How you kill the blogosphere – with money

I’ve said time and time again that our blogosphere has a dearth of quality, original content. My search for a credible, original tech voice certainly proves it.

Was looking for a tech blogger to work with me on a project. So I trawled PPS, Googled, ask for referrals from people in the know and came to these conclusions about a lot of so-called local tech bloggers:

1. Half can’t spell. Or construct paragraphs without at least three grammatical errors.
2. Half can’t choose original blog templates and instead copy their compatriots’. Same subject matter, same blog template, what is going to differentiate you from everyone else?
3. Some think blogging is copying press releases or linking to them.
4. Half copy another blog’s writing style and come off sounding like advertorials.

And instead of celebrating technology, reveling in innovation, proving useful sources, 70 percent of them are doing it just for the money.

Part of that is because blogging can be a potential revenue stream. Doesn’t help that paid bloggers share the love with other bloggers and talk about how so-and-so ad company paid them XXX money for an advertorial. "Wah, you know so-and-so just sits at home making money from blogging one ah?"

And they all want to get on the blogging bandwagon. They all feel entitled to get paid ludicrous amounts of money to say the exact same thing another blogger is saying.

No, you can’t throw stones at me because hey, look, no ads on my site. Not now, probably never will be.

You guys have it good right now but how long is the cash cow going to last? Seriously, you can’t call a blog much of a blog if it’s nothing but paid advertorials one after another.

Now, there’s another kind of paid blogger I do respect. The ones who are hired to write for big networks like b5media who get paid per post. No, not to pimp stuff on PayPerPost but write actual news on niche subjects, getting paid for relevant and read-worthy stuff.

Like the guys on WoW Insider. Or Engadget. Or my personal favourite, The Register. People on those big network sites are paid anything from US$5 to $15 per post. Posts that reflect news or opinions, not just pimping advertisers.

Tech blogger Robert Scoble has ads but not ZOMG A MILLION OF THEM WHEREVER THEY MAY FIT. 

So please, Malaysian bloggers, don’t just read each other’s posts and ape them. Try coming up with your own ideas, your own niche and not some SEO crap.

This is a public service message from someone sick of all the crap on PPS.

16 thoughts on “How you kill the blogosphere – with money

  1. So you have the likes of nuffnang and advertlets to thank for polluting the blogosphere with rubbish.
    Most even don’t dare to fully voice their opinion anymore because they’re afraid of pissing off potential advertorial income.

  2. Lays

    Hi, I’m not sure what sort of tech blogger you are looking for but i do know someone who blogs with quality content.
    You can find his blogs here.
    He setup a tech blog on software development & innovation for BT Malaysia but i’ve lost the link.

  3. Spot on. Whenever I come across these kind of websites, I quickly move on without even reading them. They are just scraping away other original content hoping in getting a quick buck. It’s really appalling. In words of Priam, “Have you no honor?”.

  4. I’m still ad free since 2004! 🙂

  5. Giant Sotong

    The tech news category got old when sites like Engadget and Lifehacker emerged. The challenge now is to offer something they don’t have. I am not optimistic.

  6. I’ve always wondered how these professional blogs (I mean the ones in the States, not the Malaysian ones) earn their income. Google Adsense? Ultimately, they rely on advertising too, don’t they? The big difference is that one provides real content, the other only hackey stuff to earn clicks via PPS.

  7. Karcy – Some are PAID to blog the same way that the rest of us a paid to do a job. It is often difficult to spot, but a lot of US bloggers who sing the praises of companies are no more than employees of those companies.

  8. Dabido: I KNOW. I am NOT DUMB.
    But where does the money COME FROM?
    If you work for a magazine, you are paid because of the earnings from the magazine’s subscription of sales. A blog is free. I read Kotaku. All the stuff is available FOC. Where does Kotaku get its money?

  9. Karcy, its actually quite obvious: advertising. High traffic = mucho eyeballs = eyeballs advertisers are willing to pay for. Then again, in kotaku’s case, could be they’re riding on cash from gawker’s other sites, prolly the giz for example, until they feel they achieve the traffic level they need to demand for premium ad rates.

