Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Don’t quit your day job

Advertising sold by blogs and podcasts rocketed 198.4% last year and will soar another 144.9% in 2006, according to a breathless new survey from “the world's leading [only?] provider of alternative advertising and marketing research.”

The research outfit, PQ Media, says the combined spending on blogs, podcasts and RSS feeds totaled a whole $20.4 million in 2005 and will grow to fully $49.8 million this year. You can buy the report for the introductory rate of $895.

Assuming PQ is CQ*, how much revenue does the average blog gross?

That depends on how many blogs you think there are. It turns out that the estimated number of self-published efforts ranges wildly from 34 million to 144 million, depending on who’s counting and how they do it. Podcast Alley has indexed 17,551 podcasts, so we'll treat them as a rounding error for the purposes of the following analysis.

Technorati says it tracks 34 million blogs. If you divide $20.4 million by that number, the average revenue per blog is 60 cents per year. If PQ is right, bloggers can look forward to grossing an average of $1.46 this year.

The Blog Herald reckoned that up to 144 million blogs had been created worldwide as of October, 2005. The survey reports that there are 3,500 blogs in Brunei, 15,000 in Denmark, 700,000 in Iran and more than 6 million in China. Adjusting for the number of abandoned efforts, the Blog Herald has settled on 100 million as a nice, round figure.

If so, then the average blogger from Brunei to Beijing collected 20 cents in ad sales last year and can look forward to pocketing half a buck in ’06. That, plus another 75 cents, will get you a bus ride in San Francisco.

Notwithstanding the Lilliputian size of the me-media business at the moment, PQ projects that it will grow to $757 million in sales by 2010. Who knows? They might be right.

Until then, bloggers would be well advised not to quit their day jobs.

* CQ is old-time newspaper shorthand for “correct.”