Monday, May 23, 2011

The Money In Blogging

Some readers have criticized me for starting up The Strategic Planning Group.

They object to the fact that it’s a paid site, closed to non-members. One reader wrote, “It's a pity you did not find a way to finance it using advertising—I think you would have retained a larger readership, which in the long run keeps your profile higher.”

Not exactly a $ sign.
Well, see, at the end of the day, it’s not about keeping a high profile—for me, the motivation is to write whatever I want, and earn enough from it so that I can continue.

And that just doesn’t happen through advertising alone.

Let me make an example out of my own situation: My site is one of the more popular economics and finance sites on the web. To put numbers to that claim: In April, I had an average of 13,760 pageviews per day, and an average of 7,167 unique visitors. In May so far, I’ve had 12,850 pageviews per day, and 6,970 unique visitors per day. (At the bottom of this page, there’s a link so that you can verify my stats.)

According to Gongol’s EconDirectory, those figures put me in the Top 10 of econ and finance blogs—very impressive, you would think.

However, the advertising income I have earned from these numbers is nowhere near what would be commensurate with that readership.

I started putting ads on my blog in late October 2010. The ads are on the blog for all to see, and they change for each segment: Some readers see ads for, say, life insurance, and others see ads for gold bullion, while others see ads for universities.

The ads a visitor sees depends on where they are geographically (which is determined by their IP address), what demographic the advertising algorithm guesses that the visitor belongs to, and what things interests the visitor, depending on the cookies already on their browser. People who look at gold websites will tend to get ads for gold; people looking at insurance sites tend to get ads from insurers.

Ads seemed like a promising way to go—a promising way for me to simultaneously write whatever I like, and earn a living.

But after six full months, I’ve come to realize that the advertising money is simply not there. At best, it’s a bit of extra income—but you can’t make a living at it.

First off, advertising revenue is split 50/50 with the company that sells the ads, in my case Investing Channel. They are a very reputable firm, handling the advertising for Yves Smith’s naked capitalism, Calculated Risk, and Mish Shedlock’s site—three of the Top Five bloggers in econ and finance.

Second, the money you do earn via advertising has a very circuitous way of getting to you—and by the time it does, it’s a lot less than you thought.

Here’s a chart with the actual numbers I have so far earned by way of advertising on my blog:

click to enlarge
The “Advertising Revenue—Total” column is what Investing Channel is billing to advertisers; the “My share” column corresponds to my half of that potential revenue (emphasis on potential). “Payments Received” corresponds to what I actually received for each month.

Right away, you notice two things: Income varies wildly, and it’s not very much.

My blog is sui generis in that I don’t post short pieces every day—I post long pieces once or twice a week. Yet this idiosyncrasy seems to work: My readership fairly steadily averages about 350,000 pageviews a month.

Yet some months I book almost three times the ad revenue I book on other months. Seasonal swings are to be expected—but a three-fold variation from month to month? Jeez Louise . . .

Something else that pops out at you: The money I have actually received is of course less that what my share indicates it ought to be. This is because some advertisers don’t pay up, for whatever reason: Either they’re late, or they want to double-check, or they have complaints, or maybe they just flat out welsh on what they owe. So I receive less than what I’m actually owed.

Notice too that the money I receive is roughly two months after the month the ads were up. That’s because of billing lagtimes—you get paid 60 days after the end of the period in question.

Taking the total I received for the period November ‘10 through February ‘11—$6,838.07—that works out to an average of $1,709.52.

Per month. Gross.

You can’t live off of that—period.

As to sites with much more readership, like naked capitalism and Calculated Risk? They have four- and five-times my readership, respectively—so let’s say they earn four and five times what I earn, that is to say, $6,800 a month for naked capitalism, and $8,500 a month for Calculated Risk.

That’s not that much—considering they’re the leaders in the field, and considering this is gross income: Before any income taxes.

These numbers for nc and CR are on-the-fly guesstimates that are probably way off—I can only give exact figures for my own blog. But you see my point: Blogs—even the most successful blogs—don’t make money. Not through advertising, at any rate.

It took me a long time to figure this out. A long and painful time.

Some of my Loyal Readers & Kind Fans will recall I used to run The Hourly G, a topical blog where I posted several short pieces every day—

—it nearly killed me. I could keep up the pace during a week or two—but then three, four, five weeks? I was fried by the grind.

More to the point, there was no upside. I was trying to build The Hourly G site in order to have it be a platform for advertising. But then I realized that there was no money in ads—so I was killing myself for nothing. Not only that, my regular blog—this one—was beginning to suffer—what little ad revenue my regular site was generating was declining because of the work I was putting into The Hourly G site.

So I abandoned The Hourly G. Even though I enjoyed writing it, it was just not practical—and since (based on my regular GL blog) there wouldn’t have been the advertising revenue to make it financially sound, there was no reason for me to hire writers to help shoulder the burden.

The Hourly G just was not financially feasible. In fact, almost no free blog is.

Several people have tried looking at ways to make advertising on financial blogs something that can earn the writer a decent living. Barry Ritholz sent up a trial balloon among us financial bloggers—but in the end, it came to naught: There just wasn’t enough money to go around.

Why this is the case, I don’t care—what I care about is making enough off of my writing to support myself.

A lot of bloggers are in my exact same predicament: They have large readerships, but crummy advertising income. So they go on speaking tours, in order to drum up some incomes.

