From the category archives:

Making Money

Tim Dierkes’s MLB Trade Rumors blog is one of the preeminent baseball blogs. Tim has carved out a niche by covering every baseball rumor of substance and doing it in a timely way while adding his own commentary where appropriate. Dierkes recently made the transition to full time blogger and in an effort to spruce up the site submitted it for a Problogger Community Consulting Review.

The results of the review are up, and while they are specific to MLBTR, there is considerable information that all sports bloggers might want to use. These include:

  • Adding an Advertise Here page
  • Making RSS subscription prominent on the page, as well as including an email option
  • Cleaning up the sidebar
  • Tips for trying to find more relevant advertising (which should convert better)
  • Adding more art (some blogs such as Roar of the Tigers already excel at this)
  • Suggestions for attracting more social media love

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Get free money from Auction Ads

by Bill Ferris on September 7, 2007 · 0 comments

in Making Money

AuctionAds is giving publishers $25 just for signing up for the service. With their minimum payout being $50 it of course means you still have to run the ads.

If you’re not familiar with AuctionAds, bascially it displays ads for current eBay auctions related to keywords you determine:

When your site’s visitors click on an Auction Ad listing and take an action on eBay you earn cash. Actions are defined as a Winning Bid, a Buy-it-Now or a confirmed user registration. AuctionAds is committed to paying out a minimum of 100% of eBay commission revenue. See eBay’s affiliate program for details on the payout.

I haven’t used AuctionAds in the past, so I can’t really say if it works for sports blogs or not, but given the number of sports items available on eBay, it certainly seems like it could. I used the $25 as extra motivation to finally getting around to installing it on the Tigers site, and I’ll report back if I have any success or not.

If you’re interested in trying it, you can sign up here (aff link)

Hat Tip Problogger.

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Geoff Young created Ducksnorts nearly a decade ago to celebrate all things San Diego Padres. Like many of us, the site was a hobby. That was until he left his day job to take on blogging and compiling his first book full time. The byproduct is the Ducksnorts 2007 Annual.

The book is 193 pages and, well it’s about the Padres. Being that it is an annual the biggest section (about a third of the book) is a detailed look back at the season that was in 2006. Readers will learn exactly how the 2006 edition of the Padres were constructed, how Petco Park impacted the team, and what went wrong in the playoffs. It also has a detailed look back at the Padres game of the year.

In addition to narrating the 2006 season Young looks back farther with a retrospective on the 1998 World Series appearance and a detailed examination of Kevin Towers defining deals. Broader baseball topics explore the Twins and A’s continued small market success and candidates for building a bullpen with a tight budget.

Now I’m not particularly a Padres fan, but you don’t really need to be. Young paints a picture compelling enough that any fan of baseball will enjoy it. He also writes in an easily digestable style where it’s easy to quickly rip through a section.

There are stats in the book, but it isn’t a book of statistics. Geoff uses the graphs and tables to enhance and clarify, but not to tell the story. Because of this it the book is accessible to a wide audience.

I was going to say this is a great first effort, but it’s a great effort regardless.

Now because this is a blog for other bloggers, I thought that it might be valuable to learn about the process that Geoff went through. The idea of a Tiger book is something that crossed my mind, but the project always seemed so daunting. Geoff was kind enough to answer some questions about how the book came together:

BB Why did you decide to write the book?

GY I’ve been reading baseball annuals since I was a kid — Bill James, Bill Mazeroski, Street & Smith — and I’ve always enjoyed the format. When I see those types of publications in bookstores, it sends a signal to my brain that baseball season is just around the corner.

The one gripe I have with annuals — and it’s the nature of the medium — is that they don’t drill down into any one topic as much as I’d like. When I get to the part about the Padres, for example, I find myself craving more. I want an entire book that goes into obsessive detail about the team I follow. Nothing like that existed, so I figured I could either whine about it and be frustrated or do something and be happy. I chose the latter.
The other thing is that Ducksnorts turns 10 this September. I’m not huge on anniversaries, but I guess that’s a long time in Internet years, so this is a way to celebrate with my readers. Plus, I didn’t know if I could actually write a book; what better way to find out?

BB How long did it take you to write it? You gave up your day job to
work on it, is there any way someone could tackle this in their “spare time”

GY I first proposed the idea in August 2006. After a couple months of hashing out ideas with my readers on what should go in the book, I started doing the research. I managed to complete two chapters before I quit my job, but with work, the book, and my normal blogging activities, I was putting in 15-17 hours a day and it was killing me. At that point, I decided that one of two things had to go, and I wasn’t willing to give up on the book. My wife and I had a talk, and unbelievably, she agreed with me. I left a good job with great people at the end of November and got serious with my writing. From then until mid-March, working on the book was pretty much a full-time job. Between researching, writing, self-publishing, and figuring out how to promote the book, you’re probably looking at 600 or so hours.

