Bloggers Revolt Over Ad Money

Ad revenue is down given the economy and some of the top liberal bloggers including Jane Hamsher of FireDogLake and Markos Moulitsas, the founder of DailyKos, spoke out on the record today about the fact that some “major progressive groups— and in some cases, the Democratic Party committees” have been “failing to spend money advertising” on the blogs “even as these groups constantly ask the bloggers for free assistance in driving their message.”

It’s a problem. Bloggers are inundated, day in and day out with press releases from progressive groups, elected officials, candidates, you name it and they all want us to write about their issue, etc, yet the fact goes unnoticed that most bloggers are in fact small business owners and they all need to make a living. Some bloggers rely solely on their blog’s ad revenue to make a living, other bloggers work full or part time, and some run other small businesses while running their blogs, as I do.

After Greg Sargent wrote about the issue on the WaPo’s The Plum Line today, one of the groups mentioned in the piece responded and said they “will now advertise on blogs.”

Apparently it’s not just the Liberal Blogs who are hurting for ad revenue, John Hawkins of Right Wing News noted that conservative “organizations will pay thousands of dollars on consultants, to hit blogs up for links, instead of just buying ads on the blogs.”

Ben Smith chimed in on Politico saying:

This is, ultimately, a step toward normalcy and permanence in the blogosphere, and is being mirrored across the Internet, from parenting lists to neighborhood blogs, as labors of love become institutions.

But it’s also a reminder of the fact that independent bloggers don’t have the luxury of an ad sales department that keeps writers at places like The New York Times and POLITICO blissfully insulated from the wishes and agendas of advertisers.

Because while I’m all for bloggers on both sides getting paid, the unspoken flipside of the story is that the writers are intensely aware of who is and isn’t buying ads.

Blogs are labors of love for their own, this blog included. We invest our money when we start our blogs and time, lots of time into our blogs and we invest our hearts. Knowing we are making a difference doesn’t pay the bills though. So good for Jane, Markos and the others for speaking up… Some of us smaller blogs will be waiting to see if we hopefully get caught up in the trickle down of progressive groups advertising on the liberal blogs again.

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