The problem with this—especially with bloggers who are telling it like it is—is that corporations which pay for these speaking engagements don’t want to bring in speakers who tell the truth. They don’t want speakers who are “downers”. They want Happy Talk, they want Inspiring Speakers—

—in other words, they want bullshit.

So the smartest, best bloggers barely get any speaking gigs—or if they do, it’s for peanuts, in out-of-the-way venues with small audiences. Often they speak in churches, priests and pastors inviting them so that they can explain to their flock why the financial situation is as bad as it is. Often, the “fee” is simply a collection basket passed around the audience. One blogger I know, with a big following worlwide, couch-surfed through Europe during a recent speaking tour—the blogger couldn’t afford a hotel, or even a modest B-and-B. Another blogger I know—doing ground-breaking work on the Mortgage Mess, work easily worth a Pulitzer—told me how nobody will pay to hear the depressing truth this blogger has uncovered and has been writing about.

Since I live in South America, setting up a speaking tour in North America or Europe would not be easy—and would certainly not bring in much revenue. It would certainly be fun—I’ve been thinking about doing one just for the experience of travelling around and talking, much like some Medieval itinerant scholar of old.

But a one-off tour for the novelty of the experience is one thing—touring to supplement your income is quite another. And it just doesn’t happen—not for the bloggers who are doing the best work.

Another avenue of income—which I have tried—is to make presentations and sell the recordings of them.

I did one on hyperinflation—you can see the advert in the right-hand column—and I liked doing the show. The income generated by the recording was fairly decent, which is always good, and the people who purchased the recording felt that they got their money’s worth, which is even better.

But an odd, fairly creepy thing started to happen: I started writing pieces in order to sell my hyperinflation recording. I went on a stretch about the dollar. It’s not that I cynically milked the subject—I believed in all the pieces I wrote. But I over-wrote on the subject strictly so as to drum up more interest—and therefore more sales—of the hyperinflation recording.

In other words, rather than writing whatever I wanted to, I started trying to tailor my stories so as to bring in more money.

Finally, I realized that, if I wanted to write whatever I want and at the same time earn a living, I would have to go behind a paywall.

Hence The Strategic Planning Group. As a paid site, its readership is far smaller than my regular blog—but what’s important is, I can write what I want to write and not be worried about earning enough money. I won’t have to tailor my writings in order to sell more of something, and I won’t have to spout shiny happy bullshit either.

At The Strategic Planning Group, I can relax.

I don’t feel at all guilty about charging membership fees—on the contrary: People are definitely getting their money’s worth—I’m doing everything in my power to make sure that that’s the case.

The Strategic Planning Group is a very polished, very smooth site, built by very capable web designers, at quite a bit of cost I might add, and quite a bit of effort. It’s got a very sophisticated forum called The Lounge, as well as an internal messaging system for Members. And since it doesn’t have advertising, it’s easy on the eyes and fast on the browser.

But best of all—and I must insist—it allows me to write whatever I want, and not be worried about the money bit—which is the whole point. It’s not that I want to be “exclusive”—it’s that I want to write quality pieces that are honest and forthright, and not be scrounging for quarters under every sofa cushion. So if I want to earn a living as a writer, and simultaneously write whatever I want, then I have to go behind a paywall.

Don’t for a second think that I’m abandoning my regular blog—quite the contrary: I’m still going to post on it, especially pieces which don’t fit in the SPG site (such as this very one you are reading). I’m also going to be reposting pieces that appear originally in SPG (though not the Scenarios, which are the crown jewels of the new site). In a very real sense, SPG will be financing the continuation of this blog that you’re reading.

Now, I told you at the beginning that I would explain why I had set up The Strategic Planning Group: And I think I have.

But an explanation should not be confused with an apology: I am never going to apologize for trying to simultaneously write whatever I want to write, and to earn a living at it too.

If people want to remove my blog from their Reader, or un-bookmark my page, fine, so be it. But I do think it’s snooty and arrogant to insist that a writer give away his work and not be recompensed.

After all, it took me four hours to write this piece—from 8:47 am to 12:23 pm, as I write. And it’ll take me a good ten to twenty minutes to proofread this piece, before it is ready for your enjoyment.

That’s got to be worth something more than just meaningless pageview stats.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t add: Please check out The Strategic Planning Group’s home page, as well as the Membership Preview and FAQ page. Thank you.

75 comments:

  1. noticed you conveniently left zerohedge out of your analysis, which likely does 10-20x what your so-called "leaders" calculated risk and naked capitalism generate.

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  2. Umm... fuck you. I'd be ecstatic to get US$1,709.52 per month to blog. I could live off of that easily.

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  3. Thanks for the explanation. I learned something today about blogging, advertising, and the revenue generated; or the lack thereof. Immediately after sending this I'm searching my couch cushions for $300.

    Sent from my iPhone.

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  4. Yeah yeah yeah. We know you're just greedy :-)

    Actually, I have no problems with the idea and taking one's talents and trying to earn a few bucks, but it's hard to ask folks who've gotten stuff for free previously to pay. One of the reasons you're getting grief (I'm not suggesting it's justified) is the fear that the community here will be lost as you develop the new project and it's likely that many readers feel that they've contributed to the existing site and don't wish to lose that, so your decision affects them significantly and that likely one of the reasons folks are complaining.

