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Blog ads revisted

October 31, 2004

Those of you who know me know I am no fan of running ads on a law firm marketing blogs. But had to share some the numbers the big bloggers are earning from ads on their blogs.

Newsday reports Daily Kos, a site by lawyer Markos Moulitsas Zuniga for left-ish activists, is billing out about $12,000 per week, or more than $600,000 per year. Law professor Glenn Reynolds’ Instapundit pulls in almost half that. As Newsday says “The odds of making a living by writing a blog are a lot like the odds of a garage band turning out a hit album: It can happen, but you better enjoy the music and hang on to your day job in the meantime.”

For law firms, there is money in blogging. But it’s in growing your business, not in selling ads on your marketing materials. One lawyer picked up $200,000 in new business in less than 6 months of publishing a blog.

Understand there are two types of blogs published by lawyers. One, a blog on any topic, whether legal related or not published by a lawyer. The other is a lawyer blog providing reliable and authoritative legal information so as to enhance a lawyer or a law firm practice group’s reputation.

It’s the latter group of blog publishers I work with at lexBlog. Running ads on these blogs would make as much sense as running ads from the local burger joint on the law firm’s brochure or in the office reception area. It’s inconceivable a law firm Website would run ads. It ought to be the same with law firm blogs.

For lawyers hell bent on running ads on their blogs it’s generally done through Blogads. You go to the Blogads Web site and sign up for the service, then fill out forms describing your blog and how much you want to charge per ad. (There are a couple hundred “rate cards” along with traffic reports, for other blogs, so you get a pretty good idea of what the market’s like.) Blogads then generates a custom piece of Javascript code for your site, which creates a meter that counts page impressions and relays the data back to the Blogads server.

Potential advertisers browse the Blogads site, check out the linked blogs and the ad rates. They create the ad online, using a postage-stamp-sized ad unit, and transfer the money via PayPal. Blogads takes a cut of the action and sends the balance to the blogger via PayPal.

It’s unlikely you’ll pick up a lucrative hobby. According to Newsday, there’s only a couple dozen bloggers making mid- to high five-figure salaries from Blogads, and a few doing even better.

The other two options are Google’s AdSense integrated into Google’s Blogger, another pay per click advertising model, and Amazon Associates where readers make purchases through Amazon. Neither are going to generate much revenue.

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