Pay the Mummy blogger: because you’re worth it?

Money This weekend, a client asked me if I knew of any parenting blogs that took advertising. Weirdly, I could only think of three or four British Mummy bloggers that I know run ads.

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.

The advantage for website owners is simplicity: there’s no need for any complicated code on your website to run GoPayForIt (the company says they can provide Javascript or HTML code that can easily be added to a blog). It’s simple for consumers, too – there’s no need to enter any banking or card details at any point, the charge is actually applied by the mobile operator.

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?

About 

Sally is a full-time blogger and founder of the Tots100, Trips100, Foodies100 and HIBS100 communities, along with the MAD Blog Awards. She spends a bit too much time on the Internet. She’s also a very happy Mum to Flea, the world’s coolest ten year old.

10 Comments

  1. Insomniac Mummy
    25th October 2009 / 11:54 pm

    That’s an interesting concept.
    For me to pay for content it would have to be unique and not Googleable elsewhere for free. Even if that content were 50p to £1 I would look elsewhere first (times are hard, you know, with maternity pay and the recession).
    If it were something like a downloadble mini magazine with great content then maybe I would pay. Probably up to £2.00. You’d have to have a lot of readers and for the effort to be worth it though.
    I don’t think I could charge for content on my blog as, like yours, it’s just me being me waffling away. I’ve been thinking about looking into taking ads just to make ends meet in a small way.
    It would be great to think there was a way to make a little extra cash, especially when times are hard and Christmas is looming.

  2. 26th October 2009 / 6:56 am

    “I’m just so sick of working for free.”
    really? A parent blogger?
    Do they charge for taking family photos as well?
    What is it with capitalism taking over blogging these days?

  3. 26th October 2009 / 9:17 am

    I wouldn’t pay anyone for content, but then I’m mean and short of cash! But if people want to pay me then thats great. There does seem to be a different attitide to blogging to when I started out these days, its very money focused and competitive.
    In terms of the advertising, can’t really be too bothered with it all. Seems a good idea and I have been asked a couple of times but when it came to the crunch it all seemed a waste of time. Would love some extra cash though, if its the right company and the right price.
    I just blog for a bit of fun, if people want to read it then more fool them. Sometimes I reckon I should pay them 🙂 (But thank you lovely readers)

  4. 26th October 2009 / 10:07 am

    I don’t think I’d want to make money from my blog. Not my personal one in any case. I also make a point to click away from reviews or giveaways, and I would not click on an add. It’s just completely the opposite of what I look for online.

  5. 26th October 2009 / 10:52 am

    Thanks for all your comments.
    Certainly, I wouldn’t charge for Who’s the Mummy and I don’t take advertising because I don’t like the feeling of not being able to be rude about anyone if the urge took me 😉
    But I suppose I’m thinking of blogs where people have put in work to really create something – like the patterns on Molly Chicken, or the recipes on Domestic Sluts, or Violet Posy’s amazing blog themes and badges – they’re the sorts of things I can’t get elsewhere and I would feel okay about paying those bloggers a little something for their efforts.
    I can also imagine some people who are blog experts charging other people to access things like the HTML code for an image map ora drop-down menu or something other bloggers might want to use, or perhaps doing a guide for PRs to working with Mummy Bloggers and getting the PRs to pay a quid to download it.
    It’s not for me, but I can definitely see the potential for others – and part of me thinks this is better than selling out the blog for advertising dollars (not that this is necessarily always a bad thing)

  6. 26th October 2009 / 11:28 am

    Perhaps on blogs in other genres, but mummy blogging??! I can’t see it catching on. Maybe the more ‘professional’ blogs but most of us are making it up as we go along and I doubt very much anyone would want to pay for my content!! I can’t imagine advertising would earn you very much – certainly not enough to justify the hassle.
    I don’t see my blogging as ‘working for free’ anyway – that suggests being taken advantage of. I choose to write, to commit time and energy to it, not because I expect a return but because it’s fun and enjoy engaging with the people that read and respond. Yes, I’m finding it a useful platform to build exposure and reach an audience so perhaps I hope to earn some money one day as an indirect result. But no, SIFTW will be staying a decidedly none-commercial venture!

  7. 26th October 2009 / 2:10 pm

    I am another who feels uncomfortable with the idea of charging and would be unlikely to pay myself. I blog because I enjoy it, like the writing, love the community and discover all sorts of fascinating people I would never have met without it. It really isn’t about making money, although I have been delighted that a couple of readers have booked the holiday cottage as a result of finding the link on the blog, but that was unexpected and very much a bonus. I think there is so much great free stuff out there that it would be a challenge to charge even small amounts for a blog. I’d rather have advertising, although I have turned it down myself so far, at least you can ignore it!

  8. 27th October 2009 / 2:50 pm

    ha! if you can explain to me how I can display adds and make little ££ I’ll name my first born after you… oh wait.

  9. 1st November 2009 / 9:30 pm

    I think it’s important to remember not all blogs are the same.
    So yes, this argument might seem dumb when applied to an online diary type blog (who would pay for my witterings) but if you’re a professional writer, or a professional marketer, or a coder, or otherwise doing business online, then it’s not so far-fetched, I don’t think. There’s certainly no shame in wanting to make something from blogging if you’re using your blog like a virtual business card rather than a diary.
    And as with everything, if it’s not worth paying for, people won’t pay. No harm done.

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