    For the kind of traffic that's being generated here, those advertising numbers have got to be disappointing. The best business model for blogging is one in which the ads supplement something else one is selling, so I agree that it makes sense to sell memberships, advice or something to open another income stream and if the video debate on hyperinflation worked well, I'd consider doing some more of that and link it here. Whereas folks might not pay a subscription, you can definitely get a "one off" going with this sort of thing not to mention that this sort of thing has a shelf life. Multiple streams of income off the same basic effort is the way to go. What you're going to have to do is keep each set of your customers happy and see them as separate groups. That's to say that the folks here are a separate demographic from those that might frequent the new blog. Sure there might be some crossover, but both are different and you have to keep both happy. Good luck.

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  5. GL ... I don't think there's anything wrong with making income from writing or blogging. But as I indicated earlier - there are risks attached to providing professional services that do affect the value of peoples' money & assets.

    Part of the risk is simply being wrong with predictions .... which can easily happen in today's volatile and (partially) manipulated markets. To be honest, I have a lot of respect for the handful of hedge fund managers who have simply thrown in the towel and refunded their investments back to their subscribers. That was probably an honest response to the real market situation these days.

    But in addition to the problem of market predictions, you could also face possible litigation if you provide advice and people lose real money by taking your suggestions. So protect yourself - carefully - if you decide to go down this path.

    Personally, I think that many readers are simply trying to process "what it all means". Not necessarily in terms of strict asset values, but more generally. What does the financial turbulence mean about our lives? What does it mean about our futures, and the future of the USA?? Those are important issues, but they don't necessarily fall under the umbrella of strategic financial planning.

    I suggest that you keep thinking about it. I'm sure you will find an angle that works. Good luck!

    PeteCA

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  6. GL,Thanks for the work you do.

    Your disclosure of the money in blogging was wonderfully informative.

    I would hope your tip jar would generate some significant revenue as well (that's been my main mechanism for supporting tfmetals..it may help that he mentions the "donate" button now and again in his posts)

    I wish you all the prosperity .. however you pursue it.

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  7. GL

    I commented a while ago that pricing was key.

    Your current pricing is in my opinion a key that will not unlock any bank vaults.

    If you have 7,167 unique visitors per month, and can gain the loyalty of 10% of them at $10 per month, then you will pocket $7k a month.

    My guess, is that you will get less than 2% of that current number at $35 per month, which equates to $5k.

    You need to go low and get them on the hook, also know as addicted, then keep building your client membership.

    As the saying goes 10% of $100 is better than 100% of nothing.

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  8. Some of us are,well, small fish in a very big pond. We like to read and learn, just like you, we have over head too. So; Us small fry's just get thrown back. Yes; It's real world. Wishing you the best.

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  9. Dignus enim est operarius mercede sua (Lc, 10, 7)

    Amen !

    Marco

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  10. I appreciate the time it takes you to write a long article a week. And it's good stuff, don't get me wrong.

    But you expect to make a living doing this, and this alone? By your own admission, you say you get ballpark $1800/mth, so if you write one article a week, that's $450 for an hour, maybe two hours of work? That's respectable.

    I wish you luck, but I won't be coughing up any green. Maybe if you start doing economics videos with two naked chicks behind you jumping on a trampoline in bikinis. Otherwise... I'm keeping my wallet in its holster. If you DO start doing that--please post here. Willing to reconsider.

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  11. SPG is a very cool site. You get full access to GL's Ivy League brain for 35 bucks a month.

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  12. @yo mamma, that's because zh is an investment site dumbass. btw, zh reads gl.

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  13. Just dropped by to say good riddance. After reading your prostration before Pinochet, I've had no use for you. I have friends whose friends were murdered by Pinochet. The BBC recently quoted Pinochet saying, "Kill the bitch (Allende) and the litter will die." Well the litter that was murdered by him were young people whose crime was to dream of not being ruled by military pigs.

    I hope you make lots of money as it looks like that is all you will ever have. Bastard

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  14. 99.9% of the wolds population can live off $1700 a month... this is a really poor move on your behalf and no amount of explaining will change the fact.

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  15. On May 23, 5:43pm, Mark wrote: "After reading your prostration before Pinochet, I've had no use for you."

    My reply:

    My "prostration before Pinochet" was to point out that the AFP private retirement account system in Chile—implemented during the Pinochet dictatorship by him—is a very successful system. (I wrote about this at: http://gonzalolira.blogspot.com/2010/08/social-security-and-chilean-afp-system.html)

    This isn't a controversial statement.

    The fact that there have been 20 years of democratic governments following Pinochet's dictatorship—including 2 terms of Socialist presidents—who didn't change the AFP system at all means either one of two things:

    One, either the AFP retirement system is very good, regardless of the fact that it was Pinochet's brainchild. Or two, those 2 Socialist presidents and the other 2 Christian Democrat presidents—plus the left-leaning Congress and Senate which have controlled Chile's legislature since 1990—were all "prostrating themselves before Pinochet".

    Mark, you're a bigoted idiot.

    GL

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  16. Interesting - good read. I pay to be on the GATA site because of the work they do and the articles.If I remember right it's 399.00 per year.
    This is a tough business to be in. Can I suggest that like GATA does do a 2 or 3 month free trial. That's how I found GATA a must read. (Le Metropole Cafe)

    Anyways good luck.

    Robert

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  17. Man, just do what you want/need to do - but keep on posting. I don't read you works because they are free - quite opposite - I perceive them as valuable pieces of the web, which should mean that I be willing pay for it.

