Most people blog for vanity: They like having their "voice" broadcast worldwide over the Internet. Few seem to blog for money, but that is beginning to change.
You hear of people losing their jobs because of their racy, tell-all blogs, but you rarely hear about people quitting their day jobs to turn a blogging obsession into a profession. But some who have made that career switch find they make more money in a week than they had in a year with their regular jobs. So how do you make your blog profitable?
Amanda Congdon, 24, one of the co-founders of Rocketboom.com, a video blog (vlog) that charges advertisers up to $85,000 a week to put their message on the site. Rocketboom launched in 2004 and now gets 300,000 viewers a day.
Rocketboom, a three-minute daily vlog based in New York City, has a feel not unlike Jon Stewart's "The Daily Show" -- current events with a humorous edge.
Congdon sits behind the news desk, in front of a world map, as if she's going to report hard-hitting news, but when she starts talking, she is everything but a typical news anchor: Her eyes pop with expression, her content is quirky and her hand gestures animated. It's a site that has figured out not only how to entertain the tech-savvy, Internet audience but also how to make a profit.
Some of the advertising is integrated into the content. In one vlog cast, Congdon wears a black T-shirt with white lettering that reads "Mac Chick" -- a shout-out to Apple Computers.
In February Rocketboom sold advertising space on eBay to the highest bidder, for $40,000. That auction winner, TRM, an ATM and photocopy services firm, received five new commercials, 15 to 60 seconds in length, created by Rocketboom. The spots aired on the site for one week. The five original advertisements linked to the sponsor's Web site, and they live on in Rocketboom's archived Web pages.
After selling a couple of successful ad campaigns, Rocketboom is now selling ad space on a sliding scale, based on a company's annual gross revenue. For instance, if the company has an AGR of $100 million or more, an ad campaign produced by Rocketboom would cost $85,000 for a five-day run.
One of the world's most famous corporate bloggers, Robert Scoble, began blogging about his employer, Microsoft Corp., in 2000, to create greater transparency within the firm.
At Microsoft, Scoble acted as a reporter, exposing the thinking -- good and bad -- of more than 700 employees through video interviews that he made available on a blog called Channel 9.
While most corporate bloggers get a pink slip when an employer discovers their corporate blogs, Microsoft founder Bill Gates liked the idea and let Scoble continue.
Now his blogging expertise has paid off. Scoble, 41, is leaving Microsoft to take the vice president's chair at PodTech.net, a Menlo Park, Calif., media startup. He'll be responsible for creating technology-based podcasts, which allow computer users to watch television-style interviews over the Web.
In addition to a new title, he'll be getting a substantial increase in pay.
Video is the key to the success of a blog, according to Scoble. "I could explain what Halo 3 [video game] looks like much better through a one-minute video demo than I could a text write-up," he said.
That's what Scoble will be doing at PodTech.net, making content for corporations so consumers can communicate more efficiently with companies. "That's what people want," he said.