If only because I laid my Google revenue cards on the table early on…
…this was interesting, Jeff Jarvis of Buzzmachine and Guardian column fame doing the same… and, in paricular, what Google did for him last year.
For those of you who are hard of linking, the two paragraphs to put side-by-side are, first the MFW ‘experience’…
“Take, for example, our Google AdSense numbers since March ‘07.
“406,002 impressions, 846 clicks…. $223. So I did Google a disservice at JEECamp. Apologies. When I said $180 for 400,000 page impressions I was $40 out and 6,000 page impressions under. We made £110 in a year…”
To be then followed by the Buzzmachine one…
“Last year, Buzzmachine.com, which has been in business, loosely speaking, since 2001, made $9,315 (£4,655) from two blog ad networks, $1,866 from ads on my RSS feeds, and $2,674 from Google ads, for a total of $13,855. Though I’ve written many a blog post and column lamenting that there aren’t better, richer ad networks to support grassroots media, when I add that up, I’d say it’s not too shabby…
I, however, would describe our own Google ads income as shabby. If not particularly shabby. Or, indeed, utterly shabby. I might also describe it as someone having a laugh…
And let’s make several things clear; we’re not running like-for-like – it’s a horribly inexact science; the comparisons don’t stand up; we didn’t, for example, run AdSense for a full calendar year; if we had, who knows? We could have cracked the $300 mark…
But what I would be intrigued to know is just how hard our Jeff had to work to earn that $2,674…
Given that Buzzmachine has ‘loosely speaking’ been in business since 2001, he’s clearly had to work his ‘brand’ for at least five years (2001-2006) before earning a thousand quid off Google in Year Six…
I earned my princely sum off 400,000 page impressions – and all on the back of busting my b*lls twice a day to deliver two, great 1,000-word ‘sticky’ reads to the waiting Norwich City masses who, come January’s transfer window month, were 33,000 monthly uniques strong.
Plus we had coulmnists, characters and all sorts. We worked – indeed, still work – our collective n*ts off draging football punters to that site with a quality journalistic product that, we hoped, would offer enough context, comment and quotes that it would not only drag eyeballs there, it would keep eyeballs there.
And, touch wood, it appears to work. That’s back to my 436-second average visit time for the month of January. Seven minutes every time they visit.
Because it’s a passionate niche. Just as the future of news is.
What would be very interesting to discover is just what numbers Buzzmachine.com generates in terms of uniques, page impressions and average visit times to pop a cheque for £1,300 from Google into Jeff’s hands at the end of the year….
I’ve no idea. I read it most days. As, I suspect, many a media-luvvie does.
And because it is, more often than not, a well-informed and engaging read, my eye-balls stay fixed. And if, for argument’s sake, me and Jeff run at roughly similar numbers per month – my www.myfootballwriter.com/norwichcity versus his www.buzzmachine.com – then fair enough, he cracked the Google nut more than I did.
Maybe – he says, looking for his excuses – Jeff is actually mining a richer niche seam; that the ads that appear on his site are far more click-appealing than those that ever appeared on ours; that maybe ‘football’ and ‘Norwich’ never quite made sense as ads.
And maybe it’s just a case of being patient – that come Year Six, 2012, I too could be pulling £1,000 a year back off them. In the unlikely event I was still pinning many of my hopes on Google by then…
Fotunately, we didn’t put all our eggs in Google’s basket – and, nor, of course did Jeff. He’s got two blog ad network tickets working his brand; covering his ass to the tune of £4,500 a year.
Me? I’ve got Kev acting as MFW’s tail-end Charlie – trying to pick off every local advertiser we can find; as well as those national ones that like the cut of our demographics. Three cheers for the British Army… newly-signed up for a year-long banner ad deal on all three sites.
It’s still a tough nut to crack. Very tough in these credit crunch times. But they’re out there; all starting to think what they would do next if they didn’t have a local evening paper to advertise in… And if I can pull, say, £2,000 per month off the Norwich site in Pay-Per-Month advertising, that’s not too shabby either.
Particularly, if we can then find further revenue streams to add to our income bow.
Because that’s the real point. For all we do, for all the hours we write and for all the pavements we pound, the jury is still out as to whether advertising of any sort will – on its own – be enough to save our bacon.
And that applies to all of us. From The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, The New York Times down… is there enough value in what we ‘sell’ in terms of advertising space to guarantee our survival?
Just ask our Jeff. Without a column or two up his sleeve, a consultancy here and there and a teaching gig at CUNY, could he survive on $13,855 a year. Just over six grand…?