Post # 8: Blogging

Today, writing a homework assignment on my blog feels a bit like living in the future.  I remember when “web logs” were new.  Few people wrote them, most were highly personal, and there weren’t many popular ones.  Some of the top blogs from my preteen days were on Xanga and LiveJournal. Like MySpace, these blogs are hardly relevant anymore. (See blog timeline at bottom of post.)  Now, Some of the most popular free blogging platforms are WordPress, Blogger, and TypePad.

As our technology skills have improved, blogging has boomed.  The days of online diaries are, for the most part, behind us.   Now, many businesses operate from a blog platform.  For some, blogging is highly lucrative.  One of the most publicly known commercial blogs is The Sartorialist, a high-end fashion blog run by Scott Schuman.  With enormous amounts of website traffic and high-paying advertisers, he made over $1 million annually from blogging. His blog no longer features banner advertisements, but his web presence has earned him a “six-figure book deal with Penguin, and a booming photography business.” (Read more from Fast Company.)  He also boasts over 100,000 unique site visitors per day.

Scott Schuman | Photo: Garance Doré | Via The Sartorialist

Scott Schuman | Photo: Garance Doré | Via The Sartorialist

If you want to be successful in the modern world, it’s essential to have a great web presence.  Many creative jobs and marketing positions are now filled online.  The job hiring process often means scoping out LinkedIn profiles and digging up personal information on Google.  If a young professional has a blog or website for recruiters to land on, it shows initiative, the ability to influence, and a personal voice.

It takes both marketing skills and tech-savvy to run a successful blog.  To run a for-profit one, it takes a bit of luck and a lot of ingenuity. Exceptional blogs can even be be sold as a business.  For the rest of us, bloggers make money through advertisements and partnerships.  This ranking of top earning blogs shows the main source of income through advertising:

Top Earning Blogs | Via Income Diary

Top Earning Blogs | Via Income Diary

For reference, a comprehensive timeline of the history of blogging:

January 1994
Swarthmore student Justin Hall creates first blog ever,

December 1997
Online diarist Jorn Barger coins the term “Weblog” for “logging the Web.”

April 1999
Programmer Peter Merholz shortens “Weblog” to “blog.”

August 1999
Blogger rolls out the first popular, free blog-creation service.

January 2000
Boing Boing is born.

July 2000 launches.

February 2002
Heather Armstrong is fired for discussing her job on her blog, Dooce. “Dooced” becomes a verb: “Fired for blogging.”

August 2002
Nick Denton launches Gizmodo, the first in what will become a blog empire. Blogads launches, the first broker of blog advertising.

December 2002
Talking Points Memo highlights Trent Lott’s racially charged comments; thirteen days later, Lott resigns from his post as Senate majority leader.

December 2002
Gawker launches, igniting the gossip-blog boom.

March 2003
“Salam Pax,” an anonymous Iraqi blogger, gains worldwide audience during the Iraq war.

June 2003
Google launches AdSense, matching ads to blog content.

August 2003
The first avalanche of ads on political blogs.

September 2003
Jason Calacanis founds Weblogs, Inc., which eventually grows into a portfolio of 85 blogs.

January 2004
Denton launches Wonkette.

March 2004
Calacanis poaches Gizmodo writer Peter Rojas from Denton. Denton proclaims himself “royally shafted” on his personal blog.

December 2004
Merriam-Webster declares “blog” the “Word of the Year.

January 2005
Study finds that 32 million Americans read blogs.

May 2005

The Huffington Post launches.

October 2005
Calacanis sells his blogs to AOL for $25 million.

December 2005
An estimated $100 million worth of blog ads are sold this year.

January 2006
Time leases Andrew Sullivan’s blog, adding it to its Website.

February 2006
The Huffington Post surges to become fourth most-linked-to blog.

(Timeline via New York Magazine)


2 thoughts on “Post # 8: Blogging

  1. Thanks for sharing the evolution of blogging. It’s so amazing to see. I definitely remember the days of LiveJournal and blogs of that nature that were so diary like.

    PS – The Sartorialist is one of my favorite blogs!

    • I LOVE the Sartorialist! His business model is fascinating, especially because it seemed to develop by accidental popularity.
      I don’t know about you, but I am thrilled that diary blogging isn’t trendy anymore!

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