As for whether someone could tackle this in their spare time, I’ll answer by saying that I couldn’t do it. Then again, there are a lot of talented people in the world, so I won’t say it’s impossible. Such an undertaking would take a tremendous amount of discipline and energy. Also, if you’re aiming for a March release, don’t wait until the previous November to get started. There is so much involved in publishing a book that you might not think about, and things go wrong. Give yourself as much time as possible. To give you an idea, I’m already drawing up plans for the 2008 book.

BB Do you have any sales targets in mind for this to be deemed a success?

GY I do have sales targets in mind, but I have no idea whether they’re realistic. This is the first time I’ve ever published a book and I don’t know what benchmarks to use. That’s something I need to learn more about for next year’s book. I’m working in an extreme niche market, so I consider that when making projections and setting expectations. But I have rough figures in mind for what would give me satisfaction, make me ecstatic, or cause me to question my own existence. I’m reluctant to say out loud what those figures are because, again, I don’t know that they’re realistic.

In another sense, though, the project is already a success in my mind. I completed a book. Not everyone can say that, and now I can. Part of the
impetus for writing the book was to see if I could do it. The next step is trying to do it better. So the book itself is a success. If enough people buy it, maybe I can get someone else to take care of the publishing aspects (typesetting, cover design, promotion, etc.) in the future and leave me to focus on writing. That would be nice. But even if it doesn’t work out that way, I can’t complain.

This is one of the most personally rewarding things I’ve done in life — I gave an honest effort and achieved results that please me. It’s hard not to be happy with that.

BB Going the self-publishing route you’re also in charge of your own publicity. Is there a Geoff Young book tour in the works and are you promoting the book other places besides the blog circuit?

GY The whole PR and marketing game is a complete mystery to me, but I’m learning. There isn’t a tour per se, although I’m open to ideas. One thing I’ll be doing is driving from San Diego to Cooperstown in July to see Tony Gwynn inducted into the Hall of Fame. I’m planning on watching games in about 10 different minor-league towns along the way. Depending on what kind of sponsorship I’m able to get for this event, it’ll either be just one guy trekking across the country or a bunch of us piled into a limousine. I’m sure I’ll try to work a book tie-in, given that Gwynn is featured prominently in several chapters.

As for promoting outside the blog circuit, the honest answer is, I hope so. I’m knocking on doors, but if you don’t have someone on the payroll doing this stuff (and doing it well), I suspect it’s not the sort of thing that happens overnight. I’ll just keep knocking; eventually someone will listen.

BB Now with it being called an Annual, it implies there’ll be another one next year. I’m sure you’re taking a break, but when does work begin on the 2008 edition?

GY This is a little trick I played on myself. I called it an “annual” so I wouldn’t have an easy way out if I decided to flake. Sticking that word in the title commits me to at least one more of these. And even though there was a lot involved in putting this book together, I feel like I’ve learned a great deal during the process that I can apply to next year’s edition.

Break? Not really. I left a good job to do this; my wife has placed a tremendous amount of faith in me to make something happen and I need to honor that. I’ll take a break when I’m dead. Right now, I’m gathering ideas for the 2008 edition — getting feedback on the current book, scribbling notes to myself, etc. I don’t have anything concrete in mind yet, but one of the biggest lessons learned is that 4-5 months isn’t nearly enough time for a project of this magnitude. The sooner I start planning, the more it’s just a matter of putting things in their proper place come crunch time.

The great thing about self-publishing is that it doesn’t matter whether anyone else wants a second book. If I want one, then it’s going to happen. Well, I want one.


The book is available in paperback (17.95) and as an e-book (9.56). There is a ton to like about this book if you’re a Padres fan, a fan of an NL West team, or just a baseball fan in general. Alternately, if you’re a blogger and have been toying with the idea of publishing a book, I’d recommend picking it up as due diligence. You can see an example of a successful product, and see just how much is entailed in putting it together.

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Matthew Cerrone makes the leap

by Bill Ferris on April 20, 2006 · 0 comments

in Blog News,Making Money

Matthew Cerrone of Mets Blog is going full time – as a blogger

Therefore, starting next Thursday, MetsBlog.com will become my only job. Like Dave Pinto at Baseball Musings, I will cut ties with my current employer and dedicate myself 100 percent to MetsBlog.com, which will be financially supported mostly by advertising revenue and donations from readers…

Best of luck Matthew – we’re all pull for you.
Metsblog.com :: Note: Matthew Cerrone, Full-Time Blogger

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Matthew Cerrone of Mets Blog is looking for help writing for a general baseball blog. Oh yeah – it pays!

