Failed campaign strategist/pollster/tyrant Mark Penn writes in his always forward-thinking Microtrends column today: “Paid bloggers fit just about every definition of a microtrend.” Hooray! We’re eating steaks tonight! And then maybe some dancing, MMHMM? Tell us more: “In America today, there are almost as many people making their living as bloggers as there are lawyers.” Hoor– HUH? Oh god this entire fucking column is wrong, isn’t it?
Mark Penn’s problem is that he operates from a very wrong premise, shared by many people who don’t know what they’re talking about: If print newspapers are dying, then bloggers must be raking it in! (BY STEALING.)
The best studies we can find say we are a nation of over 20 million bloggers, with 1.7 million profiting from the work, and 452,000 of those using blogging as their primary source of income. That’s almost 2 million Americans getting paid by the word, the post, or the click — whether on their site or someone else’s. And that’s nearly half a million of whom it can be said, as Bob Dylan did of Hurricane Carter: “It’s my work he’d say, I do it for pay.”
One out of three young people reports blogging, but bloggers who do it for a living successfully are 2% of bloggers overall. It takes about 100,000 unique visitors a month to generate an income of $75,000 a year.
All of this is wrong. You will not make money blogging, especially now. There are not 452,000 Americans making their living as full-time bloggers. Probably 10,000, to be charitable. And that $75,000 average? WHAAA? This isn’t Gawker in late 2007, you ogre! The *median* is $22,000.
Ahhh, $22,000… now it smells like home.
Anyway in another shocking new “Microtrend,” Mark Penn updated his online version this afternoon with several paragraphs about how everything he wrote was wrong.
People have raised questions about the calculations on the numbers of bloggers for hire. First, I was surprised at how few studies there are on this and I believe there definitely should be more. So perhaps in the future I will do some original research, but for this piece we took the best we could find and referenced every number so people would know where they came from.
Look everyone, the head of the esteemed Burston-Marsteller Polling Firm thought that blogging was a major new wealth-creating industry!