Technorati currently tracks 97.2 million blogs. That’s about one blog for every 68 people on this planet (67.924 to be precise – if the population of the world as per July 2007 estimates is 6,602,224,175). Then blogs must be really popular. But these figures show another angle to the blog story, there might just be more blog creators than there are regular blog readers.
Whatever the facts might be, the potential of the blog as a mode to further commercial interests has not escaped most aware entrepreneurs. Many bloggers have been lured (including me) to the world of contextual pay-per-click advertising and the more popular ones carry advertising of the non-contextual variety as well.
There’s no harm in making money, after all we all need a good life to live and that often costs some dough. With monetary benefits attached to a task the performance usually turns to be better (the Indian cricket team might be treated as an exception to the rule). But sponsored posts are different.
Here you get paid to write about something in your blog (in a manner controlled by your paymaster). It might seem fine from a different point of view. But when I get offers for sponsored blogging, my mind wanders to the purpose behind my blogging. Name, fame and money – the eternal wants of the insatiable humankind. This blog might have increased the number of people who know me (or my name) by a few hundred (at the best). So name and fame via blogging doesn’t do much (for the kinds of my kind). Money, though I wish my take-home salary would be atleast treble of what lands in my bank account at the end of every month, I don’t care too much for money (coz money didn’t buy me love).
But again, money does matter. So would I compromise my sole reason for blogging – satisfaction – for a few dollars (they talk in dollars not rupees)? I thought of emulating the advertorial model, wherein the readers know which is what. But the wannabe paymasters would beg to differ – the content should look authentic. You should pretend to suck up to people (and products) as though the suction is emanating from core of your heart. Many mainstream media organisations might do that, but I being the Managing Editor of this one-man venture can afford to put my foot down. Google takes care of my costs and I try to pay them back by the revenue shared via Adsense (a pittance though). In the meanwhile I can derive some satisfaction (From what? That I’m yet to figure out).
Some wannabe bloggerminators like to accuse bloggers as the type who are frantically making efforts through their blogs to catch the eye of some deep pocketed publisher, who would then hand them a hefty advance for their blook. My ‘dreams of a publisher taking notice of me’ was fulfilled when a Calcutta-based publishing concern sent me an email with the subject “Publication proposal.” I didn’t reply to that mail as I didn’t have any publication-worthy stuff on me. I wish I had, I might just have been the next Zoe Margolis.
Fantasies apart, blogging with money on mind is not much fun. Blogging for me is unbridled – I wish to let it remain that way as long as possible. Whenever I get offers for sponsored posts (some from people mailing from GMail ids. They want to play safe, it seems – with the things that bloggers post about anyone and anything), I give them a counter offer. That they let me know of topics and ideas that would interest me and I would post about them for free. But it seems that they don’t like their work done for free. Strange, isn’t it?