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  18. Folks, it looks like some troll is attacking my blog because they don't like what I have to say.

    Apart from the puerile, bigoted comments by "Mark" above, if you notice the "smart stupid agree disagree" buttons, all of a sudden, 20 "stupid" clicks have appeared. On the star meter, all of a sudden an additional 20 one-stars have been logged.

    I don't have any control over this—which sort of proves my point: In a closed site, I don't have to put up with this bullshit.

    GL

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  19. This debate is just really stupid. If you don’t think the price GL is offering for his new site is worth it then don’t buy it. He is offering his education expertise and experience and is entitled to be compensated if he so chooses. He is entitled to set a price, which he thinks the market will accept. You as the consumer have the right not to buy it, complaining like a bunch of 12-year-old girls is just silly.
    To many people have gotten spoiled having so much free info on the web. If somebody decides to charge people freak out. It’s not like GL didn’t give us a taste of what he was offering and plenty of fore warning. Christ people get a grip.


    Good Luck with the new venture GL

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  20. So anyone here going to actually pony up $300?

    RE

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  21. I would settle @ $15.00/month. $35.00 is what I pay for my high speed internet connection which lets me read all the other bloggers and the web universe. It is a matter of correct pricing, as a previous reader mentioned, so you catch the most fish.

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  22. Your argument about why there is no money in blogging has holes in it. Clearly to get ad revenue up you need to increase page views. You have a very low number page views per user. If you can get your average pageviews per person up significantly there is a lot of upside. On the other hand I don't know how much of an increase is realistic and I can't blame you for trying the paid service route. Best of luck with it.

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  23. I have a suggestion. I don't know if it's a very good suggestion but it's a suggestion none the less.

    Why don't you keep your normal blog, write what you want and charge $2 a month. If you lose 1/2 your readership, you'll still gross around $7,000 a month.

    Although I enjoy your blog except when you go ape shit over Mish, I'd never pay $20 or $30 a month for your blog. I probably wouldn't even pay $10 a month but $2 is simply no problem.

    There's strength in numbers (just ask Ben).

    Think about it.

    Other than that, you are doing the right thing. Trial and error to see what works.

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  24. Hi there GL,

    Glad you addressed this issue. I am the reader you quote in your post.

    While you are probably right about the revenue from advertising (at least for now) my argument was actually two-fold:

    1. As you point out yourself, your site is “is one of the more popular economics and finance sites on the web.”. This suggests you are knowledgeable on such matters. This being the case, surely you should be able to trade yourself, to make some income until such a time when you can afford to write full-time? You don’t need to be a full-time trader à la Jim Rogers or Victor Sperandeo. But surely your expertise (and full-time attention to financial matters) should allow you to make intelligent short-term and long-term investments?

    2. Secondly, advertising revenue increases exponentially with name-recognition and readership. Presumably, the Financial Times make more than US$3900/month advertising revenue (your share for March 2011). My point was that it takes time to get there, and the sooner you start to charge for your site, the more you restrict new readership. Surely in the start-up phase of ANY business you don’t make much money? My (wild) guess is that the potential readership of your new site will be around 10% of what you could have on this page, with the model you have used to date. I don’t think your readers are “meaningless page-view stats.” At least, the US$135 million AOL paid for their stake in the Huffington Post argues against that.

    Is it not true that what you are facing is the classic conundrum faced by every entrepreneur? After a while, you resent the feeling that you are working (hard, as you point out) for not much (2-3k, in your case), which is understandably irritating. But it’s not “unfair”, since the day you can attract meaningful advertising revenue, most of it will go to you ;)

    It’s true that you have the right to charge for your work, and I don’t think anyone is suggesting you should feel guilty about charging membership fees. The question is whether it’s the smartest way forward, given that there are other (free) sites offering very intelligent analysis.

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  25. Good luck with the new blog model. I want to thank you for the freely given information in the past. Quite useful.

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  26. hey GL..

    as you will see ..there a lot of people that will not pay for a web site...you can not change this..

    as a member of..paid for.

    http://www.shadowstats.com/
    John Williams

    http://www.lemetropolecafe.com/
    Bill Murphy

    http://www.moneyandmarkets.com/
    Martin D. Weiss Ph.D.

    http://www.chrismartenson.com/
    Chris Martenson

    http://www.oftwominds.com/blog.html
    Charles Hugh Smith

    http://www.goldenjackass.com/
    Jim Willie CB

    these are a few of the sites I pay for...
    is the web changing.....yes....I spoted that a long time ago

    so I ask....why should I go to your new site????

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  27. I don't know, $35 a month seems a bit steep compared to Richard Russell, the dean of the good ole boys, used to charge $250/yr.
    I've read you up till now, because 1) It was free and I have lots of time to surf. 2) You've had some interesting articles. 3) Your arrogance reminded me of my younger days attending parochial school slinging hash with my friends on the play ground.

    I can't afford $35/mo. Wish I had $1800 a month income. No job, no health insurance, surviving on $1000/mo from savings.

    I'm glad to see you admit to sensationalizing in your articles. I figured you were. It does help to sell and attract attention to your blog.
    Gas prices just recently dropped 13 cents in my neighborhood and home prices are still falling, the local municipality is laying off more workers (er... people). It seems apparent to most that the US and world economy is beginning to slow again and QE2 isn't even over yet. Obviously, Bernanke's experiment to stimulate is a failure.
    Good luck with your SPG, hope it's a big success for you. God Bless.

