Whether the argument is about training, responsibility, impartiality or audience, they are often treated as second class online-citizens, despite the fact many are competing with, and in some cases, filling a gap left by a declining traditional media.
However, there is a definite gray area when it comes to money.
Journalists are paid to do their job. They work for a title, receive a salary or a freelance rate whether the are writing straight copy or opinion pieces. Bloggers, however, are often seen as hobbyists – members of the public who have an interest and like to write about it.
So can you make a living out of blogging, and if so, how?
The problem is, perception. Surely a blogger asking to be paid is like a computer games nerd being asked to play World of Warcraft. They’ll do it anyway, so why pay them? More often than not, bloggers just want to get the word out there.
However, the difference between a games nerd and a blogger is exposure.
Yes, the gamer may tell all of his friends how great World of Warcraft is, but a blogger may tell thousands.
Hence, some advertisers will pay bloggers to talk up their products. Remember the much criticised Pay Per Post site, where bloggers earned money based on how many posts, links and positive comments they made. Why? because people believe blogs. In the same way advertisers PAY for full page spreads in magazines, that look like regular copy, so a blogger with a financial motive can be a powerful marketing tool. A concern about Pay Per Post was that bloggers were not required to admit they were being paid to review that product. Deceptive? More, a loophole in ever developing web that won’t stay open for long.
Are these bloggers actually bloggers? Yes they have blogs, that may, in the past have contained their personal opinions, but now they are writing to order.
Have these the bloggers become now become journalists, or copywriters? Surely copywriters, if they are being paid to write for the company.
Which brings me to my quandry.
How do you make that jump from hobbyist to professional moneymaking blogger? And do you have to sell your soul to the man in order to do it?
And should you ask a company to pay you, if they ask you to live-blog their event or product for it to appear on your own site?