An article earlier this week caused come ripples in the professional blogoshpere after the Wall Street Journal ran a piece which claimed that 452,000 Americans use blogging as their main source of income. Frederic Lardinois at ReadWriteWeb did a good job slapping down the most outrageous claims in the article, while Mike Masnick at TechDirt focused on the double standards at play in the WSJ and elsewhere where bloggers are castigated for not being “proper journalists” by, erm, non-journalists. ProBlogger’s Darren Rowse also go in on the act, offering his own and his readers experiences of how easy it is to make a living blogging.
Many other commentators flagged up the claims in the WSJ that a) there were more professional bloggers than computer programmers in the US, and that b) these bloggers were earning an average of $75,000 each, the general consensus being that perhaps the WSJ should have commissioned some independent research rather than relying on the patch evidence currently available. The overall impression I was left with, however, is that the Kenyan blogosphere faces its own challenges.
The Kenyan blogosphere is both international and local. The most popular blogs are written not just by those in the country but also in the diaspora. While it could be argued that this is the same for all blogs, the majority at least tend to stick with writing for one locale, from which they hope to earn their revenue. Kenyan bloggers, on the other hand, have to look in two directions: first to Kenya, and then to the rest of the diaspora, wherever they may be.
This presents a problem when looking for advertising. Although a blogger may be willing to gamble that their audience is primarily Kenyan, there’s also the question of where the audience is reading from. Should they sign up to an ad network that caters to a Western or Kenyan audience? They could sign up for both, sure, but would that make their blog pages seem incoherent? Then there’s also the question of which ad network is likely to generate the best revenue. No point signing up to something that does nothing, after all.
I’ve noticed quite a few Kenyan blogs running on the Blogger platform that take advantage of AdSense with no overhead, and there are also those who run Google ads on their own domains. At the same time, other Kenyan blogs run “local” (Kenyan based) ads, while others still seem to prefer the sponsored post option. Are they making any money from their blogs? I can’t say. What I do know is that there isn’t likely to be any real opportunity for Kenyans to earn money from blogging until there is an ad network that can takeadvantage of the dual-aspect market that Kenyan bloggers cater to.
[Image by EricaBiz]