  10. Yeah…that’s going to be a problem. Regardless of how good the content of a blog is, if the advertising bubble bursts, it bursts. There’s some talk that it might come soon, but no real worries at the moment.
    I’m on Livejournal, and there’s a lot of talk if the whole monetizing social media thing is hitting its peak.

  11. Erna

    Shadowfox: Heh, don’t blame them too much. Why do you think the media is what it is now in Malaysia? Always so scared of pissing the mighty advertisers off. Won’t name names, but advertisers are king in the country to the extent they will rip out ads at the tiniest slight.
    Lays: Thanks for the tip, but the blogger is moving overseasleh. 🙁
    Fadhli: Yalor, tak reti fikir sendiri. Not a case of missing honour, but missing creativity.
    Sotong: Aiya, nothing wrong with a wee bit of optimism…;)
    Karcy: Yeah, it’s ads and also seed funding. In the earlier part, those sites usually have a little money to help with initial costs. You’d be surprised how much AdSense can bring in if you’ve an understanding of how keywords and SEO works…
    Dabs: That happens more often than not, I guess.
    DC: Yeah and Google! Premium ad rates help but AdSense really pays if you can sustain your GoogleRank.

  12. Karcy –
    ‘Dabido: I KNOW. I am NOT DUMB.
    But where does the money COME FROM?’
    lol I have to laugh at what you said.
    Like I said they are paid by the company the same way any other employee is paid. That is their job. Where does the money come from? The company, same as any other company employees salary comes from.
    The bloggers I’m referring to get up in the morning, go to work (same as everyone else), go into their employers building (same as everyone else) and sit at a desk in front of a computer and get given stuff from their managers to tell them what to blog about.
    They then write their blog post, send it to their manager for approval. Once approved it gets placed on the blog as though it was any regular blogger writing a post about something they support. BUT, it is part of the marketing machine of the company.
    Where does the money come from? The same place all marketing money comes from, the marketing budget. It’s no more than another marketing tool being used to spread company propaganda.

  13. When I started, I had delusions of setting up a tech blog. But finally I realized, I neither had the time or interest in doing it. It was far more fun reading about them. Plus I don’t think I can write half as good.

  14. Heh, what ads?
    Just use Firefox 3.x and install Adblock Plus.

  15. Dabido:
    “it is part of the marketing machine of the company. Where does the money come from? The same place all marketing money comes from, the marketing budget. It’s no more than another marketing tool being used to spread company propaganda.”
    I think that’s the only part when you came close to answering my question. I *do* know that people wake up and get paid to write, enter an office (or not), send their stuff for approval, etc. At least check a person’s journal link before you reply; I’m not the kind of person who need a primer guide to tell me what professional blogs are like beyond Malaysia.
    My question is really getting at another question: how sustainable are these professional blogs? This is an economic question.
    I can understand something like WoW Insider being a marketing end by Blizzard. But what about something like Kotaku, which is (for the most part) fairly neutral? Does a site like Kotaku rely on advertising alone? What about all the other Gawker sites?
    If any of these sites are sustained by the advertising business cycle, then simple knowledge of economics will tell you that it’s not going to last and that it’s going to burst — or at least peter out after peak point (which many people believe it already has). If something like Kotaku is a paid mouthpiece for some company’s PR (which doesn’t suprise me) then we’re dealing with another issue: journalistic integrity. I’m not concerned with the latter as I am with the former.
    Unless you’re among the group of people who believe that any way of making money is a good way of making money, then you’d be concerned about sustainability. Ultimately, if the bottomline is still supported by advertising, then the model is going to cave in along with the crapola PPS ad-splattered personal blogs. The only difference between them is that one provides interesting content whereas the other doesn’t.
    “Where does the money come from?” isn’t a simplistic qestion. It’s the premise for the study of economics.

  16. There’s also advertorials, and paid editorial work creating supplements, copywriting for ads etc. You can even do 3rd party surveys for vendors on their behalf, and get paid for that.
    For example, Intel outsources some of the work done to get the competition benchmark scores seen on their powerpoint slides trumpeting the benefits of their latest chips. And who does the outsourced work? Media. These chaps just dont publish their results, but rather leave it to Intel to do with the data as they wish.
    Many other ways you can supplement your company’s income, other than just blogging. Of course, im simply applying the basic few things most print publishers do anyway, to the idea that is blogging.

Leave a Reply