Goatriders of the Apocalypse

On blogging, part 2

I've written on this topic before but it's an interesting and an important one.

Imagine, if you will, that blogging about the Cubs could eventually lead you to make enough money to pay for a trip to Chicago! Imagine that blogging about the Cubs could give you cash in hand to buy your coveted Milton Bradley jersey.

That's the sort of thing that happens when you start advertising for the ticket brokers.  What they don't mention in the fine print is that you will also be giving them a tiny piece of your soul.  If you look around at your favorite blogs, you might notice that some of them have ticket broker ads.  Lots and lots of ticket broker ads.  They might have so many ticket broker ads, in fact, that they could be raking in thousands of dollars a year.  Seriously.

If you look around GROTA, you'll see that their presence on this blog is minimal.  That's because text link ads are The Devil.  They detract from the value of your blog, and if you ever have any hopes of selling serious ad space to serious companies, if they take one look at your blog and see text links everywhere they will never drop dollar one on you.

In other words, because of our unconventional stance when it comes to ads, we're very, very poor.  Destitute in fact.  Can we sleep on your couch for a night or two?  We promise we'll be quiet at night.

Anyway, since we don't expect you to take the same hard line as we do when it comes to selling ads, keep a few things in mind.  1. When the broker contacts you with an offer, it doesn't hurt to shoot for the moon.  $500 for 5 text links should be  your starting offer.  Maybe they'll say "no thanks," but at least you'll get a better idea about what your blog is worth.  2. Don't bother talking with other blogs about this sort of thing.  I don't know why, but most bloggers really want to make it clear that it's none of your friggin' business.  (Seriously.  EMail Al Yellon and ask him what kind of coin he makes on his blog.  The guy just might challenge you to a fist fight or something.)  Consequently, most blogs really come nowhere near being paid their worth.  3. Never sell ads for longer than a year.  If you're serious about it, do it by the month.  And when Year 2 rolls around, always charge more.

Keep these tips in mind and you'll be traveling to Chicago to buy your Bradley jersey in no time.  But all the while, remember one thing: when you whore out  your blog to the brokers, just like the redneck with uncut grass and a car in the front lawn, you're driving down the value of all the other blogs around you.  Serious companies will never consider us if we constantly short-value ourselves.  But don't worry - the blogger capitalist revolution is coming.  Mark my words.

Kurt, I trust you that these

Kurt, I trust you that these are good opinions for a long-term blog, but how many blogs are long-term endeavors? Very, very few. Most people start a blog, write a post or two and never go back. Sometimes a Cubs blog may last as long as 3 or 4 months and then it's gone. Sometimes a year. Most people just don't want to spend the time after awhile to keep up what they set out to do. This is understandable, and it makes your advice rather poor in my opinion. GROTA has been around for what, 5 years? 6 years? How many Cubs blogs were around then that are still around today and how many are under the same "ownership"?

We began ACB 5 years ago and this blog is about the only I can think of that is still operating as it was when we began. TCR is under new ownership. There were about 50 Cubs blogs or more when ACB started and there are about 50 today. In 5 more years there will be very few blogs around that were around today, but there will still be 50 of them.

In order to profit under the advice you have given, a blog is going to have to be around at least a couple of years in the first place and then it's going to take smaller profits than it otherwise could by selling those text links. And then in all likelihood the person who started the blog will quit, if he hasn't done so 3 or 4 years earlier.

As said, I have no doubt that this advice is good for those blogs that know they will be around in another 5 or 10 years, but even though ACB has been around 5 years now, I could shut the place down tomorrow. That's not at all likely, but as they say with regards to injuries, ACB is day to day. Most blogs aren't even that.

I don't have and nor should I have an interest in reducing my income from the blog now when I have no long-term plan for the site. I couldn't imagine still doing this 5 years ago and I can't for the life of me imagine me still doing this in another 5 years. I'd put the odds of me doing it another 5 years are quite slim.

