How Much Money Can You Make For Others, Rather Than Yourself?

from the it's-not-all-about-me dept

Andrew Dubber points us to an interesting post by musician Steve Lawson, where he talks about how he usually uses his blog and other social media accounts to write about others' music rather than always talking about his own, noting that he can probably help others make more money than he can make for himself. And there's a reason for that: if you're posting about something you love that you think is awesome, people take it seriously. If you're posting about yourself as being awesome, people think you're an egomaniac.

This is a really good way of thinking about things -- and highlights an issue that goes way beyond just music. It's why so many corporate blogs suck. Because they just talk about their own company, and appear to be propaganda. But it also highlights another important point: the value of passed links. We've noted in the past that when people pass around links (or music or books or whatever) it's the person who's doing the passing whose reputation is at stake. And, because of that, we tend to trust people passing links to others much more than people just promoting their own stuff. And this doesn't need to be reciprocal. Steve notes that he just blogs about music he likes -- and sometimes he hears from the musicians saying it resulted in a spike in earnings somehow, and that's great.

To some extent, this also explains some of our position on things like ad blockers. Sites telling visitors who use ad blockers that they're not welcome are shoving aside visitors who very well may pass on a link that has tremendous value. The viewpoint held by sites like that seems to undervalue passed links, believing the only true value is in the immediate and direct ad impression. But when you focus on just letting people experience whatever cool stuff you're creating, some of them will pass it on to others, and that "vote" in your favor may be incredibly valuable.

So, while Steve focuses on the point of helping others make more money, if you're doing cool stuff, it's worth remembering that a lot of that stuff comes back around (in even more valuable ways). One of the problems we see with so many anti-consumer businesses is that they feel the need to directly monetize every user/visitor/listener, rather than recognizing that the mislabeled "freeloaders" can pay it back in ways that greatly outweigh any sort of direct payment opportunity.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    sehlat (profile), Mar 10th, 2010 @ 11:22am

    Mixed approach may be better

    John Scalzi's incomprable "Whatever" (whatever.scalzi.com) blog seems to work very well for him and for others. He regularly has a "Big Idea" feature to publicize new books coming out, and comments/essays by the authors on just where this stuff came from. Also mentions of music, and, of course, movies he likes, his AMC columns, his wife, daughter, etc. etc.

    But he does also do what he calls "self-pimping", but does so with much style and gusto, and has a very devoted readership.

    I think it's called "connecting with fans", last I looked.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    Comboman (profile), Mar 10th, 2010 @ 11:33am

    The Dark Side

    And, because of that, we tend to trust people passing links to others much more than people just promoting their own stuff.

    There's a dark side to that also. People trust rumors/urban legends passed to them by people they know, but ignore the experts because they are strangers to them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
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    RobertH (profile), Mar 10th, 2010 @ 11:36am

    a note about adblockers

    I'm surprised no one has really touched on the security vulnerabilities attached to 3rd party ad sites. See Elinore Mills writeup on cnet today: "Drudge Report accused of serving malware, again."

    Sites asking you to whitelist them because they said so just doesn't do it for me.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
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    Alex Bowles (profile), Mar 10th, 2010 @ 11:47am

    Webonomics 101: Secure value for yourself by creating more value for others. Much more.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
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    Greevar (profile), Mar 10th, 2010 @ 11:58am

    Re: The Dark Side

    Those that claim to speak the truth due to their authority, do not realize that the truth is its own authority.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 10th, 2010 @ 12:15pm

    Re:

    sounds like a huge pyramid scheme.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 10th, 2010 @ 12:31pm

    Re:

    Agreed.

    However, I'm sure this comment will need to be reviewed by the Kitteth Moderator

    Again...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 10th, 2010 @ 12:47pm

    Re: Re:

    Except its not.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    NAMELESS.ONE, Mar 10th, 2010 @ 1:19pm

    User based billing and CAPS and throttling

    until we have better offerings from ISPS aka unlimited OR they reimburse me for every add tossed at me,then i would say a short lil bit

    TOO BAD so SAD. IM NOT paying my money to get an ad i dont want and i don't want any PERIOD.
    it is spam to me and akin to bleeding me dry of my cash by the ISPS/there buddies and so on.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
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    Chris W., BFC (profile), Mar 10th, 2010 @ 4:49pm

    Good on Steve for Pointing This Out

    This is a question everyone in business should ask themselves. B2B companies especially make their money by helping others (clients) make money. On the one hand it's amazing we need reminders of this. On the other, it's great that we HAVE reminders. Best of luck to Steve!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
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    Mark Gisleson (profile), Mar 10th, 2010 @ 9:46pm

    Maybe it's time for corporations to grow up

    and start sponsoring the arts again. Why can't they sponsor blogs about culture and then be the exclusive advertiser? Or really good sports blogs?

    Because you're right, no one wants to read about Cogswell cogs or Spacely sprockets.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    enrolled agent, Mar 13th, 2010 @ 5:34pm

    Marketing Strategy?

    This is great if you're not up to selling your website yourself. If you're a well-known, respected personality doing this for a virtual unknown, this could mean good business. IMO, Steve Lawson is possibly getting paid to promote the people he mentions on his blogs. :) No violent reactions please! Just a possible Conspiracy Theory... Hehehe!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Kamagra, Nov 3rd, 2010 @ 8:04am

    Great words

    You are absolutely right when you say that "if you're posting about something you love that you think is awesome, people take it seriously. If you're posting about yourself as being awesome, people think you're an egomaniac.", people by nature love to read something about someone.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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