Tuesday, April 21, 2009
You know those figures that Hillary Clinton strategist Mark Penn used in his WSJ column , the ones that seemed like BS?
The best studies we can find say we are a nation of over 20 million bloggers , with 1.7 million profiting from the work, and 452,000 of those using blogging as their primary source of income . That's almost 2 million Americans getting paid by the word, the post, or the click
Well, they were BS! Room 8 notes that Penn a) assumed that all bloggers saying they'd like to make money are actually making money. And b) recast bloggers who said blogging was "a" primary source of income into bloggers having blogging as "their primary" source of income. ... I would add that Penn's statement claiming
It takes about 100,000 unique visitors a month to generate an income of $75,000 a year
is fantastically bogus and clueless . It all depends on your niche, of course, but a blogger with only 100,000 uniques would be very lucky to make half that amount, I would think. Penn's own post--publication mop up attempt makes the methodology of his hype clear:
The question of how much traffic it takes to make a living also comes from the Technorati report. We say it takes "about 100,000 unique visitors a month to generate an income of $75,000 a year" and Technorati states those who had 100,000 or more unique visitors the average income is $75,000.
But Technorati emphasizes that the $75,000 average is pulled up by a few highly successful bloggers who have way more than 100,000 unique visitors. This doesn't mean that if you have only 100,000 you generate $75,000. It sort of means the opposite--that 100,000 won't get you anywhere near the "average." Penn himself mentions, in his follow-up, that the $75,000 is "not the median." In fact, the median was only $22,000 (and even that probably wouldn't apply to the mere 100,000-visitor sites, since they are the low end of the sample and presumably making l ess than the median). Faced with a choice between an absurd $75,000 claim and a still-inflated $22,000 claim, Penn went with the $75,000.
Don't worry Hillary! The delegates will be there for you. ....
P.S.: You might think that Penn's bogus factoid was a Robert Reich-style bogus factoid--that is, it's not true today but it will be true tomorrow! That's part of Penn's defense ("We can quibble about how easy it is to make this kind of money -- but the point is, the huge potential is there.") But it's actually a huge open question whether blogging will get more or less lucrative: Will ad rates go up or down? Will the proliferation of blogs bid down the price faster than the migration of eyeballs online builds an audience? Etc. ... It might be true that two years from now a site attracting 100,000 uniques will be lucky to make $5,000. The "huge potential"--at least the huge moneymaking potential--isn't necessarily there at all.
This is an issue of some importance to me! Like Hillary in 2008, I hope Penn is right. ...
Backfill: Scott Rosenberg's discussion is more thorough . ... 6:10 P.M.