The secret of making $2.3 million/year by blogging

Today, Dave Winer said that he made $2.3 million via his blog, Scripting News. How on earth did he do that?

I would really like to know, and I bet thousands of other bloggers would as well.

But – little hint up front – it’s a secret. A very intriguing secret, and a secret with clues, but, in the end, a very secretive secret.

Here’s what Dave says:

People think blogs are about advertising, and I would agree, but they’re thinking in terms of clicks and eyeballs, and I’m thinking of technology that’s created using the intelligence of community participation.

Want to see how it’s done? It’s here in the archive of this blog. Don’t have the time to read the archive? Read today’s blog. We will get a whole new flow built here, through persistent experimentation, refinement, listening, promoting, thinking, and looping.

Hrm. OK.

It’s one of those non-explanatory explanations. Kinda cagey, vague, and secretive in an elementary school “I know something you don’t” kind of way. What on earth does he mean?

It’s fairly obvious right away from just looking at Scripting News that it does not carry advertising. That seems to jive with his comment above.

So what is it about? “Technology that’s created using the intelligence of community participation” sounds wonderful and interesting and web 2.0-ish … but what does it mean in relation to $2.3 million of annual revenue?

Dave teases us by saying: “It’s here in the archive of this blog.” Is it? I have some time, and I’ve been checking through his archive. Maybe I’m too dense. Or I’m just not seeing the forest for the trees.

But I don’t see things generating $2.3 million of revenue.

Perhaps there’s a clue in the most prominent feature in Scripting News’ right sidebar, the Community Directory. Maybe there’s a site there with ads, or some other revenue model, that is generating significant revenue.

There are a lot of links there to feed directories of sorts, and a whole bunch of errors … but nothing that looks like a money machine.

Knowing that some of us are dense, Dave gives us one more clue:

Don’t have the time to read the archive? Read today’s blog. We will get a whole new flow built here, through persistent experimentation, refinement, listening, promoting, thinking, and looping.

OK. So today’s blog, September 22, 2006 has clues to what is earning Dave a couple of megabucks a year. Does someone else see them? I sure don’t.

Unless Dave is charging $100/link (and he’s not … he’s linked to me two or three times, and I haven’t paid him any money … not that he would do that anyways), how the heck is he making money? His only other comment there is a vague futuristic statement.

I’m stumped. I’d like to hear others’ ideas.

Because if no-one else knows how Dave Winer is making millions via Scripting News, maybe it’s just April Fool’s day and no-one told the rest of us.

Or the secret of making $2.3 million/year by blogging is just that: a secret.

[tags] dave winer, scripting news, blogging, millions, 2.3 million, advertising, john koetsier [/tags]

8 CommentsLeave a comment

  • John, keep digging, so when you find out you can let us all know. I’m gobsmacked based on what I saw. Maybe he’s getting “consulting” revenue out of contacts generated by the site? I just love mysteries.

  • The thing that gets me is that no-one seems to have noticed … no blogs are talking about this, wondering about this. I mean, wouldn’t we all like to know?

  • You’ve got to read between the lines. He’s likely sold mobile RSS technology for big bucks, and he developed it by bouncing ideas around on this blog and having smart people give him feedback.

  • John,

    Dave tends to mix all of his business activities under the umbrella of being a “scipting” blogger.

    Here’s what I think he’s referring to… His company “UserLand” software started a web site that accepted “blog pings” at the URL All the Userland blogging products would send an daccpet blog “update” notices (pings) from this site.

    When dave stepped down from running Userland he also took the rights to with him and he managed the site. Managing the site become difficult for him alone and he looked for someone to buy the site. Mike Arrington (as a lwayer on the deal) negotiated a deal with Verisign and they bougth the site from dave for (reportedly) $2.15M.

    So, Dave was referencing that deal and using it to make the case that you don’t make money from blogging but as a result of being a blogger. What made the site worth a lot of money was the millions of bloggers that followed and used software that automatically pinged everytime they created a new post.

  • I have heard Dave talk about this before – but at more length apparantly. He’s talking about making connections … networking. Through his blog, he’s selling HIMSELF. He says he has met many people through his blog that he wouldn’t have met had he not had a blog, and those relationships have led to business deals. Again – what he sells is himself, his knowledge, his way of thinking, etc. It may sound disappointing, (or who knows – maybe it encourages you), either way, it’s true.