Passion, Knowledge and Wine
Establishing a Fair Equity Allocation within a Startup Venture

Blog What You Love, The Money Will Follow

I signed an agreement with Newstex yesterday to include the Gumption weblog feed in the collection of online content they make available to their customers:

The revolutionary Newstex Blogs On Demand product delivers value-added full-text blog content. Newstex processes blogs in real-time through its NewsRouter technology to automatically tag each blog post with key data such as company names, stock tickers, key executives and government officials, and detailed topical categories for distribution to downstream enterprise customers to ensure greater exposure and reach for this valuable content.

I will receive a percentage of royalties generated by subscriptions that include the content from this blog.  My intention is to continue ruminating on what inspires me, what I aspire to, and/or what I perspire about without being influenced by this arrangement with Newstex.  The only change I expect is to have more incentive to blog more often (though my uncertainty over whether this will help me be a better blogger continues ... perhaps increasing the quantity of my blog posts will help me gain clarity on this issue -- doing something, rather than simply thinking, about it).

Gene Becker recently posted some of his insights into and experiences with the use of advertising in blogs, commenting on the impact of advertising on relevance, aesthetics and public and personal morality.  I have noticed an increasing number of blogs that have Google Adsense frames on them, and I have to admit that the more advertising I see on a blog, the more I question the motivation(s) of the blogger.  Gene's comments on the personal morality issue are particularly relevant to my decision to link up with Newstex:

This is the bad one: having ads changed how I thought about blogging. Instead of focusing on my own interests and creative expression, I started to think about what kind of content would attract ads with higher CPM rates. Mind you, this didn't show up in actual behavior b/c I've just been 2B2B (too busy to blog, eh?). Nonetheless I'm amazed by how quickly and easily the money influenced the content; this seems immoral on a very personal level.

Like Gene, I do not want to be influenced by monetary considerations; however, I consider Gene a man of the highest level of personal and professional integrity, and so if he found there was a creeping influence of financial considerations into his blog during his experiment (he has since removed all advertising from his blog), I know I need to be extremely vigilant.

I have never checked on any statistics for my weblog (e.g., subsribers or visitors); the only way I know about whether / when anyone reads anything I post is when they post comments, use trackbacks or send email.  I do not want to pay attention to subscriptions or readership via Newstex, but I suppose that if royalties do flow my way, the checks will be accompanied by some kind of accounting statistics, and so I will not be completely ignorant.  However, I do not want Newstex to tell me how my blog (or entries) are categorized, or what kinds of people and organizations are reading or subscribing to this blog -- although if there are any such entities out there, "welcome!" :-). 

I have seen increasing signs that the Internet is creating an entirely new set of tools for realizing the promise of "Do What You Love, The Money Will Follow".  At a recent Idea Day presentation on podcasting, Alex Williams and Matt Day highlighted a number of ways that people are creating podcasts (many of which, presumably, are about things they love), and making money from them.  One of the insights I came away with from a recent panel discussion on eBay was that people who are creating specialty niche products (many of which, I again assume, are labors of love) have a new channel through which to make a living via eBay.  There are already a number of bloggers who have money following them because they blog about what they love.  I don't know whether I will be joining their ranks, but I'm willing to open myself up to yet another dimension of the abundance of the blogosphere.

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