How newspapers can make money from bloggers

[Keyword: , , ]. The editor of The Independent may not think that there’s a model for making money out of websites, but two stories today may just force him into a rethink.

The first is a simple story of success from a publication that took the bold step to put its core content – in this case listings – online. Press Gazette reports that Time Out claims its success in the latest ABCs as justifying “the “bold step” of putting its London listings online.”

Meanwhile, and perhaps more significantly, reports on the launch by of a service linking advertisers and bloggers. Sponsored Blogroll “invites writers to register their interest in carrying advertisements on their sites. Marketers are then encouraged to select relevant destinations on which to buy space; the blogger shares advertising revenue with the newspaper company and will receive a link from a promotion box on the front page. Launched as an experiment, the project claims three sites as launch partners and is seeking writers publishing about technology, business, health, cars and travel.”

What the article doesn’t point out is that this is a rather canny approach from the Washington Post to the threat that bloggers – and the likes of Google AdSense – represent to their advertising revenues in the long term. This way, they protect their revenues without having to actually produce any editorial. In fact, what the newspaper is actually doing is selling advertising, and marketing, to bloggers, while the bloggers concentrate on the business of producing content. Now there’s a turnaround.

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