India Uncut

This blog has moved to its own domain. Please visit for the all-new India Uncut and bookmark it. The new site has much more content and some new sections, and you can read about them here and here. You can subscribe to full RSS feeds of all the sections from here. This blogspot site will no longer be updated, except in case of emergencies, if the main site suffers a prolonged outage. Thanks - Amit.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

The right and wrong ways of making money from blogging

Indian Archie points my attention, via email, to a service called PayPerPost which pays bloggers to write about products, without disclosing to their readers that the editorial content they are reading has paid for. I quite agree with Rafe Needleman when he says that this is "a bad, bad, bad thing." Indeed, it's quite like the Times of India selling their editorial space: it's deception.

ToI, of course, is not being punished by their readers, but I don't think blogs could get away with such deceit. Even if you successfully hide from your readers that your content has been paid for, the quality of it will invariably suffer, and it won't be as good as that of someone who writes with honesty and integrity and passion and so on. Readers will invariably value the honest blogger more than the plug maestro, and soon the plug maestro will lose his readers. The internet, I've always maintained, is an essentially meritocratic space.

And good bloggers can make enough money from running ads and affiliate schemes, and keeping their adspace separate from their editorial space. A fine example of this is Amit Agarwal's Digital Inspiration: he runs advertising judiciously, and makes a healthy living from it, but his editorial content is unflinchingly honest and always outstanding. It's a perfect combination of great content aligned with a smart use of advertising. That is why, in my opinion, Amit is the only Indian blogger who has a substantial global audience, not just an Indian or diasporic one. I'm jealous of him, but in a good way: he shows us what is possible.

Of course, Mitesh Vasa's study on The State of the Indian Blogosphere could make me feel better, as it shows that I have the highest number of profile views among Indian bloggers on Blogspot. I suppose that's a good thing, as I started blogging here relatively late, in December 2004, but I'll refrain from celebrating, because most of those profile views probably come from people who clicked on my profile thinking, "Let me read more about the chump who wrote this rubbish."

As they would have found, the only way to know more about the chump is to read more of the rubbish. That's what keeps 'em coming, I'm guessing.

Update: Sharp readers might have noticed that the right panel of my blog, which was earlier just blank space, has now been rendered usable, and has ads and recommendations. Thanks to MadMan for this, who tweaked my template to make it possible. He also gets 10% of my earnings for June, which might buy him a soup at the excellent restaurant he runs in Bangalore, Shiok. And that's a free and heartfelt plug!
amit varma, 11:05 PM| write to me | permalink | homepage

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