Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Voices from The Blog Business Summit 2005

(Initially posted at AlwaysOn)

I'm sitting here at the first Blog Business Summit in Seattle. The conference is "okay" with some interesting information scattered throughout. So far about half the sessions are too basic for my taste. General overviews of building blogs, traffic, etc. Here are some good reviews and live blogs of the sessions at these sites:

Jeff Barr's Blog
Down The Avenue (direct example here)
Tris Hussey's Blog

One idea emphasized here is that the "heart and soul" of making money through blogging is Google's AdSense program. Most of us see Google's AdWords on our gmail accounts, blogs, and corporate sites. We know the click through rates are significantly higher than typical graphic ads (i.e. less than 1% vs. 5%... i think that's right), which is part of Google's success. But did you know AdSense is the engine of growth within the budding blogosphere? I hope it won't be the only engine, but for now it's helping to fuel the growth of the next stage of the blogosphere.

An underground economy fueled the growth of online gaming worldwide. Selling weapons and characters from NCsoft's Lineage in Asia or Blizzard's Diablo II on auction sites or third-party sites managing only these types of transactions helped to create this addiction for teens and twentysomethings. Along more similar lines with Google and the blogosphere, eBay created a mini-economy for the long tail. Millions of people made money through selling random stuff and symbiotic companies like AuctionDrop were created. Blogs with a monetary focus are the AuctionDrops of the Google economy. If you haven't tried to set up an AdSense account or even purchase AdWords, try it out if you have time. It's pretty cool and even amazing when you think about how timely and complementary these programs are with the rapid growth of blogs and blogging.

Matt Haughey, Creative Director at Creative Commons and blogger at PVRblog, wrote a well-known post within the blogosphere at his personal blog called "Blogging for Dollars" where he states:

"I launched PVRblog publicly on July 16th with half a dozen posts, then announced it on my personal blog. In a matter of hours, dozens of other sites linked to it, the site ascended Daypop and Blogdex's lists, and all told the debut was a big success.

Late that night I remembered the ads and logged into my Adsense account to see how the day went. I clicked over to reports to see the activity. From approximately 3,000 visits (not too shabby at all), enough people clicked through that I made $40 in the first 24 hours. The first thought that came to mind was this:

Great googly-moogly, holy crap. Crap, crap, crap. What the hell just happened? What did I do? What does this mean for weblogs? Would the world be covered in textads when I tell people about this? Shit!

To say the least, I was a bit freaked out. I was measuring everything in increments of $20, hoping to make my monthly hosting and in one day I had enough to pay for two months of hosting. The next day brought another month of paid hosting, and this continued until a few days later I was a Yahoo pick for new site of the day and it resulted in twice the traffic I'd seen so far and over $100 in click-thrus came in during a 24 hour period.
Google doesn't get much credit for what it has done to revitalize online advertising. Google's textads aren't just a great technology because they are less of a hassle for readers (compared to micropayments or banner/popup/popunder ads), they are also better than any other textads I've ever seen...." (full post)

Anyway, I should get back to the conference session. More later.

Also my column will be up next week due to the World Economic Forum video blogging this week, which is very cool. Check it out!

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