Monetize this

I wonder how I can make some money off my friends?

I wonder how I can turn my blog into a profit center?

I wonder if I can get some of the kids at the playground to make me some money?

Americans love to monetize stuff. Why bother doing something if you’re not going to make a profit at it?

Erblog_2Tom Asacker has a noteworthy riff (which I want to disagree with–at least a little) about the "how much is my blog worth" button that’s traveling around (I stole this one from him, and he got it from Evelyn). I have no idea how much my blog is worth. I also don’t try to monetize my blog–that would ruin it. It would ruin it because most of my readers would leave, and it would ruin it because then I’d try to outdo myself and monetize it more and more and more.

Evelyn Rodriguez and other popular bloggers certainly agree with me. The George Washington icon is a joke–a reminder that the goal is not to turn around and sell our blogs to the highest bidder, but instead to enjoy the process of having people we respect hear what we have to say.

Do the people you work with assume that something has to turn a profit to be good?

It’s absurd to imagine someone trying very hard to monetize their desire to scuba dive once a week or write poetry or hang out with friends. People like to talk about their favorite sports teams or tech gadgets, but why do we have to be in such a hurry to turn that into a profit? And why is "just a hobby" a pejorative remark?

Isn’t the point of all the difficult work we do to earn the right to do things we enjoy?

One blog I used to read is now filled with nothing but aggressive links to buy more books and read more glowing reviews of the work of the blogger. How sad that the quest for cashing out turned something great into something to be avoided.

Is the web (or the blogosphere) off limits to making a profit? No way! It’s one of the greatest money-makin/marketing mechanisms ever. But the irony is that those that have set out to quickly turn a profit have almost always failed.

Saul Hansell’s piece on Google on Sunday buried the lead. The real revolution at Google is the way they sell their ads–something that both Sergey and Larry were against when it was first conceived. Not only wasn’t it their idea, but Eric tried to kill the innovation that completely overhauled the web. Google works for two reasons. First, because it’s great to use. And then, second (the "then" being important here) because they invented a brand new way to turn attention into revenue… a method that rewards the intelligence of the user without penalizing her.

Maybe Google should put up a statue in honor of Salar Kamangar, the guy who figured it out.

–yes, you have a brand, even if you don’t intend to monetize it.

–no, you don’t have to have a plan or an ulterior motive if you want to share your ideas. Just share them. It’s good practice and good for all of us.

–maybe you will, one day, figure out how to achieve the much-heralded monetization. But if that’s your primary goal, the compromises you make along the way will likely cause your efforts to backfire.