If you measured the blogosphere by revenue it would barely register. One estimate puts the total revenue at $500 million, which sounds big but is not considering the amount of effort. In fact, it works out to about $5 of revenue per blog and $25 per active blog. Nevertheless this new media industry has a significant and growing impact on the economy as well as culture and politics.
The newspaper industry mentioned earlier is the obvious example (see my other posts on this). People go to the blogs for news and opinion, and read newspapers less. Advertising revenue has fallen at newspapers because there are fewer readers and because advertisers have a better option for reaching people through blog advertising (as well as in other online venues). The newspaper industry is in a reverse catalyst reaction or what I have described elsewhere as a death spiral.
Other media industries are likely to face competition from blogs as well. As magazines race to get online they will find that there is a similar blog providing content and attracting advertisers. And YouTube and other video sites make it easy for blogs to compete with traditional and online video entertainment. If blogs continue to attract audience and volunteer labor, digital media will find it increasingly hard to make the sorts of money online that they grew accustomed to make in the fat and happy years of the last half of the twentieth century.
(HT: SCSU Scholars –the self-proclaimed “Billy Preston of the NARN”)
It seems to me that a blog in the higher orders of the ecosystem will become increasingly profitable, but that the struggle to reach those higher orders will become more difficult over time. Given the ongoing expansion of blogging (along with the ongoing drop-off of those who grow bored), the value of keeping or gaining a perch among the trafficked blogs is high and going to go higher even as the amount of effort required to maintain that position becomes greater.
In other words, if you want to make money blogging, work on those rankings. Now.