Friday, February 24, 2006
POSTED: Feb. 22, 2006
By Graeme Wearden
ZDNet UKFebruary 23, 2006, 12:30 GMT
After 12 months of trying to survive on contributions from blog readers, Jason Kottke is ending his experiment with micropayments. Kottke, a Web designer who quit his job to run his blog full-time, has abandoned his plan to make a living through blogging after exactly one year. Kottke announced on Wednesday that he was no longer seeking payments from people who enjoyed his blog, kottke.org. He said that he hadn't managed to attract enough readers or developed "a sufficient cult of personality" to support the subscription model.
He also explained that he wasn't able to keep providing the time and energy needed to make his blog successful enough. "My (unstated) intention from the beginning was to approach the site as a startup, but along the way life intervened (in a good way) and I couldn't focus on it as much as I wanted to. The site became a normal job, a nine-to-five affair, which meant that I could keep up with it, but growth was hard to come by," wrote Kottke.
Kottke was one of the first wave of bloggers. He set up kottke.org nearly eight years ago, and was awarded a Lifetime Achievement award at the Bloggies in 2003. He announced that he was going to work on the blog full-time on 22 February 2005, and was seeking micropayments from regular readers. Kottke revealed on Wednesday that he had raised a total of $39,900 (£22,800) from 1,450 donors. Most of that was received in the initial fund-raising drive in February and March 2005 when his project began.
It's unclear what Kottke will do next. "In the short term, it [kottke.org] is going to be taking a back seat to some other things going on in my life. Longer term, who knows? I might look for other ways to fund my efforts on the site or maybe it goes back to being more of a hobby. But there will be posts and links and other things here almost daily, just like there have been for almost 8 years now," he wrote.
Dave Sifry, who founded the blog search engine Technorati, believes that the secret to creating a successful blog is to specialise on a certain topic. This will help to attract attention from other bloggers and push the blog into what Sifry calls the "Magic Middle" of the blogosphere, he argued in a posting earlier this month. Robert Scoble, known as The Microsoft Blogger, published a book last month called Naked Conversations in which he argued that individuals and businesses cannot afford to ignore the power of the blogging community. "Blogging has past the denial and most of the anger phase. Now, businesses see blogging's huge potential and have begun to adapt it to business needs.
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