John Gruber (Daring Fireball) and Jim Coudal (The Deck Ad Network & Coudal.com) gave a great talk at South by Southwest 2010 titled “Online Advertising: Losing the Race to the Bottom” in which they spoke about what methods they have used to generate income from their online efforts.
John is a full time blogger who writes primarily about Apple and related technological topics. He’s tried a variety of advertising and membership methods and finally settled on two methods of income for his blog:
1) A sponsored RSS feed with a mention at the beginning and end of a week, currently priced at $5,000/week:
2) And a single Deck Network ad on the side of the site:
Both methods, which John talks about in the audio linked above, allow John to maintain complete control over what is on his website while still maintaining a bit of distance from the advertisers who use The Deck Network. Everything is written in John’s own voice and regular readers of his blog will know that he certainly doesn’t hold back his opinions, even if there’s an Adobe advertisement sitting in the ad block.
To me the great thing about both John Gruber & Jim Coudal’s points in the talk is that while numbers do matter and they do help you establish a baseline — writing or creating great content is what will win out in the end. Let the advertisers worry about the numbers, sell throughs and click-ons and impressions — create the content you want to create and let the rest of it sort itself out.