For all of the millions of blogs on the web, only an incredibly small fraction generate enough revenue to serve as full time jobs. Most people are happy enough with just sharing their thoughts with the public, even if they only see a few hundred hits a months with the very occasional comment. But what if there was a way for even these small-timers to generate enough money to put food on the table?
Larry Genkin, the founder and editor of Blogger and Podcaster Magazine, is looking to help the long tail of bloggers turn their hobby into a lucrative job. He has started the Blogger and Podcaster Media Network, a consortium of bloggers and related companies looking to help bloggers of all sizes effectively monetize their sites without having to worry about having a relatively small audience. The site is currently open for signups, but won’t go live until early next year.
At launch the BPMN is a rollup of companies including Genkin’s magazine, Fuel My Blog (A bloggers’ social network based in the UK), Podcast Pickle (a podcasters’ social network), and SocialRank, a company similar to Sphere that monitors blogs for related and popular content.
Each of these companies will help promote the new network, and will also offer technology to help bloggers build out their site (for example, they’ll be able to use SocialRank’s technology). The BPMN will also try to partner with large media companies to help give blogs more exposure. To help each blog get started, the company has partnered with PR NewsWire, which will offer each blogger a promotion package Genkin says is worth $2000.
The BPMN will also have a dedicated sales team for advertising. Genkin says that large ad networks like Federated Media cater to large blogs, leaving most of the long tail bloggers to fend for themselves. Because BPMN will be representing a large number of blogs at once, Genkin says it will be able to secure more favorable deals. The network will have a rev-share agreement with bloggers, giving 70% of ad revenues to members.
Beyond advertising, The BPMN is also employing an affiliate scheme to help bloggers generate revenue. Genkin says that for every blogger a member brings into the network, they’ll earn around $500-1000 a year. It sounds like this is the primary way the BPMN expects to help small time bloggers earn full-time salaries (just recruit 50 bloggers and you’re set!), but recruiting bloggers is more difficult than it sounds, which is where I think the BPMN might fall short. To further entice bloggers, The BPMN is offering a (presumably small) equity stake in the company to early adopters on the network who sign up by the end of the year. And the last selling point: bloggers will have healthcare coverage, though the details for this have yet to be worked out.
The Blogger and Podcast Media Network is going to have a long struggle ahead. Even if advertisers are enticed by the ability to make large ad buys across the network that are more favorable than AdSense, most individual bloggers still won’t be seeing much income from their ads. And the affiliate scheme sounds too good to be true – I doubt many people will be able to recruit enough bloggers to earn a sizable income. If Genkin can pull off some partnerships with large media corporations (his magazine already scored a deal with USA Today), these bloggers may be able to increase their traffic and generate some revenue, but I have a hard time picturing small time bloggers earning full time wages.