The Blogpacker Review #7

The Blogpacker Review #7

Useful Resources & Articles about Travel Blogging and Social Media.

Disclaimer: Clicking any of the links below will make the Blogpacker an enormous sum of cash and allow us to put a down payment on yet another diamond tiara. Just so you know.

Travelllll recently announced their intention to be Google’s bitch and nark on any travel blogger with the temerity to attempt to make a little bit of cash to keep their blogs running and, you know, eat and stuff.

Read the article linked to above and you would not know this because the author backslid his way through five undeclared rewrites as the comments filled with objections to being called ‘less than worthless as a travel blogger’ if they sold paid links.

The antagonistic, moralising tone of the post eventually morphed into a slightly snotty apology for what Travelllll seem to admit was a half arsed article.

Travelllll also recently asked why don’t travel bloggers publish their income? perhaps with a view to passing on any details to the tax authorities.

While T5 only suggested they would start informing on others, David Whitley grabbed a pitchfork, jumped straight in and shouted ‘burn ‘em’. ‘Em mostly being Jason Castellani and Jerri Stephenson. Jason had been having a rough week as it was, openly discussing why he might stop travel blogging.

Grumpy Traveller David, who had already been collecting information for his files, later half apologised for – thankfully only metaphorically – stoking the fires.

Sadly lost in all the fun of watching travel bloggers get their panties in a twist is that DW1 (to make up for the mild slating above I’ve given David Whitley a cool alpha numeric moniker like Travelllll have) and T5 are surely right that we should be open when placing advertising in front of our readerships.

Many new bloggers are I’m sure surprised at the concept of being paid for what is in effect is a day off from writing.

When we started our first website 12 years ago we would actively search out writers and offer them a link to their website in exchange for writing an article for us. We neither paid nor received any money for content. Some were written by travellers who had worked abroad and others the opinions of companies involved in the industry. We welcomed both points of view; and still do.

This one for instance on choosing a gap year organisation was written by i-to-i founder Deirdre Bounds when she hadn’t long left the bedsit where she started the business later sold to First Choice for £20 million.

But times have changed and I wish we had read dealing with corporate guest posts before we accepted a few articles that we would now expect to be paid for.

Different bloggers have different opinions on guest or sponsored posts. Gary Arndt, interviewed here, will only accept guest posts from people he knows personally and refuses sponsored posts completely. He also writes on his personal blog that if you promote companies for free, don’t complain about monetization.

The big G is the reason why even fairly small bloggers can expect to be paid for accepting advertorial posts from businesses. The search engine is arguably the biggest influence on travel writing today. Established newspapers are now writing for SEO while the Sunday Times put itself behind a pay wall to escape Google’s influence on their bottom line.

Google’s website enhancing secretions are also why money now often flows away from the writer as demonstrated by bloggers willing to write for free at publications like the Huffington Post despite the objections of MessageSpace, and Media Strut.

Spencer Spellman, the Traveling Philosopher, makes the same point but interestingly he asks “When the hell did we start paying with links?”

He goes on: ”If I go to the honky tonk bar down the street and tell the bartender I’m a little short on cash and that I’ll just link to the bar on my blog and Facebook, he’s going to say I’m full of shit and I can roll up my sleeves and mop up the vomit out of the men’s bathroom and plunge the tampons out of the women’s toilet.

Well, actually, that might just work. Unless of course you listen to John O’Nolan and Travelllll.

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