Monday, April 28, 2008

How Blogs Make Money

There are multiple ways that a blog can make money.  Below is a list of some of those ways, feel free to comment and add more.  (This article goes into more detail)
  1. Advertising Programs
  2. RSS Advertising
  3. Sponsorship
  4. Affiliate Programs
  5. Digital Assets
  6. Blog Networks
  7. Business Blog Writing 
  8. Non-blogging Writing
  9. Donations
  10. Flipping Blogs
  11. Merchandising 
  12. Consulting
  13. Speaking Engagements 

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Blogs as a Way for the Ill to Connect to the World

The parents of a five year old girl, Samantha, wrote a blog documenting her life struggling with childhood cancer. Her parents wrote the blog from Samantha's perspective, telling her story in a a voice and style that they guessed she would have written herself. It is remarkable that this little girl's story was followed by thousands of readers, and her recent death made the news. Samantha's parents were able to express their thoughts and try to relate to their daughter's emotions through this blog and it must have been therapeutic for them. The fact that their daughter touched so many people must have comforted them greatly. The ability to reach out with such ease and benefit from the support of so many - strangers and friends alike - is really a web difference.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Lords of the Blog

One of my favorite new blogs is a blog created by members of Britain's House of Lords, admittedly one of the last places you might expect to generate a blog. The blog is just a few weeks old - it launched on March 16, 2008. With the exception of Lord Soley (whose personal blog inspired the new one), the Lords do not appear to have much experience with the blogosphere. It's clear that they don't quite know what belongs on this blog. Nonetheless, it's very entertaining to watch them try. You can, for instance, learn about Lord Norton's love of trains in his post listing "ten things about me," which ironically includes only nine items. Or, you can read Baronness Murphy's post about the peculiar hours of the House of Lords, in which she admits that she rarely stays long enough to vote, but credits herself for sitting through the entirety of the Health and Social Care Bill debate, except for a brief interlude when she left to get a sandwich because she had "the rumblies in the tumblies."

Monday, April 7, 2008

The Stresses of Blogging

In what is becoming a trend, Sunday's New York Times featured yet another article on blogging. As noted in a post on the class blog, the article is about the pressures of blogging and the resulting negative health effects. The story has been picked up by a number of other news outlets, including the Daily Mail, the Telegraph, and Wired. Notably, the main stream British papers have gone with the "death by blogging" angle, reporting that the death of two prominent American bloggers has been linked to the stress of updating their blogs. By contrast, the tech oriented site VNU takes the more moderate view that blogging can have harmful effects.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Is Blogging Journalism?

In some jurisdictions, journalists are afforded protections that allow them to keep their sources confidential. The general reasoning behind these "shield laws" is that to get true freedom of the press, the press must be able to gather information without their sources having a fear of being exposed.

But is blogging journalism? Should a blogger, with no professional association, be allowed to shield his sources from the government in the name of journalistic freedom? The American Law Reports defines a reporter as:
includ[ing] reporters, editors, journalists, newspersons, correspondents, photographers, authors, student newspaper persons, and also all entities that gather, obtain, write, edit, or otherwise prepare information for newspapers, magazines, publishers, radio, and television.
60 A.L.R.5th n.1 (1998). It seems that most bloggers would not fit into this category - the ones that just blog for their own purposes, and not for a news media. To me, it makes sense that they should not, presumptively, be given this privilege, however each blogger's case could be considered individually (judicial efficiency people are probably cringing right now!). It doesn't take much to set up a blog. Allowing blogs to fall under journalistic privilege may lead to easily accomplished abuses of the system. Bloggers could get all of the benefits and face none of the accountability that regular journalists face.

A judge on the court of
In re Grand Jury Subpoena, Judith Miller, 438 F.3d 1141 (C.A.D.C., 2006) (Sentelle, concurring) contains a survey of how "shield laws" applied to bloggers as of 2006. Sentelle's view is that extending the privilege to bloggers sets a dangerous precedent because of the lack of professional responsibility that often goes along with a blog.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Traditional Media Wins South Africa's Country Blogs Awards

Call me ignorant, but I didn't even realize they had award ceremonies for blogs. I found it interesting that this year in South Africa's Blog Awards, 8 of the 22 categories, including the Best Blog category, were won by mainstream media companies. This made me think of JP's powerpoint presentation of the different media models he showed us in class yesterday. As much as mainstream media still retains its traditional "professional" model, do their high quality, engaging blogs change these media outlets in a fundamental manner? Are the 4 quadrants being blurred?

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Israeli Intelligence Agency Uses Blogs to Recruit

The Shin Bet, Israel's notorious spy agency known for its covert operations and elite status, has started using blogs in order to recruit personnel. Once, the only way individuals joined the Shin Bet was by knowing someone involved who got them connected to the right people. As technology has changed, however, the Shin Bet is spending more time on IT operations in order access information about people and they have a need for skilled IT personnel. They started a blog in which 4 agents write about their careers in the Shin Bet, and are basically advertising the agency by discussing how they are able to work on diverse projects, the place is family friendly, and they feel good serving their country. I guess the web difference affects even the most secretive, elite security agencies...