BlogMedia will pay you 50 percent of the first $150 in monthly ad revenue from the site, plus money from a bonus structure based on additional ad revenue…


Application instructions can be found here
.

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Long live the Pinto

by Bill Ferris on March 1, 2006 · 0 comments

in Blog News,Making Money

David Pinto at Baseball Musings is conducting his second annual pledge drive. David, as many of you know, blogs for a living. This is his income. With Baseball Musings you get much more than a simple blog though. David provides tools and data such as PMR and the Day by Day Database. He offers this data for free, even though it costs him money.

David has been a friend to many in the baseball blog-o-sphere with his willingness to link out. Many of us have received a boost in traffic from a Baseball Musings link. Not to mention all the new posts that we’re able to generate thanks to Musings inspired content. He’s asking for one dollar from every visitor. However, if you’re a baseball blogger I’d hope you consider digging a little deeper for one your own.

Please help David out, and keep Baseball Musings going.

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Super Bowl Blog

by Bill Ferris on February 4, 2006 · 0 comments

in Blog Launch,Making Money

Back in the fall I had this great idea for a new blog – Super Blog XL. It would chronicle anything having to do with everything for Super Bowl XL in Detroit. There would be no shortage of material, it wouldn’t have to run forever, and there certainly seemed to be monetization opportunities. Unfortunately, the blog never got off the ground. Now I’m kicking myself. The Super Bowl is one of the hottest topics and blogs have never covered it as thoroughly. Whether it is local blogs, blogs from major media, or even players blogging, the Super Bowl is being Super Blogged.

I missed my chance. But if I were living in an upcoming Super Bowl host city, here’s what I’d do:

[click to continue…]

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Adsense and Chitika news

by Bill Ferris on January 31, 2006 · 0 comments

in Making Money

A couple of interesting pieces of news about some popular revenue streams for bloggers in the last couple days.

Adsense’s tips for bloggers

The Adsense team has put together some tips for optimizing Adsense revenue on a blog. None of the tips were earth shattering if this is the kind of tihng you’ve been paying attention to. Blending ads, removing borders, and getting the ads close to the content are the main themes.

Google has made their heatmap available for awhile. This post isn’t necessarily a heatmap, but general suggestions. I’d be curious to see if they’ve developed a heatmap specifically for blogs.

Chitika Category Hints

Via Problogger, Chitika has implemented a feature to try and improve ad relevancy called Category Hints. Essentially, if Chitika doesn’t have a product for your keyword, you can specify a category for Chitika to pull from. I could see this being a great tool because many of my keywords tend to be hit & miss in returning results. However, for sports bloggers there is a Sports and Outdoors category, but the sample ad is for a tire. I’m not sure it will improve relevancy for us until they ad more categories.

I haven’t seen Chitika on too many sports blogs, and I’m largely giving up on them. I still have them in a few spots (including here), but I get better clickthough rates and cost per click with Adsense. Have any sports bloggers had success with Chitika?

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Adsense Protest

by Bill Ferris on January 25, 2006 · 1 comment

in Blog News,Making Money

Baseball Musings has decided to forego Google Adsense in light of the announcement that Google will censor search results in China.  The ensuing discussion (I think this might be a record number of comments at Baseball Musings) is supporting David’s move.

This is a pretty big step for Pinto, who is a professional blogger.  This isn’t someone looking to make a couple bucks on the side, it is a part of his living income.

adsense, google, censorship

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Negotiating your first sponsored link

by Bill Ferris on January 20, 2006 · 7 comments

in Making Money

I’ve received 3 emails in the last week from bloggers who were approached about advertising on their sites, and wanted some advice. Each email basically had two questions:

  1. What kind of rate should I ask for?
  2. What else should I keep in mind?

Now I hesitate to answer the first question. Partly because it is something I don’t have a ton of knowledge about because I haven’t really discussed it with other bloggers. I don’t know if I’m getting a good rate or not. Mostly though, I won’t discuss it because I don’t think that is the way to maintain a good working relationship with your advertisers.

What I will do though is give you some factors to consider when setting your price, and just in negotiating in general. I’m working under the assumption that the advertiser is a ticket broker, because that is by far the most common sponsored link I’ve seen on sports blogs. However, the bulk of the points would be applicable to any sponsor.
[click to continue…]

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