I’ve been working my ass off this past month. There was the whole blogging platform disaster, plus lots of proposals and meetings for other projects. It has dredged up all sorts of big questions that I typically push out of my mind. What is the best use of my time? What has the most potential to provide income? How much time and money should I invest in a particular project?
I’m an idea and word person. That’s my internet niche. I do throw out some girlie shit with posts about things from time to time, but it’s not really my thing. The problem with the Internet is that ideas are very difficult to monitize.
Websites and blogs that focus on things – cars, computers, clothes, fish, tools and even books – can be monitized. Companies that sell those things can advertize on the sidebar. Readers will click on those advertisements, because they have a high interest in those particular products. Someone with a very unremarkable blog about clothes can make thousands of dollars per month with advertisements from Anthropologie and Target.
There are three big problems with ideas on the Internet. 1. Idea-based websites don’t have a natural connection with any businesses. 2. The audience for idea-based websites are very savvy about advertisements. They don’t click on ads, even ads that are somewhat related to their lifestyle. 3. Also, the audience for an idea-based website is miniscule compared to the audience for websites that discuss Prince Harry’s latest girlfriend.
This year, Andrew Sullivan tried to get around the idea-advertisement problem by asking readers to subscribe to his website. He did bring in a lot of money at first, but those numbers leveled off fairly quickly. He isn’t going to bring enough money this year to pay himself a salary. If Andrew Sullivan can’t make a living on the subscription model, then nobody can.
So, I’ve written thousands of blog posts over the years. Companies that specialize in the Internet ads write me everyday to ask if they can drop in an ad into my blog, but they only want to advertise on one of the thousands of blog posts. They want to put the ad on a blog post that talked about housecleaners. They represent various housecleaning services and housecleaning products.
Idea-based writers, websites, and magazines have to figure out a way to marry their niches with the more profitable areas on the Internet. It has to be done delicately, because ideas are lofty, pure things that are destroyed by commercialism. I wish I had some ideas about profiting from ideas, but I don’t.