Tag Archives: Dooce

The New York Times Meets Dooce

The paper of record profiles Heather Armstrong.  Here is how it started.

She is the only blogger on the latest Forbes list of the Most Influential Women in Media, coming in at No. 26, which is 25 slots behind Oprah, but just one slot behind Tina Brown. Her site brings in an estimated $30,000 to $50,000 a month or more — and that’s not even counting the revenue from her two books, healthy speaking fees and the contracts she signed to promote Verizon and appear on HGTV. She won’t confirm her income (“We’re a privately held company and don’t reveal our financials”). But the sales rep for Federated Media, the agency that sells ads for Dooce, calls Armstrong “one of our most successful bloggers,” then notes a few beats later in our conversation that “our most successful bloggers can gross $1 million.”

By talking about poop and spit up. And stomach viruses and washing-machine repairs. And home design, and high-strung dogs, and reality television, and sewer-line disasters, and chiropractor visits. And countless other banalities of one mother’s eclectic life that, for some reason, hundreds of thousands of strangers tune in, regularly, to read.

I lost my job today. My direct boss and the human-resources representative pulled me into one of three relatively tiny conference rooms and informed me that the company no longer had any use for me. Essentially, they explained, they didn’t like what I had expressed on my Web site. I got fired because of dooce.com. FEB. 26, 2002

Today the sleek headquarters of Blurbodoocery Inc. — the corporate identity of Heather and Jon Armstrong’s company — is on the 1,000-square-foot third floor of their sprawling six-bedroom home on a cul-de-sac in Salt Lake City, where they have lived since June.

In one corner is the glass-walled office of their newest employee, John LaCaze, who came aboard a few months before that move, and whose job description — everything from answering e-mail to ordering lunch to making sure that time is not wasted because, after all, it is money — has earned him the nickname “Tyrant” on Heather’s blog. Next to LaCaze’s office is the studio, equipped for audio and video. In the center are Jon and Heather’s work spaces, each dominated by two enormous computer monitors and an array of cartoons and kitsch.

Next to the door of the office is etched “Heather B. Armstrong, President,” but by her desk is a nameplate that reads “Heather Hamilton.” That was who she was in February 2001 when she wrote her very first Dooce post. She was 25, with a degree in English from Brigham Young University and a job at a start-up in L.A. “In those days when you said you had a blog, people thought you had a venereal disease,” she says now.

Dooce was a nickname that grew out of an inside joke — a takeoff of “dude.” Unlike many bloggers (particularly women) whose initial goal was to update family living far away, her postings were never meant for her relatives. She wrote of the liberation she felt leaving her parents’ Mormonism behind, of sex and caffeine, of dating and work. In the summer of 2001, Armstrong’s site was receiving 58 hits a day. On a whim she e-mailed Jason Kottke, one of the earliest online aggregators (whose own site was still a hobby and had not yet become kottke.org) and asked him for technical advice. He linked to Dooce, and her readership leapt to 2,000 daily hits.

Pro Blogger I am Not

I was asked about the advertising I have on some of our sites the other day.  I sent most of this via e-mail but after I was asked about this again, I thought I would post it here.

I have never thought advertising was that big of a money maker.  If you have time, look at the rates that many of the blogs on Federated Media are making and it isn’t that much.  Compared to big media sites, blogs don’t generate that much traffic.  Despite all of the sites claiming to make big money from Google Adwords, without the traffic and a narrow band of content, I can’t see you making that much money from it.

The Cooper Cabin Weblog

The site generates about 150 hits a day, mostly from Google involving information on architecture and design.  The site is kind of interesting as hits never seem to go up or down on a seasonal basis or around holidays.

Advertising: Google Adsense serves up one ad block per page.  As you can see, it’s not a big revenue generator.  $52.37 since I added ads to the site over a year ago.

Google Ad Sense Revenue for The Cooper Cabin

Most of the ads from what I can tell come from when I am talking about architecture and design and the ad gives some purchasing options for that or a competing product.

Jordon Cooper Outfitters

It’s a new site and traffic is all over the place but averaging about 300 views a day with most traffic coming from Google.  It’s too new of a site to distinguish traffic patterns yet and it can vary greatly from day to day.

Advertising: Google Adsense serves up one small badge of advertising per page.  I also use Google Adsense to serve up ads in the feed (as explained by this comment).

The site has made a couple of dollars so far in 2010.  I don’t expect it to made $100.00 in advertising until early 2011 and the traffic has time to grow.  Google Adsense is the not the best long term advertising option for the site.

JordonCooper.com

It’s generated about 700 hits per day and about 1000 people subscribe to the RSS feed.  While not nearly as popular as it once was (the quality of the site seems to have gone down), the revenue from the site comes from it’s Amazon.com affiliate account.

I was making just pennies on the Amazon.com account until November 2009 when between it and December 2009, I made almost $1000 in affiliate fees all because of the series of Christmas gift guides I created for the site.  When I started them, I didn’t expect any bump in traffic at all and the main audience of the gift guides was a friend I work with who was dying trying to figure out what to get her dad and father in law for Christmas.  By early December, the site was serving up 15,000 hits a day from basically 10 different blog posts.  Not only did it generate a lot of traffic to Amazon, I also got thank you notes from several other sites for the traffic and the orders.

The site doesn’t employ much in terms of SEO practices so I contribute the traffic spike to dumb luck and there are a lot of people who are in similar demographic positions as Wendy and I who liked my suggestions.

The Cooking Blog

This is Wendy’s site and I mention it because it has made about $500 a year on Google Adsense Revenue.  I attribute that to it’s narrow focus, large Twitter following, and ads that are really closely linked to what people are searching for.

So now you know.

A quick search around some of advertising sites plus reading blogs like Dooce give you an idea of what kind of traffic you need to make a living doing this (Dooce has over 4 million).  Yeah, her and her husband are able to work at home and just run the site but 4 million hits a month is more than some blogs will see in a lifetime.  Even Tony Jones is on record for saying he made $5/day blogging on Beliefnet.  Online advertising isn’t going to make any of rich, maybe I should look at whoring myself out for publishers again.