For the last week or so, this question of making money from blogs has been pretty paramount in my head (for reasons which may or may not become obvious) and in the last few days they've really shifted to front of mind.
There is a lot of discussion as to whether bloggers are "selling out" if they allow advertising on their blogs. I don't think they are - I rather reluctantly added Google Ads to my main blog about five or six months ago and they've not had a negative effect on my traffic and not one person emailed me saying "I see you are selling out". Admittedly they are not going to make me a fortune but they took about ten minutes to install and I might make $50 out of them by the end of the year. Nowt really, but in my eyes money for nothing.
My amazon affiliate links make me far more money (well money in the sense of amazon gift certificates) and I can't remember the last time I actually paid for a CD, book, mp3 player, rechargeable batteries, scanner, etc etc through amazon, as I do make a healthy amount through that deal. I spose because it is almost invisible. Whenever I mention a book, DVD or CD on my blog I link to it using my own amazon affiliate URL - if someone buys the item I make some cash, even if they don't buy that item and go on to buy something else - like and iPod or digital camera - I make cash. Win, win situation there.
So these are just two small things I do which make me some "revenue".
I can't say who I've been contacted by, but lets just say that there is some media interest in this whole blogging and making money idea. Coincidentally last week CrispAds contacted me and at least one other London blog I know, saying that they have a client who may want to advertise on my main blog and how much would I want each month, how many page views do I get etc etc. I'm not really wild about the CrispAds concept and so I gave them a rather inflated figure for what I actually want to carry ads and it will be interesting to see if they come back to me.
Kris my blogging friend from Hawaii found it hard to get her head round the concept of making money through blogs and emailed me saying: "I know the large companies are interested in bloggers...but by their nature blogs are not commerical. That's what makes them so great and fun to read. Right?? So aside from advertising on the sites, or providing places for bloggers (Google and Blogger for example) how can big companies profit from blogs? Blogs are hot right now, and they all want to get on board. But if they paid us, it would change everything, yes? For instance if they paid me to write about Hawaii, I'd have to write crap about snorkel trips and stuff, right? Things tourists might want to do."
I kind of agree with that to some extent over being paid to write a blog - but then again, I've been looking at a blog for the making of a new Danny Boyle and Alex Garland film - working title - Sunshine which is written by another blogging friend of mine - Gia. Personally I think Gia has done a great job with that blog and although there's been some debate as to how much control the client should have over the blog's content - at the end of the day they are the client and are paying her to write it, but they appear to have given her a lot of artistic freedom over it - which is very brave.
Gia got a great endorsement of the film's blog by someone making a comment on the aintitcool film website and said "my interest is heightened by this blog" - surely that's all the film makers wanted - heightened interest in the film by allowing a blogger to blog about the making of the film.
So I believe you can be paid to blog and still maintain blogging integrity and still satisfy your "employers".
For something else that discusses the issues and has more of the UK cynicism and caution that I prefer, try Tim Ireland's excellent article about how blogs can make money .