I say weirdly because I know that many of the parent bloggers I speak to are desperate to make some money from their blogs. As one blogger told me last week: “I’m just so sick of working for free.”
I suspect part of the issue is that running ads is hard work. You need to know how to display the ad, and (more tricky) how to charge – advertisers are going to want to know about things like page impressions, click-throughs and so on.
So I was interested to speak with the people at GoPayForIt last week. They’re offering a micro-payments service that lets web users pay for content using their mobile phones.
Using GoPayForIt, a blogger might decide to charge for access to specific content – a recipe, pattern, blog theme, avatar or similar. A visitor clicking to download the content could be automatically redirected to a GoPayForIt payment page, where they simply enter their phone number. They’ll then receive a PIN code to enter on the payment page. Once the number is entered, the charge is applied to their phone bill, and the user directed back to the download page.
There are downsides, of course. First, the operator and GoPayForIt take a cut of what the consumer pays. The mobile operator takes a commission, as does GoPayForIt – so on a 25p charge, the blogger can expect to receive around 10.25p (the exact commission varies by operator).
Second, because GoPayForIt doesn’t receive money from the operators immediately, you’ll wait at least a month to receive cash from website visitors – if you’re prepared to wait more like 45 days, you receive a slightly higher percentage of the payment made. And it's a UK mobile operator service – so it's only suitable for UK consumers.
Despite this, I can see blogs that could make great use of this kind of technology. I’ll pay iTunes to download a song I want to hear RIGHT NOW because it’s not on Spotify and, hell, it’s only 79p and I'm frankly too old and too embarrassed to actually buy a Miley Cyrus CD in a real-life shop.
In the same way, I can totally imagine being on a website and really wanting to download that cool Christmas Twitter avatar or recipe for cupcakes because it’s only 50p or £1 (technically, the service can process payments up to £10, but it’s most likely to be used for small, impulse purchases) and I lack the skills to do these things myself.
And if you've got a good offering and a good audience, you could make some cash this way – if you've got 1,000 visitors per week and half of them are prepared to pay 50p for some content or service, you'd be making £250 after commission. It's not going to get you a yacht in Monte Carlo, but it's a start.
I'm not saying every blog out there can charge – I don't think people would pay for this blog, certainly – it's just ramblings and there are plenty of other blogs doing the same thing – well, not many other blogs have the monkey porn, but you know what I mean.
But I see so many amazing, talented Mummy bloggers who are genuinely creating new, useful stuff that is currently being given away for free, and I know I'd be happy to fork over a pound to read, use and download some of that stuff. And while advertisers might have a hidden (or not so hidden agenda) that can compromise your blog, micropayments are a way to keep control over your own content.
Be really interested in your thoughts on this – do you wish you could make money from blogging, or is it a creative, personal project?