I got asked by a 5yo today about how come we have so many random gadgets and every one of them has a different charger. I explained that one of the many many jobs I have involved writing about these things and she asked in her own way how did that make money for anyone involved.
I should note, for honesty’s sake here, she asked “how does that make money?” but I misheard and “how do blog monies” has been stuck in my head.
I explained that much as the live TV has commercials, that in effect I was a commercial for gadgets, but one that wasn’t particularly interested in pushing products so much as more interested in playing with things, finding the problems and new use cases for them, and otherwise being an adult that gets paid slightly to play with toys.
But what makes money? It was a decent question. Since I’ve been down sick a day or two and am working on a couple of reviews and pieces, here’s what I’ve seen, experienced, etc.
Guest posts for SEO purposes
You may notice on every single page and article there’s a block of red text stating that we don’t take advertising, phony guest posts, etc. I got 11 requests for guest posting just today. The average offer is about $200 to us, and the only content company we’ve ever talked with offered that for what I call word spaghetti.
Basically a buy your way to the top of Google. I’ve taken some SEO classes, it’s intense. You want to be the first page of something like an office space rental, you’re going to spend $10K a month easily to even make the front page of Google. That involves a lot of links and mentions from all over the internet to your service. You can’t buy Google placement from Google, you have to hire SEO teams to post a bunch of fake BS all over the internet.
Basically any time you see something like “and for that we’d look at band-aids for wound closure” and there’s a link to a site, well, there you go – a site like ours has a thing called Domain Authority, and if we’re pointing to someplace that probably means it’s relevant and Google should trust it. That authority comes from NOT linking to garbage sites, and from staying in our lane.
The general format of the SEO guest post is loosely – “X things to know about Y” followed by the most god-awful generic explanations that might contain one tidbit of content. We’ve had a couple of posters here that posted that and I didn’t catch it. Made me really, really angry.
After you pimp out your domain a few times your authority is gone from what I learned in classes, so there’s evidently a limit.
Shilling a product
There are many, many, many different levels of income, but your standard tagged link is generally 3-20%. On Amazon I believe it’s about 6% in the electronics category. I get you to purchase a $100 item, I make about $6. It goes up a bit if I make so many sales in that category if I remember correctly, but it’s been a while.
For the most part tagged Amazon links have something like &tag=eviltrackingcode-20 in the URL, but a site can push that they’re the referrer without that. So while we say if you don’t want to pay us commission just go to Amazon and search for it yourself, there’s a backend plugin that can deliver the advertiser ID without the link tag for the big guys.
I also make money if you click a link for a product I’m reviewing, then buy something else. I didn’t realize that’s why most blogs do not list the price of an item until recently. I just didn’t list it because if I put it down at $49.99 and it’s on sale or more expensive the next day I get comments, but yeah, y’all buying a whole lot of interesting stuff based off my reviews. I know what you buy, but not who you are, Dave.
Occasionally a phone will be launching, at least one plus another will have *extremely* compelling rates to promote said phone. When you see a blog with twenty one plus items on a single phone, lemme tell you, the commissions are insane. *cough* one plus *cough*
Honestly don’t know the Samsung rates, never been contacted by them, as such I stay in the 6% lane.
Higher priced furniture can offer $100 or so per product (which means it’s about 25%) – think standing desks, ergonomic chairs, etc.
Pulling politicos to product sites
There’s a project I do that coincided with the initial press release of the Freedom Phone. I don’t generally engage in political BS, which that product is being marketed under, but bam, it came across at the perfect time. During the initial run of the article in March, we had a few thousand people hit it, no commentary. Earlier this month saw a several-months-old press release with no commentary make $67 over the course of two hours with several thousand hits just in Google AdSense advertising. Had to shut down commentary. Was a mess.
The amount of traffic was high, but not $67 in a couple of hours high. Getting a bunch of people to a site with decent domain authority that was referenced on several other sites simply because I commented on a press release… yeah. The advertisers expected a huge return and paid accordingly.
Let me tell you about my unsourced not-a-press-release-release I got regarding that some day…
Advertising / banner ads
Ads are based on impressions and click throughs. Impressions get next to nothing, and if too many people click an ad evidently we get told we’re generating fake traffic but not given any explanation.
Generally the stupider the ad, probably the more we’re earning on it, but it’s mostly automatic. I just set the formats I’m willing to accept and categories I’ll abide by (like we have a no gambling, no dating site block)
They keep the lights on for hosting and pay me enough to get a beer about once every two months.
If we could make hosting in donations, there’d be no ads.
Selling pictures of my feet
I had a total of five things I was going to write about and forgot what the fifth was. Probably backlinks, but that’s covered in guest posts for SEO purposes.
I’ll note that running a tech oriented baby blog as well, there’s an entire industry devoted to paying you to express a company’s opinion – there’s also big money in anti-vax, company reputation assassination, and fringe politic conversion, but that’s another article.