Monday Feb 05, 2007

Lemonade 2.0: Could Blogging Be Your Kid's First Business?

Today, The Christian Science Monitor has a story about using contextual advertising systems (such as Google AdSense) to make money from blogging. It notes that moderately successful bloggers usually make at most a few hundred dollars a year from advertising, while only a very few uber-bloggers make enough to actually live off of blogging (and in their cases, indirect revenue from consulting and public speaking work is usually far more lucrative). Interesting, but not very surprising if you've read other writings on the subject.

More intriguing to me were a couple of side comments on the article's second page. One expert notes that his son now makes more from his blog's AdSense revenue than from his allowance. That's interesting. Blogging has practically zero barrier to entry and provides the realistic opportunity for revenues which most kids would find very meaningful. Hmm... Could starting a blog replace lemonade stands as the quintessential step in childhood entrepreneurialism?

Also catching my eye was a complaint that AdSense doesn't allow venue owners enough control over ad content. I've often thought this myself. Our policies at Sun prohibit AdSense ads on company blogs for this very reason. No business wants to open the door for competitors to advertise on its own site. Of course, many corporate blogging sites probably wouldn't allow advertising anyway. But some would. And the corporate blogging example is just one of many cases where advertising is being omitted due to a lack of control for the venue owner. Might this be a key vulnerability in Google's AdSense behemoth?

I think it could be. So if your entrepeneur child is ready to graduate past professional blogging, you might just encourage them to create an AdSense competitor with better content controls. Success in that endeavor would certainly mean more than a few hundred dollars.

Friday Feb 02, 2007

Sun: Your Stealth PR Firm

In Chapter 4 of Naked Conversations (which many would call the "Bible" of corporate blogging), Robert Scoble and Shel Israel call Sun "the bloggingest of companies." True, they wrote that a couple of years ago--but since the number of Sun bloggers has trippled since then, it's probably safe to assume that the label still fits.

Cool. But what can it do for you? There is, of course, the obvious benefit of reading the blogs. Whether you're wondering how our kernel geeks plan to top Solaris 10 or how one of our accountants' kids did in a dance recital, we've got a blog for you (if not ten of them).

But I think there is also a less obvious benefit. If you're smart, we'll even do your PR work for you--free. Just tell us how you're using one of our products, and one of us (if not ten of us) is bound to blog about it. Even if you could find a PR firm with 3,000 agents (and counting), they certainly wouldn't beat our price. And if you believe in the "new media" ideas being advocated in works such as Naked Conversations, you know that the right blogging really can trump traditional marketing.

So if you're comparing technologies, don't forget to include the "free marketing" benefit in your list of pros and cons. The technology comes first, of course. But in the case of a tie, why not go with the company that can handle your technology and PR needs?

For an example of this kind of blogging, see our new Stories blog, where we profile users of GlassFish and related technologies. We think it's a win/win situation, with positive exposure for everyone involved: Sun, the GlassFish community, and the profiled users. It's nice when interests align, isn't it?

Tuesday Jan 30, 2007

How Open is Too Open?

Wow. Did I really exploit my own baby pictures last week? Just how low will I stoop in trying to attract readers? Lucky for you all that I haven't had any medical procedures which I could exploit for a little shock factor. Then again, who would stoop that low?

(I am, of course, just kidding--Couric's openness brought attention to an important procedure and undoubtably saved lives.)

Thursday Jan 25, 2007

Looking My Best

In today's networked world, we interact with many people who we've never met in person. It's true in my daily work at Sun (where I would estimate I've probably met less than half of the people I deal with by phone and email), and it's certainly true in blogging (where often we don't even know the names or places behind most of our audience). One frequent tip for overcoming this hurdle and making meaningful connections is to share personal touches such as pictures of yourself.

For a while now, I've been meaning to do just that (by adding a picture to my blog's template and to Sun's internal employee directory tool). The first step is, of course, finding a picture. Since my wife is our household historian, I asked her if she could email me a picture of myself. Absolutely, she said--and asked if this one would do:

Picture of Jamey as a Kid

Very funny.

Then again, maybe she's on to something. Coming from a thirty-something blogger, my writings are hardly earthshaking. But from a three-year-old, they might be impressive. Occassionally.




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