New York: Zach Brooks pocketed $1,000 (Rs39,400) this month blogging about the cheap lunches he discovers around Midtown Manhattan ($10 or less, preferably greasy, and, if he is lucky, served from a truck).
The site, Midtownlunch.com, is just 18 months old and gets only about 2,000 readers daily, but it is already earning him enough each month for a weekend trip to the Caribbean—or in his case, more fat-filled culinary escapades around New York.
In the vast and varied world of blogging, Brooks is far from alone. It is no longer unusual for blogs with just a couple of thousand daily readers to earn nearly as many dollars a month.
Interesting read: Screen shot of Midtownlunch.com. The site is just 18 months old and gets about 2,000 readers daily.
Helping fill the pockets of such bloggers are programmes such as Google Inc.’s AdSense and many others that let individuals—not just major publications—tap into the rapidly growing pot of advertising dollars with a click of the mouse.
In 2006, advertisers spent $16.9 billion online, up steadily each year from $6 billion in 2002, according to the Internet Advertising Bureau.
In the first half of 2007, online advertising reached nearly $10 billion, a nearly 27% increase over the first half of 2006.
Little technical skill is needed to publish a well-read blog, meaning just about anyone with something worthwhile to say can find an audience, said Kim Malone Scott, director of online sales and operations for Google’s AdSense. That has attracted greater readership and advertising dollars, she said.
According to a 2006 survey by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, 39% of Internet users, or about 57 million American adults, said they read blogs, up from 27% in 2004, or 32 million. That does not mean bloggers are suddenly flush with money. For every blogger earning a decent side income like Brooks, countless others will never earn a cent.
But with the right mix of compelling content and exposure, a blog can draw a dedicated following, increasing advertising prospects.
“This is really a continuation of how the Web in general has enabled smaller businesses and individuals to compete if not at a level playing field, at least a more equitable level,” said David Hallerman, a senior analyst with the research group eMarketer Inc.
Google’s AdSense is an automated programme that places targeted advertising on sites big and small. Other programmes such as PayPerPost are just as user-friendly; bloggers sign up and advertisers pick and choose where they want to place ads based on categories and the number of impressions a site captures.
BlogAds, which helps advertisers target relevant blogs for a commission, prices ads by the week, with sites tiered by the amount of traffic they get.
When the company started in 2002, its founder Henry Copeland said it was mainly small advertisers selling T-shirts or promoting bands. Now he said “there’s no big brand that doesn’t advertise on everyday blogs.”