Tuesday, 15 April 2014

M is for Making Money Online

I've been making a bit of money online for years - initially with ebay, just selling excess random stuff I'd collected over the years but then moving on to microstock photography sites, Etsy, Zazzle and of course, blogging. The beauty of some of these methods is the residual income - even though I haven't seriously submitted new photographs to my stock portfolios for about 3 years, I still get some income from them!

This post isn't a how-to post though, rather it's a query post about why the WoW community seem so resistant to making a bit of cash from blogging but are ok with the behaviour of some streamers and content producers. I'm not going to pretend to have any answers as it totally baffles me.

If there is drama in my Twitter feed it is usually one of two things - Blizzard's boy's club attitude/feminism or begging. I was very hesitant to put any adverts on my main blog due to the general attitude against them - especially ads for Gold Making Guides but I've read the ones I promote and I think they are pretty damn good for someone with more money than time. Yes, I agree with the naysayers that everything in them is available online for free but if your time is precious, sometimes the $15-$20 for a good guide will seem like a bargain if it saves you 20 hours (or more!) of searching for the information amongst the numerous blogs, streams, youtube videos and podcasts available now.

I, personally, don't have a Paypal Donate button on any of my blogs but I have no problem with those who do - it's up to the reader whether they want to donate or not, after all. What I and a few others call begging, is the incessant highlighting of the donate button, either via tweets or mentioning it in streams. More recently, there have been a few go fund me's popping up - some seem reasonable but others have been crazy it seems to me. I still think that if you are podcasting/streaming/blogging video games then you should fund it yourself or monetise in an unobtrusive way - it is your hobby after all!

There are people who say they want to make a career out of it and are streaming/Youtubing as a full time effort so why shouldn't they ask for donations. I say, put your content somewhere viewers have to pay for it and make it a business then! I would love to become a professional photographer but I have to fund it myself and do the work in my spare time. I don't put up a portfolio of free pictures or make a video slideshow and ask people for donations if they enjoyed it! No, I provide a product and a service and my customers give me money for it.

Why is streaming/videos any different? It's a product after all. I know you are up against 100's if not 1000's of other streamers/content creators who are doing it as a hobby and providing content for free but as a photographer, so am I! Every man and his dog has a mobile phone now that can take pictures and they all seem to think they can take photos good enough to put on their wall.

I've done Craft Fairs where bad watercolor sketches have outsold photography 10-1, not because the photography was bad but because customers who can't draw/paint know they can't but they all think they can take a photo! They disregard the fact of getting the models, makeup & hair people, locations etc or travelling to exotic places - oh no, they can get a great pic on the cellphone!

So there's my rant for this year - I don't rant often enough according to friends but it's there - it just takes a lot to get to critical mass and get publicly revealed! And if you are someone who asks for donations, please don't think this post is specifically about you - it's a general post - I'm not intending to attack anyone, I am seriously baffled by the resistance to gold guides and advertising but asking for donations repeatedly being ok.



  1. Donations are just that. No one is forcing you to donate.

    1. I didn't say anyone was trying to force me though. As I said above, why do people criticise me & others for advertising & selling a product but seem ok with others who actively seek money for nothing? That's the bit that's got me baffled!

  2. I know this feeling just as well. I have for many years have made a small income from various activity's on the internet. Some that are made very public, like my gold guide and some that I keep very close to my chest.
    The gaming community is mainly made from sub 25 year old people who have grown up with the internet being a "free" marketplace. Torrents, napster (original), P2P, Youtube, the list goes on. It is this audience that makes up the majority, but it must be remembered that it is not the "entire" audience.
    I provide an example. A recent post I placed on reddit, linking to an article on my new blog, very quickly got nothing but negative comments. At first glance I thought it was taken as poor content. This was not the case though. Through link tracking(yes it can be done on reddit if your smart) I found that only about 1% of the people viewed the article then went back to reddit and left a comment there. This just happened to be the few whose opinion on the article was less than perfect. I generated many new email followers, and even a few direct sales of my guide from that one reddit post so proving that each person has there own opinion of value. Some saw value in buying my guide or subscribing to my email list, some didn't. Unfortunately the more active voices are usually the negative ones.

    Sorry for the essay, but after reading this I wanted to get across that if you have placed much time and effort into something, then it will be of value to some, but not all.

    Keep up the good work!:)

    1. Thanks Manthieus! I tend to give Reddit a wide berth having fallen foul of the rules once. But yes, the active ones are usually the negative ones - I was taught that in my marketing course! I just don't understand why selling a solid product is worse than sticking my hand out and continuously tweeting for donations! lol

  3. I've made more money on my relatively unknown gamer parent blog by selling tiny little ads than I ever did with a donate button on my old WoW blog. I remember seeing all the Twitter fights between gold bloggers about donations/selling guides/etc and it honestly scared me off ever really mentioning I even had a donate button. Even now, fantastic content creators like Apple Cider Mage cop heat about their Patreon effort and I just... I just don't get the hate at all. If someone wants to make a donation (Probably the least effective method to make money, but I digress) or sell a product that *other people see value in* then how on earth does that affect you? (You as in the people that get their knickers in a knot about those looking to make a few bucks for their efforts, not you personally!) Like you said, the information is out there for free if you have the time and know-how on where to find it. Hating on people who are doing what other content creators in different niches have been doing for -years- is just bizarre.

    Erm, yes, my rant agreeing with your rant is now over. Good post :)

    1. Thanks Neri! I think people see Patreon in the 'begging' category rather than the quiet Donation button category. I don't know though as I haven't looked into it very much. I'm glad your rant agreed with my rant - so much easier to rant together isn't it? lol