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For all the talk about how individual blogs have been growing for the past years, it seems that only bloggers with massive amounts of traffic have been able to make any serious coin from their blogging. Perhaps both bloggers and advertisers should instead be looking to monetize their influence, and not their traffic?

First of all, let me state up front that I make no money from advertising on my blog, and have turned down repeated offers to place ads there. This is mainly because it likely wouldn't make me very much money, and I fear it would be a nuisance to my readers. Jason Falls recently redesigned his blog, Social Media Explorer, and as part of the redesign, he took all advertising off his blog:

"We've also stripped out the advertisements. After doing some research on Doc Searls' Because Effect and thinking more about Chris Anderson's Economy of Free philosophy, not to mention the whopping $1.45 I've made in something like nine months from AdSense, it's easy to see that neither you nor I need them here."

This is where I think the problem lies. With the basic AdSense model, bloggers that are getting less than several thousand readers a day (which is 99% of bloggers), aren't going to be making much more than nickels, and the ads themselves will likely distract from the content the bloggers are trying to monetize.
Now I have no idea what type of traffic Jason is getting to his blog(he does have a Feedburner widget currently displaying 436 readers). But I can look at it and see that his blog is popular, based on the number of comments he is getting, and he has well over 600 followers on Twitter.
So Jason has influence. He has hundreds of people following him on Twitter, and he has hundreds of people reading his blog feed everyday.
So it seems to me that there is an opportunity for companies to reach out to bloggers such as Jason with some sort of sponsorship on their blog. For example, take the companies that a blogger evangelizes on their blog, and have them do short-term sponsorships with the blog. Say one-month in length. This is perfect as it gives both the company and the blogger a chance to 'test' the sponsorship waters, without a long-term commitment. And there could even be a way to involve the readers in the sponsorship, like giving the readers a special code for a percentage off for a limited time, or picking a reader at random to win a prize that the sponsor provides.
Now I know that some will go apeshit at even the thought of bloggers monetizing their work. But the fact remains that many bloggers are trying to make money off their blogging by putting ads up on their blogs. And in many cases, these ads probably aren't making the blogger much money, and probably aren't doing much for the reader either. If there's going to be bloggers trying to monetize their efforts, why not attempt to improve the process? I think if bloggers and potential sponsors both put their heads together, there's probably a way to work together so that the blogger, the sponsor, and the readers can all benefit.
If you blog, think of some of the brands that you have praised on your blog. What if one of them wanted to sponsor your blog for a month, would you go for it?

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image of Mack Collier

Mack Collier is a social-media strategist based in Alabama. He helps companies build programs and initiatives that let them better connect with their customers and advocates. His podcast, The Fan-Damn-Tastic Marketing Show, discusses ways that brands can turn customers into fans. His first book, Think Like a Rock Star: How to Create Social Media and Marketing Strategies That Turn Customers Into Fans, was published in April 2013 by McGraw-Hill.

Twitter: @MackCollier

LinkedIn: Mack Collier