Boards, Blogs, and Bling

The Pro Photo Home photography message boards have started a new program where you get paid to post. I had to check the date on the email to make sure it wasn’t April 1st. A follow up email this morning assured me that the program is real. For contributing content to the site you are paid 10 cents per post, with a maximum of $100 per year. You do need to sign up to be a member, at $35 per year, which takes your potential earnings down to $65 per year. Read more about the Photo Rewards Program.

If you regularly post to photo.net, fredmiranda.com, or another photography forum, this may be an intruguing idea. Your content is worth something. Better content creates a website that more people want to visit, which creates more advertising revenue for the site owner. Pro Photo Home’s acknowledgement of the value their content contributors provide is a step in the right direction.

But now that we’re in the age of the blog, can the message board really survive? The photographers whose opinions I care about do not regularly post on message boards — they have blogs, or write for publications. Here’s why — you have the potential to get paid more, and you own the content.

Let’s pull back the curtain again for a minute. If you follow an Amazon link from a blog and purchase any product, the blog owner gets about a 4% cut from Amazon. Last month someone clicked on a book link on my blog and bought a Nikon D200 and accessories, and my cut from Amazon was close to what I’d get for a whole year of posting on Pro Photo Home. Anyone planning to buy a Leica M8 soon? Maybe a new TV?

B&H Photo has also started an affiliate program. High traffic lens review sites like The Digital Picture utilize a nice blend of photo store links, Amazon, and Google Adsense without being overbearing.

I haven’t really made much of an effort to monetize my blog. The Amazon links are there for your reference. I only recommend things that I really like. My goal is to make enough money each month to cover my web hosting and other expenses, but I’m not worried about it if I don’t.

My tolerance for web advertising depends on the quality of the content. The better the content is, the more likely I am to put up with advertising. Where do I draw the line? I don’t like banners, boxes, or Google ads interspersed within the content. Keep the ads in the sidebar, and I usually don’t have a problem with the design.

Do advertisements and product links change how much you trust the content of a website? I would love to hear some examples of blogs you read regularly that have well designed ads.

5 thoughts on “Boards, Blogs, and Bling”

  1. Hi Joe,

    Saw your post and thought I would reply. Please feel free to delete if you like.

    It is a good question you raise regarding the emergence of the blogosphere and the traditional online forum community. I think the answer is clear that a fully closed traditional forum environment will not survive. But, what I believe is happening is that the lines between the two worlds is blurring. vBulletin is adding a lot of social media type feautres including blogs. We already have a free blogging system and plan to allow folks to have their own google ads in place soon.

    On the other hand a single point news source like an individual blog can rarely compete with the power of thousands of people cooperating in a community setting. Just have a look at youtube and myspace. The challenge is converting these web 2.0/ social media projects into a profitable business profiting both the managers/ owners and the individual members as both people’s time and information are valuable.

    We have certainly made many mis-steps along the way at pro photo home, but slowly these new two way approaches at revenue sharing are starting to come to light.

    Please feel free to let me know your thoughts. I will link to this post in the forum if that is ok with you.

    Thanks,
    Drew

  2. Hi Drew -

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I hope my post is clear in giving Pro Photo Home kudos for implementing an excellent idea. Certainly feel free to link here if you find the discussion stimulating!

    I’m working on a long rambling post where I take a closer look at the types of online photography sites I visit, the content quality, and how they are monetized. Stay tuned!

    Cheers,

    Joe

  3. Hi Joe,

    Yes, your post is very clear on the kudos. I just re-read my post and realized that I didn’t make that very clear. Nor did I make clear that blogs like yours are very powerful tools. Especially when taken as a whole and the fact that blogs often link back and forth to one another creating a loose knit community of sorts. Sorry if the post sounded a bit terse. I think I had just read some silly posts over at dpreview.

    Thanks,
    Drew

  4. Hi Drew,

    Reading dpreview can make me terse in a hurry! The community aspect of blogging is a lot of fun. I get to keep up with what other photographers are doing, and by linking to each other we can increase site traffic.

    Cheers,

    Joe

  5. After the D200, flash and flash-related accessory, the M8 is going to have to wait 8-)

    It makes sense to me that if I am gleaning knowledge from someone’s existing work, they should be thusly acknowledged.

    With flow from their blog’s advert links.

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