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  28. Tell us something we don't know next time.

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  29. GL...

    ok I will bite..

    some thing tells me ...you will not like me on the site...

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  30. I ain't paying shit for your site...you complain you made $1759 a month and is not enough?, since you are living in Chile?, you can have a pretty decent live with $1,000 a month in Chile, but for you $1,759 is not enough...you are the same kind than the ones on Wall Street, in a third country version, of course.

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  31. You say you live in South America and are earning on average about 1,750 a month. You must be living in an expensive location down there. That monthly amount should be pretty damn good in most places. I'd take that amount and live a comfortable Ecuadorian life. I love that place.

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  32. GL...

    Thank you. Your account has been approved.
    — You'll receive an email momentarily.


    done...we shall see

    paladin

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  33. Hey Gonzalo,

    Love what you write, will continue to read your blog here. I live in America; hence, I can't afford to pay for your other sight. I may be able to in the future at some unknown point in time. God Bless and good luck. Never apologize for doing what you do and helping people and getting paid at the same time. Do actors ever apologize for a bad movie? I think not. Have a good one!

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  34. So $1,700 a month is not enough in South America to fan your ego part time?

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  35. of course $1759 is enough...he just want to get rich with the site, which there is nothing wrong to make money with your business, but!!, all these bloggers started taking shit about the greed in Wall Street, US banks and the hyperinflation bullshit and help and educate people from the next world financial collapse...that by the days I dont see it coming... Lira belongs to the rich elite in Chile that ran away from the socialism Allende...he and his family came to the USA, kept their wealth, get education for free, then they return to Chile and started taking shit about the USA...predicting USA total collapse!, is that how you pay your gratitude to the country that gave you everything Mr. Lira.

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  36. "Look what I'm dealing with, man,

    I'm dealing with fools and trolls."

    - Charlie Sheen

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  37. Ironically, I'm watching a rerun of "Two and a Half Men"—I shit you not: The episode where Charlie's gf introduces Alan to Rose on a blind date.

    GL

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  38. I hope you fall on your face, and you will. You're a spoiled little punk who never had a real job in his life. You need to be brought down a few notches because you have no value to most people, no value at all.

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  39. Do you realize how many people in the world live on less than $1700 a month? Unless you are one of the very, very few people in the world who realizes that "every man for himself" is no different than a bunch of caged rats fighting over food (with the rats being humans and food being money), then I could really care less if you make no money at all. What you write about is ultimately worthless.

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  40. Jack in the PhilippinesMay 24, 2011 at 9:14 AM

    I enjoy your comments, I'm glad you're going to continue blogging, and I wish you success with your premium service. I have the highest admiration for anyone who has the guts to try to make a living independently by producing something they believe in, especially in this economy. That said, I wonder whether a bit more patience and perhaps optimization of your ad stream might go part way to solving your problem. If you're able to keep the quality and posting frequency up on this blog, the ad income will probably continue to grow. It may surprise you in the long run.

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  41. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  42. Good for you GL. Thanks for the breakdown of blogging ad revenue; I'd thought the money wouldn't be much. I also figured that would happen with Da Hourly G Show too, never mind, it was still a good read while you were doing it!
    I'll probably pay for at least a month of SPG. Looks like it's the same price as the Hyperinflation article, and I got a very good idea out of that which was worth the money.
    In closing, I'd like to paraphrase a thoughtful observation by the late Professor Quirrell:

    "TROOOOLLLLSSSS!!!! TROOOOLLLLSSS IN GL'S BLOG!!!........ Thought you ought to know...."

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  43. I hope you take note of some of the ideas on here, as some are worthwhile. I think you know which ones they are. Try them out, see if they work.

    All the best.

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  44. It came up instantly!!!! OH MY GOSH!!!!!!

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  45. Where the fuck do you couch potato fucktards get the impression that you are entitled to free articles every week? GL does this for free b/c he wants to. It's not your right you buttwipes!

    Xavier Crocraptie believes that $1700 per month is income he can live off of "easily". Don't worry you dipshit punk, you've got a lifetime of living off less than that in you future.

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  46. This is my first time here. Interesting read on the adv revenue. Personally I suspect that you are making a big mistake.

    All decisions in life are between love and ego or non love. When we give freely of ourself we are expressing love and the world rewards us back. When we are focused on Money then we are stuck in the ego. We are worshiping money as our savior or false idol. Because money is a false idol it has to fail us. It can not be successful. Only the One True God of Love can be successful in bringing us eternal happiness.

    The successful path to happiness is not in getting all one can get. The path to eternal happiness is in giving everything to everyone.

    1. for as we give so shall we recieve. Give all to all and have everything.

    2. When we give to others we find we receive because we are all ONE. All that we give is to ourself.

    3. All decisions made by the EGO are ALWAYS WRONG. It has to be this way.


    Our life here on earth is but a journey of choosing the ego and failure until we finally surrender to knowing that our ego is always wrong and we decide of our own free will to try love. Money will give you the opportunity to buy more things that will fail to bring happiness. It will simply take you longer to realize that all you write you are writing / talking to yourself.

    Not bad making money talking to one's self.

    The above note is a note to myself. It is a form of teaching you but it really is teaching me. I experience how well I am learning the spiritual principles. Maybe I should charge $35 for my spiritual teachings. That's OK. I will give this one away for free.

