Making Money With Blogging: Public Funding Paywall and Micropayment

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In addition to various more or less serious forms of advertising, there is also the possibility of earning money through advertising - through public funding or a paywall. Is it worth it?

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Simone Janson Simone JansonSimone Janson is publisherGerman Top20 blogger and Consultant for HR communication.


Public funding as a form of financing for bloggers

A form of financing that I have not even tried yet because I did not even think about it: public funds. For the blogs must of course be in the public interest. The journalist Matthias Spielkamp has done it and thankfully published a presentation. Reason for Spielkamps Presentation was the Future Congress of the Journalists Association Free Writers.

Spielkamp spoke about journalists as entrepreneurs in the workshop “You can't eat fun - money and business models”. After the subsequent panel discussion had been criticized by listener Felix Schwenzel, Spielkamp devoted himself once more to the topic in his immateriblog because he found the discussion unsatisfactory. In the presentation he describes how he set up his platform on the subject of copyright in the digital world. From 2004 to 2006 it was funded by the Federal Ministry of Consumer Protection, Food and Agriculture for 18 months.

Despite Grimme-Online Arward and numerous project applications, however, it was only 2008 that received new funding from the Federal Ministry of Education and Culture and the Federal Cultural Foundation. Spielkamp sums up: It's impossible to get follow-up funding, no matter how successful the project is. And: The effort to submit applications for smaller projects is too big!

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Alternative Paid Content

A few weeks ago, I have rejected a (initially) lucrative seeming offer of 500 Euro monthly, because the marketer was constantly contradictory statements, tried to persuade me with threadbare arguments and ultimately decidedly unsympathetic. Sad thing.

But what about the alternatives? Flattr for example, is theoretically a nice thing: readers pay voluntarily with a kind of micropayment system, if they like an article - in small cents. In practice, it does not work on every blog. And Flattr earns the most.

Micropayment service Flattr

One or the other has already seen it: On my blog there is now also the green-white-orange Flattr button, with which readers can use micropayment to donate small sums of money if they get one Article like. To be honest, I was - and still am - skeptical whether this would lead to any noteworthy result on my blog.

Flattr is a word creation from "to flatter" (flattering someone) and "flat fee" (flat rate). However, the question is: is Flattr really a long-term business model - or not much more than a blade of grass in the wind? In any case, it works like this: If you register with flattr, you can distribute a monthly amount between 2 and 100 euros to the website of your choice by clicking the button - provided the blogger or website operator has registered the page with flattr and installed the button. A very good explanation can be found on the Internet on your own!

What Flattr really brings

However, the problem that Flattr has already discussed on the Web is that you can only donate if you log in first. And exactly the motivation to create an account with Flattr, usually bring only people who are already in the blog and Web 2.0 sphere on the go - and that on pages that deal with exactly these issues.

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That made for strong discussion material - and many experience reports on the subject, there are already: about Daniel Fiene. Felix Schwenzel or Stephan Niggemeier. Critical voices can also be heard, such as Netzpanorama, by Don Alphonso or Sascha Lobo. A monthly overview of the most fluttered German contributions Carta offers.

It depends on the target group

If readers are to pay, it also depends on the right target group: up Best of HR –® is it on the other hand classic career topics: Dementia wide is my readership. And that's why there are many who do not know what to do with the Flattr button, simply because they have not noticed anything about the Flattr discussion.

Because how little the normal internet user understands the slang of the nerds, I can already tell by how rarely the "Like" button is clicked or what comments I get about navigating the page. This shows how things that are completely logical to me affect some users - and that as a blogger you have to adjust to what is an ongoing optimization process.

Are readers ready to pay for content? Attention audience abuse!

But there's another reason: I'm still skeptical that Internet users are even ready to pay for content on the net. The takedown mentality is quite large - the free culture too!

If, then only a small part of it, which understands that one can not afford the whole work in vain and that it is sometimes nice for bloggers to get a little recognition. In this respect, I am delighted by the Flattr experiment about every positive surprise!

