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Scoble, Kawasaki and Godin Score "D-" For Blog Monetization



Over at BlogKits, Jim Kukral asks why popular bloggers like Robert Scoble, Jason Calacanis, Mark Cuban, Guy Kawasaki & Seth Godin aren’t doing a better job of monetizing their traffic?

It’s a great question and one that Jim asked of many other bloggers, including me…

I certainly think that Guy and Seth are mostly leveraging their blogs for promoting their own books, so it may not make sense to distract readers by including ads for other sites. In the case of Robert, Jason and Mark, I think they should definitely consider better ways to monetize their incredible traffic. If nothing else, they should look to include ads for their own companies – podtech, mavericks/HDnet etc. With the traffic levels they have, each could easily make $10k+ per month in advertising revenue. I bet Scoble could add 4 125×125’s and get $10k each, without too much effort on his part.

See what others had to say about the subject.

  • breakingranks

    Two questions come to mind.

    First, would overt monetization decrease credibility, ultimately decrease traffic, and thus fritter away any future opportunity to financially exploit popular blogs?

    Second, I know it’s been said a thousand times, but why is your blogger “it list” all male?

    I found something recently that shows how the boys club is actually functioning. Scoble relentlessly promotes the NewsGator feed reader. The NewsGator feed reader promotes Scoble by giving his blog an easy check off box as people register for their service. Scoble gets primary visiblity, and his blog is overtly labeled “popular”. Moreover, if the people who register for NewsGator aren’t particularly technical and have better things to do with their lives than to manually add feeds, then these upfront checkboxes may be the *only* feeds that get read.

    As they say on K Street, it’s all about access.

    Recently I noticed a new blog/news aggregation site uses a particular (male) individual’s blog as an example in their FAQs – again, free publicity.

    I think this problem has something to do with the way web start-ups are funded. New social media sites are buttering up big name male bloggers because these men are somehow perceived as gates to funding in offline social circles.

    This is strange, since in my experience it’s mostly the women at tech gatherings who are actively introducing people to each other. Why is this seen as less of a gateway to funding than promotion of male bloggers?

    Another possibility is that men might be less hesitant about badmouthing people, and thus their approval needs to be bought. Women, on the other hand, are rapidly excluded from tech circles if they say anything critical, simply because this makes the men “uncomfortable”.

  • http://www.marketingpilgrim.com Andy Beal

    It’s a little too late in the day for me to get into a male vs. female blogger debate, but you raise an interesting point. One thing, not many “A-list” female bloggers spring to mind (maybe Michelle Malkin or Anne Marie Cox).
    Also, Scoble no longer promotes NewsGator, he ditched it for Google Reader. ;-)

  • breakingranks

    Thanks for letting me know about Scoble’s news reader switch. I guess that reveals how closely I follow the male A-list! I was led astray by the fact NewsGator still manages the blogroll in his sidebar.

    As for female bloggers, I think the lack of name recognition and the blog name-dropping are both feeding into the problem. The more you mention the guys who are already prominent, the less chance the women have of catching up. I have seen some overt mentions of Gina Trapani (Lifehacker), and it heartens me to see the A-Listers making a conscious attempt to remedy the situation. However, Trapani is sponsored by the male-owned Gawker and her subject matter is “soft” tech – she’s domesticated. Ariana is notorious, but she’s more of an online media mogul than what I’d think of as a “blogger”.

  • http://www.marketingpilgrim.com Andy Beal

    Not that I disagree with your points on the focus on male bloggers – Jim’s post looked at prominent bloggers that were not monetizing their site. Do you know of any female bloggers that fit that description?

  • breakingranks

    Here are a few female bloggers that don’t monetize much:

    Annatopia: http://www.annatopia.com/

    Kathy Sierra of Creating Passionate Users: http://headrush.typepad.com/

    Bag and Baggage (Denise Howell) – http://bgbg.blogspot.com/

    Ryanne Hodson’s video blog – http://ryanedit.blogspot.com/

    Majikthise – http://majikthise.typepad.com/majikthise_/ (some AdSense and Amazon)

    I’m not sure how monetized Esther Dyson’s blog is (beyond self-promotion) – but she’s a high profile women who is blogging that comes to mind. Her old site seems to be down, and instead she’s blogging under the (highly monetized) cover of ZDNet and HuffPo.

    Firedoglake (http://www.firedoglake.com/) is probably a good example of female bloggers who’ve gone whole hog with monetization. Dooce, Echidne, Althouse, and some other women I can think of off hand have quite a few ads as well.

    I have a LiveJournal that has a lot of traffic but low Technorati authority because of lack of inbound links: I chose to stick with LiveJournal precisely because it was a guarantee that I wasn’t blogging for commercial purposes. However, other bloggers are loathe to treat LiveJournal as a host for important blogs – which is sad given that it’s such a popular host for women. (I’m not going to name it because I don’t want to exploit this thread for self-promotion.)

    You can find many, many blogs maintained by women on the BlogHer web site:
    http://blogher.org/bloghers-blogrolls

  • http://www.jimkukral.com Jim Kukral

    “First, would overt monetization decrease credibility, ultimately decrease traffic, and thus fritter away any future opportunity to financially exploit popular blogs?”

    Well, not if done correctly I don’t believe. These bloggers have tremendous pull and brands. Calacanis is already ready to give 1 years worth of 3 premium ad spots on his blog for a $100k donation to a school near him, just because of putting this idea in his head.

    Can he get that much? I think he can. Let’s get those kids that money. More here.

  • http://25cents.wordpress.com Corinne

    1) I’m female.
    2) I’m not that prolific a blogger — but I want to be. I run two blogs.
    3) What about Heather Armstrong? http://www.dooce.com She’s one of my favorites.
    4) I have a reasonable amount of traffic to 25 cents, and while monetizing my traffic is an attractive option — does it really have to be all about the money? Maybe it’s a function of my space in the blogosphere at the moment — I’m not well-known; I don’t get 7k+ visitors a day; I’m still starting out — but I blog for the sake of blogging. Not to blog for the sake of making money off of my traffic.

  • http://www.jimkukral.com Jim Kukral

    That’s a great list of female bloggers, I’ll try to promote those blogs in the future, thanks.

    Corinne, Dooce is a pro, she makes a living off of her blogging income through Federated Media, she supports her family directly from that. Unlike the guys I mentioned, who do not.

  • http://25cents.wordpress.com Corinne

    Jim, I sit corrected. Thank you for that information.