Contrary to popular belief, there is money to be made on the internet. The Mail & Guardian Online has become a profitable part of the M&G empire with advertising revenues increasing by 60% in the past year.
M&G Online publisher Matt Buckland told the Digital Citizen Indaba in Grahamstown on Sunday that advertising has not yet reached its full potential on the web. For him, the future of online advertising lies in adverts that are relevant and do not “irritate” users. Web 2.0 applications will make targeted advertising possible, meaning that users will be shown adverts that cater to their specific interests.
There is also hope for all bloggers floating around in cyberspace. With bloggers becoming increasingly influential on the web, there is a great deal of potential to make money. A recent article said that aggregator site Amatomu is planning to establish an advertising network that will share revenue with top blogs. Online strategist Vincent Maher says that Amatomu wants to bring advertising to the blogosphere. Buckland says that these blogger aggregator sites are key to making money on the web. Individually, bloggers are small, but together they can become a powerful marketing magnet for potential online advertisers.
Award-winning bloggers Tertia.org and Peas on Toast have managed to turn their personal online rants into lucrative business ventures. Tertia.org hosts advertising on her site. Her niche blog, which deals with infertility and motherhood, has also led to seminars, talks and a book deal. Peas does not host on-site advertising or sponsorships but said that her blog has led to a number of spin-off projects, including a book deal that would not have been possible otherwise. Peas and Tertia also receive lots of freebies such as clothes, books and CDs in the hope that these will be mentioned on their blogs.
Blogger and online dating coach Ramon Thomas provided some tips for bloggers who want to make money from their blogs. These included selecting a niche topic, reading lots of books and participating in online discussion forums.