2683.51 for bloggers since February – or less than $25/day.

4. Branding and profile: Like those Mastercard commercials, it’s hard to place a value on a blog that raises your profile and personal brand.

For more, check out Steve Hodson, who suggests that WordPress should acquired Disqus, which is attracting a growing number of bloggers with its comment service. A WordPress-Disqus deal makes sense given WordPress has lots of cash to make acquisitions, and Disqus is a cool service with, to date, no business plan. For more on Disqus, check out this Q&A that I did with co-founder Daniel Ha. Stowe Boyd also offers some good insight on Fred’s post.

More: For more thoughts on comment copyright, check out Hank Williams.

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  • Cyndy Aleo-Carreira

    Your compatriot Matthew was just nattering on about the comments being payment. I LOVE comments, but they don’t buy me coffee. Now I’m wondering if maybe I should just give people the option of buying me T. Ho’s gift cards?

  • Mark Evans

    In an ideal world, bloggers want comments AND advertising revenue. For any blogger running ads, it clearly means they want to make some money otherwise why run them.

  • Ivan Kirigin

    Hi, I’m cofounder of Tipjoy.

    It is way early to declare that the Tipjoy model doesn’t work. We only have a few hundred sites using it right now.

    The model where fans of content directly supporting it is not new at all. It is millennia old, and is much simpler than Ad support.

    By working to improve the social side of Tipjoy, we think we can make a better service. We’ll broadcast who is supporting a piece of content, and what other content a given user supports. Think about it from the bloggers perspective: the subset of readers who think you’re good enough to support with money are your most valuable readers. They might not engage in comments, or make themselves known – but they matter.

    I tend to also agree about the value of comments. I think Disqus is an amazing service. We actually use it on Tipjoy. I’d love to feed to and from the comment streams on sites that use Disqus.

    I’d also like to make it easy to directly give back to commenters. Some comments are definitely tippable :)

  • Lisa Cremer

    Hello Mark,

    As an alternative revenue stream: we at feel part of the articles on a weblog could very well be sold, so we developed a special service (a 100% free).

    With, you can sell articles on any weblog. We host the secure part of your article, but all formatting and
    functionality stays the same. You don’t need to have a PayPal or Google Checkout account or send articles manually.
    And, of course, you can also sell many other digital goods.

    Lisa Cremer