    God Bless you all

    ReplyDelete
  47. GL
    I like your site, a lot. Very intelligent insights indeed. But the joy you get out of your own wit is a little bit too obvious for me to pity you for 1700$ a month. For a thing you love and which isn't for the masses this is some serious money. Anyway, a man gotta do what a man gotta do (JW). I wish you all the best!

    ReplyDelete
  48. I can only assume you are joking? What on Earth would subscribers be paying for? This blog is nothing more than standard-fare doomer chronicles. You generate no original analysis and very little original content. I've never seen a single trade recommendation on this site, much less a model portfolio with accompanying risk/return analysis.

    This entire blog is dedicated to your musings on the observation that the world is awash in unsustainable paper debt. Big deal. Anybody who clicks through to your blog already knows this. Why would anyone pay you $30/month to tell us what we already know?

    Good luck, but the truth is that the disappearance of this blog from the blogosphere will be little noticed.

    ReplyDelete
  49. Good luck on your venture, I am sceptical of your chances for success however since overall strategic advice re surviving hyperinflation
    is generally available but specific individual tactics which are useful are highly dependent on a myriad of individual situations ie age, risk tolerance, employment status etc etc.
    I dont think you are going to get this in a
    your new format.

    I enjoyed your blog and comments on breaking events (and did send you a modest tip in appreciation) but can see that in the last month or so fewer and fewer posts, which is understandible you dont want to give away what you feel you can get paid for.

    In any event I wish you success, I will miss your blog which I fear will disappear. I wont be subscribing for the reasons above.

    ReplyDelete
  50. GL I can't argue $1700 for most people. However my mother does live off of $1600 social security per month. It is not a great living, rather an existence. Likely it won’t even be that in short order. Have you given thought to a book every two or three years as a supplement to income? I believe Chris Martenson said most of the money goes to the publisher but some shows up in his mail box. Love the work you do and good luck in your efforts!

    ReplyDelete
  51. Price is what you pay, value is what you get. If GL needs to be paid to keep on blogging and giving us valuable information, then he should be paid. If you think his information is of value to you, then you should be happy to pay him. Of course, if you're one of those socialist types, who believes that everything ought to be free, or simply the "free rider" type, who thinks he can let others pay while he gets the same information for nothing, too bad. It's still (for at least a little while longer) a capitalist country. For me, paying wasn't the issue -- it was whether the information would be stuff I couldn't find elsewhere. I finally decided that, based on GL's work to date, he'd probably come up with something over the course of a year that would be worth far more than $300, so I subscribed. Now the ball's in his court, but I have faith in him. And, if I really like his stuff, why shouldn't he make $10,000 a month?

    ReplyDelete
  52. Bloggers are like artists. They paint their word pictures in crowded public squares or in the solitude of their garrets. Passersby peek over their shoulders...scoff or admire...but mostly their ignore the work...good or bad. Fine art painting is not a business...nor is blogging. It may be a satisfying compulsion, but it's a crummy job. Everyone has to make a living. An insightful artist offers the best deal in town...free revelations. For those who want to be paid for their efforts it is far better to be a money changer than a prophet. It appears that a portion of Gonzolo the prophet has become Gonzolo for profit. Think of SPG as a new religion...now that's a good business. Everyone has to eat. There are no free lunches. Humble preachers and pompous priests pass the collection plates. No apologies required for anyone (unless you are an investment banker).

    Good luck GL in your new venture.

    ReplyDelete
  53. I have the money to pay for the SPG membership, but I will not.

    I enjoy your free blog, but it isn't consistently updated.

    Your HourlyG project has proven to me that you get real ambitious real quick, and then you fizzle out just as quickly.

    How do I know that this won't happen when your SPG membership numbers aren't what you want them to be? It is because of these things, that a yearly membership is entirely out of the question. A monthly membership is far too pricey to pay for something, where I have no idea what I'd be paying for.

    The title Strategic Planning Group sounds like an investment firm, and I'm not interested in maximizing my investments so much as I am interested in learning How Shit Works and What It All Means.

    I appreciate what you bring to economics discussion, but I have a hard time comprehending how what you have to say would be worth what you charge.

    ReplyDelete
  54. GL ... there was a suggestion above by another reader that might actually work. Just write your normal blog, and charge readers $1 a month to participate. You could allow the general public to view the first paragraph of your commentary, but to see all the material and add comments would require a subscription. However, it is very important that you keep the fee extremely low (say $1/month). That allows readers from around the world to participate.

    This type of arrangement would get rid of the trolls very quickly - they won't pay any $$ just to distribute sarcasm.

    You should also keep in mind that one main reason why people read blogs these days is because the mainstream media have such poor journalism skills. "Investigative journalism" is practically dead as a profession, and even basic facts are not reported any more. So readers are looking for good analysis, and well-considered viewpoints. This is also one reason why ZeroHedge has become popular- they are not always right, but at least they do have their brains turned on when they report on a news article.

    This puts the ball back in your court. If you want to earn more $$ then you are gong to have to deliver a good piece of analysis. Not so easy to do on a regular basis - it takes more than a couple of hours of work to do a good examination of the facts and the underlying cause & effect.

    PeteCA

    ReplyDelete
  55. surprised to only hear you are getting 50% from innvestingchannel; i get 56%.

