Friday, August 13, 2010

And now for a commercial break

mad men barbie/amc

Just a quick post to flag a few changes to frockwriter. First up, as you will see, a slightly tweaked template. Please bear with me as I iron out the bugs. Secondly, back on July 4 I mentioned that frockwriter might one day go pro. Well this is that day - at least, for a trial period. To the right, you will notice a new addition to the layout: our first ad. In the interests of transparency, I just wanted to clarify a few points upfront. In so doing, I am not attempting to criticise choices made by any other bloggers. People make their own decisions, based on their own circumstances and business models. So here goes.

• This is a real ad – as distinct from a mockup, designed to show advertisers what their ads could look like. 
• This is a bona fide display ad. It is not affiliate marketing - or in other words, a free display ad that offers rewards (ie a small percentage of sales) following click-through sales of products to readers. 
• All advertising arrangements are managed by a third party. I have no direct contact with the advertiser.
• The display ad is the extent of the commercial arrangement. There will be no hidden extras, no sponsored links within the blog's content, no sponsored posts and no personal endorsements. What you see is what you get. is my advertising partner.

A pioneering Australian digital publisher that has been operating since 2004, Pagesdigital recently approached me with a view to selling advertising on frockwriter. It seemed like a good fit and so here we go. I approve the creative, but Pagesdigital otherwise handles everything to do with the advertising. There is no consultancy over content. Frockwriter remains completely independent.

Over the past two years I have been approached by multiple parties with commercial proposals. These have included several prestige online retailers which of course have to pay for display advertising on more established online outlets, offering affiliate marketing opportunities; several content aggregators (those polite enough to ask - as many other bloggers would be aware, others just take without asking); and one media player who approached me to supply content for their new online news venture - with the caveat that frockwriter would need to be off the air if I was involved because, they argued, "we wouldn't want to have to compete with you for the best content".

Just on affiliate marketing, for the uninitiated, it is estimated that a very high percentage of what looks like real advertising on fashion blogs is in fact affiliate marketing. Obviously this arrangement suits some people - notably advertisers. I'm not convinced it's a great arrangement for bloggers.

Like a small percentage of bloggers, I also happen to be a professional journalist who normally makes a living selling news to mainstream media outlets - which in turn, sell advertising around that content.

I would actually prefer to have no advertising at all on the blog.

For the moment, however, advertising appears to be a fact of life if publishing is to be sustainable. Because when you break it down, 30 news stories of 200-400 words apiece blogged over the course of a month – and there are months in which I write more than this – equate to 6,000-12,000 words. That’s a hell of a lot of content to be giving away to not only readers, but mainstream outlets that pay staff and freelance contributors to generate content - and which regularly pick up this blog's stories.

It’s been great building an online brand for the past two years. No idea, frankly, where it is heading but I felt this was a step in the right direction. If you enjoy reading this blog and you would like to continue having it as a news resource, then I hope you do too.

Thanks once again for your interest. On with the show.

3 comments: said...

i love that you chose a read head in your photo although she could have had short hair :D

Anonymous said...

I've always been curious about the profitability (or lack thereof) in blogging. How much revenue can an average blog generate?

Patty Huntington said...

anina - it's joan holloway from mad men (advertising, geddit).

anon - very good question and clearly i'm not the right person to ask.

(australian) darren rowse over at problogger has, however, carved a niche out of instructing people how to do it, claiming to have earned a six figure income from blogging since 2005. one of his e-books is in fact called 'secrets for blogging your way to a six-figure income'. it depends how you approach it. he advocates the use of google ads, which i have avoided because i personally think they're ugly and cheapen the look of a blog. difference horses for different courses of course. and, since i have not earned a cent out of blogging in two years, what would i know? probably not much.

blogging is just another form of publishing or broadcasting. revenue is tied up with the size and quality of the audience, the quality of the content - and of course what the market is prepared to pay for visibility in that space.

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