Like so much else on the internet, blogging did not start as a means of making money; it just sort of evolved that way. Many people live the big dream simply by spending several hours a week writing about a subject they are passionate about. The big stars, the uber bloggers, drink fine wines, dine on epicurean delights, travel on exotic vacations, and live in the house of their dreams. Who will be the next to pick up this rare baton?
The answer may surprise you. Uber people are accidents – accidents of nature, circumstance, or just being at the right place at the right time being or doing the right thing. They are better known as super people, but really, the word “user” takes it up a notch or two. I think of supermodels as being accidents of nature, being tall, thin, and beautiful. Often their parents display none of these attributes. Similarly, super bloggers rose to their status somewhat accidentally and blogging about a topic they are passionate about. The ones we know about typically are in the field of blogging itself. Still, many are bringing in decent coin blogging about subjects you and I are hardly aware of… and then, there is a handful or two that wear the title “Uber” – that’s super on steroids.
I Think think of Danielle Friedland, who was the first and original celebrity baby blogger. People Inc. acquired Danielle’s blog for an undisclosed sum. In the semantics of the corporate world, “undisclosed” can be read as big-time dough! Hardly a household name, Danielle went through blogging portals to be one of the first uber bloggers.
In his recent keynote address at the Blogworld Expo, Richard Jalichandra, CEO of Technorati, gave some interesting statistics, the number one being that 72% of bloggers are still just blogging for fun. He calls them hobbyists. What was telling about this statistic, according to Jalichandra, is that 50% of these hobbyists are hoping to make money from their blog “sometime.”
That means that 28% of our blog for money. We are the professional bloggers. The exact number of bloggers is hard, if not impossible, to pin down. Applying blogs in existence as a measure to start from does not play out well considering that many professional bloggers own a portfolio of these online money machines that number in the tens of tens, and some even in the hundreds. I don’t think that I would be far wrong, however, if I said that professional bloggers are somewhere in the MILLIONS. The numbers can be quite daunting. The next statistic that completely blew me away is that of the professional bloggers, 17% cite blogging as their primary income source. That would be in the hundreds of thousands!
There was no shortage of other numerical statistics in Jalichandra’s address that are most interesting. However, what caught my undivided attention was something that we already suspected, and that is that blogging has changed the profile of media and how it plays out daily. The influence has on our daily lives. If a book on this hasn’t been written yet, I am sure it won’t be long before someone like Malcolm Gladwell writes one in his inimitable Tipping Point style. It’s right up his alley.
Increasingly people are sourcing out the internet for information, and blog readership is on the rise. It is safe to assume that by their sheer numbers, blogs present a far more varied perspective on any given topic and open the reader’s mind to the optional thought that is not readily available through mainstream media. Interesting thought, that.
Another important factor is that today blogging is a useful marketing tool to promote just about anything you want under the sun. Online and offline online is quickly beginning to blur as online marketing is often employed to draw traffic and sales to traditionally offline businesses. Politics and politicians have cottoned on to this new phenomenon. Indeed, Obama’s win in the last US Presidential election is deemed largely to have succeeded due to the deployment of strategic online tactics. The celebrity-awed who cannot get through the day without a dose of news on the comings and goings of their favorite rock or movie star glom on to the internet with feverish tenacity to make their otherwise ordinary life complete.
What it all boils down to is this… “Yes, Virginia, there is money in them than blogging hills.”
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In his closing remarks, Jalichandra went on to say that of the uber bloggers, that’s those who make the megabucks in this business, most did not start with the idea of making money. They blogged about something that they were passionate about, and somewhere along the way, they decided that hey, maybe an ad or two might bring in some money… and the rest, as they say, is history.
What is interesting about this last soupcon of information is that somewhere amongst the bazillion of blogger hobbyists – the 50% of them who say that they hope to make some money from their blogs someday, yes, one of them – there is sure to be one of them who will rise not just to the rank of a professional blogger, not to super blogger, but to that of uber-blogger. The question then goes begging: who will be the next Danielle, and what will be the topic that will capture the collective minds of the internet voyeurs.