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Experience with Flattr

So far, I have mainly been on advertising to earn money - and I still believe that you can get more money together here. That I still have installed Flattr, has several reasons. For one thing, there were some reader complaints about the disturbing advertising. I also found that under the over-abundant advertising, user-friendliness and design suffered a lot. Finally, another aspect is important: to support and network one another - and at the same time to make one's own work transparent. And flattr contributes to that as well.

In the end, I removed the Flattr button again. My test month has now shown that my skepticism was justified: I have taken in whole 74 cents on flattre. I was skeptical from the start whether the principle would work: In order to be able to flattrend as a reader, you have to transfer 1,8 percent of the chosen amount + 35 cent per transfer to Paypal. And even Flattr takes 10 percent of the fees. In plain English: In order to flattren 2 Euro a month I have to pay at least three euros. I think that, to be honest, a bit crass: no wonder that Flattr has prevailed so far only those who benefit themselves from the payment system. What comes out then is what Sascha Lobo and many other prophecies: A system in which the bloggers themselves push the money back and pay for it still fees.

Where Flattr works and where not

To put it bluntly: Of course Flattr works very well for some blogs. Namely exactly for the better known blogs, which are also read in the blogger scene. Or those with whom the readers identify, who have a proper community. This is not the case on my blog because career topics appeal to a different audience. One who often comes via Google and is looking for quickly usable information and tips for his professional life.

However, I also found that the Facebook Like button was clicked comparatively often in the same period - an indication that readers are participating - but apparently only to a certain extent. Perhaps the technical obstacles described above are such a big problem that many readers click the “Like” button, but not Flattr? Precisely because you are already registered with Facebook? In this case, despite all criticism of Facebook, a payment system for blogs integrated into the social network could help. Or is it just because it just doesn't cost anything to click the Like button on Facebook?

Technical problems

Flattr leads darüer addition to other technical problems, with which I had not expected so: The Flattr button made my blog slower as another Java script. And much slower: It took up to half a minute thanks Flattr button, until the site was fully loaded. An absurdity! So go away with the thing and lo and behold, the site loads again much faster.

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Because a good idea or not: You can certainly invest and try Flattr - just to support the good idea. But if the site slows down, which is likely to reduce traffic - flattr not only does not bring in any money, it even harms it.

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  1. Sascha Pallenberg - Filmography by type

    Hello Jannick,

    Regarding the tsunami announcement, I am back several times. Nevertheless, one must not forget that one of the formerly best known German blogs (aka Basicthinking) was bought solely for the reason, so that you could build this network of advertising links. BT was the door opener for the online costs GmbH and unfortunately this is always swept under the carpet.

  2. Marketinger

    Heyhey, quite nice if you are interested, you can also check out my blog;)

  3. Simone Janson

    Hello Jannick,
    you're right, maybe the suspicion is that it is even in affiliate advertising is unfair advertising. If the advertisement is clearly marked as such, however, this is not the case.
    Personally, however, I have experienced the fact that affiliate advertising only brings something, if one also directly in the text refers to the advertised product. And exactly there the thing in my opinion is also unfair. In this respect, this is not a very simple subject and I realize that most people see the laxer than I do.

  4. Holger Froese

    Series - Make Money with Blogging: The Future of Advertising #Business
    Commented on Twitter

  5. political host

    Was ich nicht ganz nachvollziehen kann, ist die Bezeichnung der Werbeformen SEO, SEM und Affiliate Marketing als “unschön”. Darauf wird zwar im folgenden Text eingegangen, aber es entsteht der Eindruck als ob bspw. Affiliate Marketing immer mit Methoden wie der Maskierung der Affiliate Links arbeiten würde. Gerade für Blogger kann dies eine sehr ertragreiche Einnahmequelle auch ohne zwielichtige Methoden sein, worauf ich auch in einem Artikel auf meinem Blog eingegangen bin:

    Bei den Reaktionen auf Bloggergate muss ich ihrer Ansicht vollkommen zustimmen. Es ist schade, dass solche Methoden mittlerweile als normal gelten, allerdings ist es auch ein offenes Geheimnis, weswegen die vorherige Ankündigung Pallenbergs eines “Tsunamis in der Blogosphäre” wohl doch übertrieben war.

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