Tuesday, October 06, 2009

I've been doing "blogging" incorrectly!

While I was driving around yesterday, I heard the tail end of a story about something that the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) was requiring people who blog (like me) to start doing.  When I got home, I found the relevant story on the New York Times website.

It turns out I've been missing out!  I must have a ton of free computers and free trips built up from 3+ years of blogging!  Back in six months, losers!
Yeah, not so much.

The NYT article outlines that bloggers are going to be "encouraged" to disclose when they receive promotional copies of software, books, and services for review purposes.  Apparently, traditional print reviewers are required to return such things while bloggers have been able to keep them, creating the opportunity for bias.  Bloggers have been able to keep the products or receive other "considerations" such as free computers or "trips to Disney World". 

So, in the interest of making my blog FCC compliant, I am forced to disclose all of my promotional and compensatory materials from the last three and a half years of blogging.  Big inhale:
And... done.

While it's Confession Time, I should disclose that I've never received a penny from the operation of this blog.  All of the opinions and thoughts contained herein are therefore free of bias, insomuch as when I say something like "I like Twinkies," you know that comes from an actual innate like of creme-filled sponge cake, not because I have a house made out of endorsement monies from Hostess.  I do have a house made FROM Twinkies, though -- you thought ants were hard to keep out of YOUR kitchen. Sheesh!

The good news is that while the operation of this blog has never produced any money, it's never required the expenditure of it, either.  The domain (Blogger.com) is free, as is the software and the ideas.  One could argue that the time required is time that could be spent in remunerative activities, but we don't level that charge against things like recreational book-reading or backyard touch football, so I don't give it any credit.

There are ways to make money on blogs.  Advertising is a big one, as is the business of paid referrals.  I could set up a system whereby anyone who came through my site to purchase things on Amazon.com would generate me a fraction of what you spent.  It's called the Amazon Affiliate program.  For example, were I an "affliliate" and I included a link to the Nintendo Wii (priced at $200), anyone who clicked through and actually bought one would net me 8.5% of the price (or $17).  Not bad.

Of course, the fees are on a graduated scale depending on what the item is and how many sales I actually facilitate.  In order to achieve the highest "commission" on the majority of offered items, my site would have to produce a particular level of sales per month.  Currently, it would appear to be 3,131 items each month for the highest earning percentage.  Compared to my current visitor rate, that would mean that each of you would have to buy just under 10 items each and every time you view my blog. 

Sure, that sounds like a lot.  But look at it this way: if you each bought 10 Nintendo Wiis every time you visited my site, I'd make $55,000 a month.  Everyone would be happy (especially me), and isn't that what this is all about?

1 comment:

  1. What's to be done with ones natural bias? Perhaps the disclosure should include these potential influences as well. From now on, all bloggers must disclose their entire life's history so that all blogs can be read with the appropriate level of consideration to these factors.