    ReplyDelete
  56. What's with all these trolls???? A few of us apparently believe in the institution of slavery (some people should be required to work for free in order to confer benefits on other people.) Speaking for myself - thanks for the interesting info on the income of bloggers, good luck with your paid website, I hope you make a million bucks with it. Speaking for myself, I certainly couldn't live on $1700/month (two kids in college!). Unfortunately, I can't afford your paid website for the same reason ($300 year? not while I have two kids in college!). But I look forward to getting the crumbs from your table as they occasionally drop on the current site.

    Your admirer, Katie

    ReplyDelete
  57. I think it's great you're making some consistent money. In fact, you're making 10x more than most active bloggers.

    If you're expecting to make a living off of blogging like a few self-promoters claim they do, that's going to be tough. In my opinion the Blog/AD combination is a thing of the past. People have become "blind" to ads.

    The Internet has spoiled us into Freebiedom. The sad part is that people expect talented writers like yourself to write good material for free!

    You're fortunate to have good blog traffic. I feel a little jealous because as a blogger, I only see traffic when I drive my car. I'm such a lousy writer that I'd have to pay people $1,700 a month just to read my material!

    Keep up the good work and be grateful that you're making money. Things could be worse. You could a blogger like me who makes zip from my rants.

    ReplyDelete
  58. GL

    There are lots of good suggestions posted here.

    I find it interesting that your SPG "Its on Like Donkey Kong" solicited 3 responses.

    But your piece on "The money in blogging" has accumulated 59.

    What I think will happen, and I could be wrong, but I am not often!! Is that regular reader will drop you?

    As I have stated, it’s all about pricing. I would pay $1 to read your postings once per week, and I am certain that you could persuade another 2500+ to part with a $1 for each blog you issue, and it would grow as the words get out.

    I get the Wall Street Market Commentary from Charles Payne, CEO & Principal Analyst twice a day for free, and it’s a great insight to markets trends. And if he decided to charge, I would not pay too much, but I would pay a $1-2.

    What I also find disconcerting, is that you have to explain your actions on here, you are obviously an intelligent person, but if you cannot manufacture a reasonable pricing structure for your work, then what hope we have for the SPG work.

    I can almost feel your frustration, hell we all want to make money for the things we do, but be careful how you structure this, as getting readers back into the stable after they have bolted is harder than defending Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

    Mark Twain: “Write without pay until somebody offers to pay”

    Below is my offer.


    Therefore:

    Regular Blog Posting: $1
    Killer Blog Posting: $2
    SPG: $8 per month or $1 one time view.

    ReplyDelete
  59. I agree with you. You can't make money blogging.

    It's funny, though, for someone with as much exposure as you do, how come today is the first time I've heard of you?

    But here's where I disagree with you: I don't think the service you are selling would be worth buying, but then, I rarely buy any investment information, so that may have more meaning about me than you.

    Also, hyperinflation is unlikely in the US. Inflation, yes. Stagflation, yes. But if the US has hyperinflation, there will be a lot of trouble everywhere because US Treasury securities underlie most of the global financial system. If they prove worthless, most banking systems will be insolvent, and many governments too. Thus it will be in the interests of almost everyone to avoid that possibility.

    But you write well, I can see that.

    David

    ReplyDelete
  60. My subscription to Schiff Premium radio is $60/year and I consider this price a steal. I'd renew without hesitation at double this price. GL, I'd go as high as $120/year for your site, as well, even though I consider Peter Schiff a known commodity with a proven track record.

    ReplyDelete
  61. From a mediocre blogger with much lower traffic making more money than you, a few simple observations.

    I'm not one of those "how to make money online" guys; I blog about finance and investing, so obvious corollaries to earnings for your site:

    Primarily, your blog is simply not geared toward monetization.

    Blogger sucks. Get off it immediately. Either start a new blog on wordpress and gradually migrate traffic over by imploring readers to visit your new site, redirecting links or whatever...but shift over. Self host. Wordpress. Simple $100 design tweaks and you're there.

    Next, you're getting a horrible ECPM. First off, why are you paying someone else to manage your ad inventory? And why are they doing such a shitty job in the process? I'm looking at an ad for the Droid. WTF? There should be relevant finance-related ads delivered. By some simple calculations, I gather you're getting something like an ECPM of 4. That is absolutely bottom of the barrel bad. Google doesn't like specifics, but across a few blogs, I average 30-40. Let's say you do less than half as well for whatever reason, that's 15. That's 3-4 times what you're making now. Overnight. Ditch these ad inventory managers, set up your own adsense blocks and you're off to the races. see next bullet.

    Ad Placement - Again, the design is just not suited to making money. Take one of my sites like etfbase.com or darwinsmoney.com. On any of the post pages, Bam! Big adsense block right at the top - relevant content - strong color scheme. I've tested and optimized my ad blocks and that has boosted the ECPM big time. People don't click on sidebar ads nearly as much as in-content ads. You can do this easily on Blogger, but blogger sucks, so don't get comfortable. Switch anyway.

    Affiliates - I know, peddling cheesy products will dilute your brand, so you don't want to turn into Glenn Beck (well, I don't think you ever would have wanted to be Glenn Beck)...but anyway, there must be some products you use or believe in. With your traffic, you should be able to review a top online brokerage, a gold company, whatever and derive some serious cash through either a) recurring affiliate revenue or b) a paid, direct post.

