According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, “America’s Newest Profession: Bloggers for Hire,” by Mark Penn, 1.7 million of the nearly 20 million bloggers in America profit from their writing, and over 450,000 earn a full-time living through blogging.
Most bloggers who earn money through blogging earn hundreds, rather than thousands of dollars, but the professionals who “work at corporations, serve as highly paid blogging consultants or write for sites with substantial traffic” can make a substantial living through their writing. Independent bloggers make money through pay-per-click advertising such as Google AdSense, but as the article points out, this can lead to sensationalism in the pursuit of additional clicks.
Inevitably, the article wraps up with a consideration of the ethics in blogging, as well as the lack of regulation and unionization. Penn closes with the question, “But for how long can nearly 500,000 people who are gradually replacing whole swaths of journalists survive with no worker protections, no enforced ethics codes, limited standards, and, for most, no formal training?” I’m guessing that many successful freelance writers and editors could answer that one!