So I guess the information that you should consider providing here is how much money you make now that you have removed almost all of the text links and how long it has taken you to earn this as well as how much you would likely have earned by keeping the text links and presumably adding another one or two to the ones you had.

ACB generated approximately $5000 in 2008. About half of that was from text links. It's awfully hard to decline $300, $400, or $500 when they come offering. Despite that income, 2008 was the year in which I finally saw all of my investment in the blog returned to me with a little left for a profit. Thanks to you for hooking me up with Kevin to redesign the site, I've reduced my monthly fees from about $150 to $160 down to about $15 per month. I wasn't paying that $150 per month all the years of the blog, but the last 18 months or so I was and that adds up.

What I'm wondering here is if you have any idea yet how the loss of that $2500 in text link revenues can be made up and how quickly it can be made up. If I'm going to lose that $2500 and not be able to get it back for 3 or 4 years, I have no interest in letting those go since I have no idea how long I'll do this blogging thing. Can I get that $2500 back this coming year? From what I've gather from reading this and from an email or two you sent me, that is not the case. It sounds as if it would take at least a couple years to get that money back and probably even more than that.

I guess I just don't think this is good advice for most people as most people will only have a blog a short period of time. If I intended to be around another 10 or 20 years I would begin taking your advice today, but I don't even know if I'll be around in a month, let alone 10 or 20 years.

I would also say that 99.9% of the people who begin blogs never even get the chance to make money. Sure, there's some decent money to be made that makes it worth your time to keep doing it, but it takes a long time for that to happen.

Maddog, I defer to myself

"Anyway, since we don't expect you to take the same hard line as we do when it comes to selling ads, keep a few things in mind. 1. When the broker contacts you with an offer, it doesn't hurt to shoot for the moon. $500 for 5 text links should be your starting offer. Maybe they'll say "no thanks," but at least you'll get a better idea about what your blog is worth."

I know people aren't going to take the same stance as us. I liken the typical approach to "driving down propery value" but I know it's extremely common ... hence, the actual advice I give is "gouge 'em for as much as they're willing to give you."

Oops. I remember reading

Oops. I remember reading that now that you quoted it. I still think it's important to recognize that you need a long-term plan doing it your way as opposed to the way places like ACB or BTF do it. I'm not comparing ACB to BTF by any means, but they have a lot of text link ads on their site and it's also a site that will probably be around longer than most any individual team blog.

As I said, I'd take your advice if I thought we'd be around that long, but I have no clue how long I'll do this.

Do or Die

Actually it's way more complicated than Kurt explains here, the real logic is a whole book. The biggest obstacle GROTA has faced in bulking up revenues is the tempation of that $500 offer, and when you take money from little fish the big fish don't want to know you, there is no middle ground compromise. If you want to make money you need to deal with the right people, plain and simple.

You're right to say it's a long-term plan though, but any business plan should be long-term. The quick bucks route for a short lived site? If that works for you then so be it, but it isn't a viable long-term business plan.

Business Plan

It's not a viable big money long term plan... but it can be a viable smaller money longish term plan.

Also the work/reward of taking the broker's money is much better.

The full time effort required to maintain a site like GROTA's is substantially more than some of the small fries... and yet GROTA needs to steer clear of the brokers for a while and then get the attention of a major advertiser. There's a lot of risk in that, but we'll see if the reward is there or not.

Well, keep your fingers

Well, keep your fingers crossed. I've cast a few lines... maybe we'll catch a fish or two.

I would agree with that

I would agree with that entirely, Kevin. I do own a business and I can tell you that I would not consider running that business as I do ACB. ACB is mostly just for fun and if I can get some money while doing it, all the better. Most importantly, I just don't know how long it will be around. And I think that is true with 99.9% of blogs. I think there are few that should consider a long-term plan.

That being said, I wish you and GROTA the best of luck at accomplishing your goals. They're just not the goals for me and many other bloggers.

Sorry for the very long

Sorry for the very long comment there.

Making Green

I'm with Maddog. The other thing of note is that as long as Google still likes your site, the brokers will too... so an old blog still has income potential.

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