    Direct Ads - Next, you should have advertisers approaching you for static banner ads (avoid text link ads - bad). But again, with your traffic, a couple banner ads should easily net several hundred bucks per month in recurring revenue. I can put you in touch with some.

    Look, these are some simple suggestions and I hate to see a good blogger with such high traffic resorting to tactics that will both dilute your brand and your readership when some simple changes to your primary outlet could easily double or triple your income - permanently.

    Ditch the paid service, put your best, premium content on a NEW wordpress blog, push your readers over there with some simple analysis of your highest performing current pages and inserting redirects and you're off to the races.

    Feel free to pop in via my contact page at darwinsmoney.com and I'd gladly walk you through what's working for me, what isn't and how you can triple your income in no time short.

    I'll tell you this though. My blogs are a fraction the size of yours, my content's not as good and I'm making more money per month. I'd be glad to help.

    ReplyDelete
  62. I'm with them. I am not sure what value I could get out of SPG site because it is all just conjecture, but you have had some really well researched, investigative reporting here. I love this blog. I would pay for this blog right here if I knew you were going to post every day with the kind of good, hard journalism you have shown us in the past. But I would have to pay per month, because some months are tougher than others...

    ReplyDelete
  63. Phineas WhipsnadeMay 25, 2011 at 8:56 PM

    Who are some of you people? Are you adults with experience of the business world -- or of the world at all? Some of you sound like college students who've just taken a course in socialist theory, or losers who believe that everyone's victimizing them. If you don't think that GL's work will be worth -- to you -- what he charges for it, why then don't subscribe. But don't then take a further step and conclude that there's somehow an absolute value that he is overcharging for. Value is always relative. One insight, one piece of information, can potentially make or save tens of thousands of dollars -- for someone. And even if GL's stuff doesn't directly make money for you, even if you just read for entertainment, you should still pay something. Get over yourselves. Go bother someone else. GL, pay no attention; the dogs bark but the caravan moves on!

    ReplyDelete
  64. @DarwinsMoney: That was nice of you!

    This was amazing to scroll through. No more time. Dinner next, then out until after midnight.

    I trust the wolves will still be here when I return.

    Good luck GL.

    ReplyDelete
  65. I am back for a few minutes. I couldn't stop thinking about the money values being tossed around in the earlier comments to this thread.

    It is no wonder, I have my share of debt - After cashing out Roths I would have about 5,000 left, if that.

    I didn't realize just how poor/low income I was, or phrased another way, I did not realize how many high earners there were out there - Really does not matter - it is the content that matters.

    If GL can make a million each month with his writing, then so be it. I hope he can. He would deserve it! The tone of envy and lacking appreciation is amazing.

    Baffled in Kansas

    ReplyDelete
  66. As Apple's iTunes Store has been proving for quite some time now, charging 99 cents to lots of people is waaaaay more profitable than charging 35 dollar to just a handful of them.

    Also, anyone who has found and is interested in your opinions -one just doesn't get here by sheer randomness- will have some 5-10 other financial bloggers he/she will want to follow. Suppose they too start charging $35 a month, that would quickly add up to over $200/month. Even for, say, a 'midsize' audience like yours, that is ridiculously overpriced. (Of course you have every right to charge whatever you want; it just isn't a very smart thing to do to make it too expensive - and wasn't being smarter than the rest of us exactly what you were getting paid for in the first place...?)

    Like other commenters, I for one would be happy to subscribe to a $1/month fee for my 20 favorite bloggers, as would numerous other readers - provided it works 'on the fly', i.e. can be implemented by one or two mouseclicks at most and does not require tedious recurring login procedures (and particularly not ones that tell me what password I can or cannot use). After a one-time setup I'm willing to hit a pay button and a confirm button once a month. That's it, and both technically and financially that should be quite enough.

    And finally, my hunch would be most readers here are interested in +your+ opinions, and not quite as much in those of a Group of people, even when led by you. Somehow I sense that you being CEO of such a Group will make both your own and the group's opinions LESS valuable than the ideas of good old just plain thinking Lira on his own.

    ReplyDelete
  67. You are one of the best writers I have ever come across, and I have a personal library of well over 2,000 books at present. If you don't capture the revenue from the financial subjects you cover so well, you might be able to score with a good romance novel, given how silly people are when it comes to spending money. Most of the time one can’t even give the good stuff away. Of course one must be able to appreciate the best, and the best is usually never appreciated. That is how I have often been able to profit without cash.

    ReplyDelete
  68. Thank you for sharing your insight into the business of blogging. It is so important to offer quality content, and it would be great if you could earn a living to provide the insight you offer. It should get better for you. There are tips on productivity at http://adliks.com/productivity.htm Perhaps this could be of help to you and others. All the Best.

    ReplyDelete
  69. GL, it sounds like you need to talk to DarwinsMoney, and fast. he's spot on.
    Steve

    ReplyDelete
  70. Look into and adapt Bitcoins.

    ReplyDelete
  71. Great blog you people have maintained there, I totally appreciate the work.
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  72. This generation is completely engrossed in their image, even more so than before. Facebook alter egos, for example. Everyone seems to be posing or fronting, even if it means having the newest iPhone. unlocking the iPhone

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Whether you agree with me or not, thank you for your comment.

If you liked what I wrote—or if it at least made you think—don’t be shy about making a payment. The PayPal button is there for your convenience.

If you have a question or a private comment, do feel free to e-mail me at my address expat229@gmail.com.

GL