Casual blogging not just lunch money nowI'm not sure which hurts more--being called silly or obscure.
...It's no longer unusual for blogs with just a couple thousand daily readers to earn nearly as many dollars a month. Helping fill the pockets of such bloggers are programs like Google's AdSense and many others that let individuals — not just major publications — tap into the rapidly growing pot of advertising dollars with a click of the mouse.
In 2006, advertisers spent $16.9 billion online, up steadily each year from $6 billion in 2002, according to the Internet Advertising Bureau. In the first half of 2007, online advertising reached nearly $10 billion, a nearly 27 percent increase over the first half of 2006.
Little technical skill is needed to publish a well-read blog, meaning just about anyone with something worthwhile to say can find an audience, said Kim Malone Scott, director of online sales and operations for Google's AdSense. That's attracted greater readership and advertising dollars, she said.
According to 2006 survey by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, 39 percent of Internet users, or about 57 million American adults, said they read blogs, up from 27 percent in 2004, or 32 million.
That doesn't mean bloggers are suddenly flush with money. For every blogger earning a decent side income like Brooks, countless others will never earn a cent.
But with the right mix of compelling content and exposure, a blog can draw a dedicated following, making advertising a low-hanging fruit.
"This is really a continuation of how the Web in general has enabled smaller businesses and individuals to compete if not at a level playing field, at least a more equitable level," said David Hallerman, a senior analyst with the research group eMarketer.
Google's AdSense is an automated program that places targeted advertising on sites big and small. Other programs such as PayPerPost are just as user friendly; bloggers sign up and advertisers cherry pick where they want to place ads based on categories and the number of impressions a site captures.
Getting paid might even help validate what may otherwise seem like a silly or obscure obsession.
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