Where’s my blogging windfall?

Need to get paid? According to the Wall Street Journal, you can start a blog and start watching the big bucks roll in. The article by Mark Penn, in a nutshell, says out of the 20 million bloggers in the country, 1.7 million are profiting and of those profiting, 452,000 are making a living off of it.

However, the story is a little misleading and it made the blogosphere blew up in protest — so much so that Mark Penn added a note to the original story.

People have raised questions about the calculations on the numbers of bloggers for hire. First, I was surprised at how few studies there are on this and I believe there definitely should be more. So perhaps in the future I will do some original research, but for this piece we took the best we could find and referenced every number so people would know where they came from.

Sigh. I kind of wished the article was right, since that would mean there’s hope for my dream of working from home on my own schedule, but seeing as how I’ve been blogging since 1998, there’s an obvious disconnect, at least with my experience. I guess if I were someone more charismatic, I would have sold a blog or gotten a book deal by now. But no. I’m a regular Jill, blogging away on whatever topic catches my fancy, the way millions of other bloggers do in this country. It wasn’t until I started a blog focused on a particular topic that I began to see some income. And even then, its not near enough to replace my day job.

Scott Rosenberg called Mark Penn’s math fuzzy. Econsultancy called the article embarassing. The Stats Blog wondered if bartenders should start quitting their jobs for blogging.

Penelope Trunk’s Brazen Careerist was probably the most blunt — you’re not going to make money. I wouldn’t go that far, however; $20 is still money, even if its all you make after two years of blogging. Hey, its $20 you didn’t have before, right? At any rate, she does have a good point that a blog is a good tool to create opportunities for yourself. For example — say I am a florist. How about I start a blog, talking about flowers and decorating weddings? A blog would accomplish two things — draw more traffic to your website and raise your profile in search engines like Google. ;-) However, if a florist were to do such a thing, and decide to put ads on their blog, s/he would find that ads could very well be sending folks to competitors and that blog revenue is linked to wedding season.

There is another way to make money via your blog. The WSJ also came out with this one story recently about bloggers being paid to pitch products. I don’t know how these bloggers are getting connected with companies like Wal Mart, Ford and Electronic Arts — holla!!! — but I think that there is more blogging-for-stuff going on than blogging-for-cash.

At any rate, it is a good opportunity to disclose, if you haven’t already figured out, that I do have an Adsense account that I no longer use here. But I also sell links that look indistinguishable from the ones I link myself. Just an FYI. I’ve also blogged one paid post before, not here, but I feel like it really wasn’t worth the trouble or drop in credibility to keep doing it.