April 29, 2009 Leave a comment
Mark Penn, chief strategist of the Clinton Campaign, sparked an uproar in the blogosphere last week when he asserted the following in the pages of the Wall Street Journal:
In America today, there are almost as many people making their living as bloggers as there are lawyers. Already more Americans are making their primary income from posting their opinions than Americans working as computer programmers or firefighters.
The best studies we can find say we are a nation of over 20 million bloggers, with 1.7 million profiting from the work, and 452,000 of those using blogging as their primary source of income. That’s almost 2 million Americans getting paid by the word, the post, or the click — whether on their site or someone else’s.
Startling statistics, but misleading.
Penn has drawn widespread criticism for, among other things, his conflation in the piece of median and average incomes claimed by bloggers and for using conflicting sources.
Importantly, one of the surveys he references – Technorati’s 2008 State of the Blogosphere – makes clear that the reality facing bloggers who are in it for the money as opposed to, you know, the everlasting fame and adulation is less rosy than that painted by Penn.
The average annual blogger revenue is more than $6,000. However, this is skewed by the top 1% of bloggers who earn $200k+.
Among active bloggers that we surveyed, the average income was $75,000 for those who had 100,000 or more unique visitors per month some of whom had more than one million visitors each month. The median annual income for this group is significantly lower — $22,000.
Moreover, US bloggers – the group to which Penn was referring – earn an average of $5,000 annually. But the median revenue for US bloggers is a paltry $200. Since these bloggers invest around $50 annually in their blogs, according to Technorati, US bloggers’ median annual profit is only $150.
Not quite enough to make a living, then.
via FT Alphaville .