Please, People: Stop Blogging About Blogs that Blog About Blogging to Make Money Online
It is one big clusterf*ck. The problem is: writing about writing to make money is itself only profitable for a lucky few at the head of the pack or, perhaps more accurately, the top of the pyramid (scheme). And there are still more of them every day. Why do people with no real experience keep starting meta-publications about publishing in an attempt to generate revenue?
First, it is clearly of interest to the writer. Well, that is good in theory, is it not? After all, creating fresh, new and interesting content on a regular basis is extremely challenging – it is a marathon task with little respite. People should indeed be passionate about the subjects on which they write. Unfortunately, there is only so much room for writing about writing, marketing your marketing skills or blogging about the nature of blogging. Not to mention: many of the ways blogs-about-blogs make money involve signing up new bloggers to affiliate programs – which means only those top-tier, high-traffic meta-bloggers are going to get a large volume of signups to line their pockets. Also, to write with authority on a certain subject it helps to pick an area of existing (rather than developing) expertise, leading to the next point.
Second, a blogger is necessarily going to be reading and researching the field (if there is such a thing) of blogging to develop themselves professionally, so it seem like a natural step to start writing down thoughts on the matter. This, however, leads to a slew of novices attempting to represent themselves as successful professionals when, in reality, they often know very little about the subject matter as they are just learning it themselves. Do you really want to read a college level (let alone high school) paper on a subject or something from an experienced veteran? There is nothing wrong with writing down your thoughts. In fact, being prolific can be good practice. However, if there is money involved the temptation is strong for people to begin pretending they know more than they do about what they are doing.
Third, but wrapping back to the very first sentence of this article: this subject matter is supersaturated, making for a large and easy-to-spot territory for flustered new entre-pioneers with freshly-staked domain claims. I am personally a firm believer that anyone can make any kind of publication work if they have the right mixture of experience, knowledge and dedication … but going into the most populated of all possible topic areas seems all but suicidal for someone serious about making a living – particularly if they are starting largely from scratch. Moreover, it pits these newcomers against some of the most savvy, sneaky and slick online media makers since the ‘making money’ and ‘blogging’ niches naturally have their fair share of competitors. This very packed pool is filled with both sharks to genuine successes – and each of these extremes represent equally daunting challenges for a player just being introduced to the game.
Look around for a moment. Notice the nature of this site? It is not commercial, no advertisements, nothing. I am, in short, not trying to turn this into some kind of money-maker. I have pride (or lack modesty) enough to state that I consider myself a relative success in the realm of online publishing, yet even now I have little interest in competing to become an authority figure – let alone try to make my living as one.
The sad fact is that the culture of blogging-about-blogging is self-perpetuating – people get sucked into the micro-blogosphere composed of other aspiring bloggers like themselves, see their colleagues rabidly reading the blogs of certain ‘blogstars’ and simply fall into the pattern. The trick is not to avoid the meta-bloggers entirely – they are essential resources for someone entirely new to online publishing – but instead to find a few select sources of inspiration and information and shut out the rest. Besides, at the end of the day, do you want to be writing content for novice content-producers or for your colleagues, peers and future friends? Finally, it might sound trite but cliches are often true: you will only be successful if you have passion for what you do – and your newfound potential passion for blogging is unlikely to last as long as the core passions that got you interested in writing and/or publishing and/or online media in the first place.