February 23, 2006 9:56 AM PST

Full-time blogger Kottke throws in the towel

Jason Kottke, a Web designer who quit his job to run his blog full time, has abandoned his plan to make a living through blogging after exactly one year.

Kottke announced on Wednesday that he is no longer seeking payments from people who enjoy his blog, Kottke.org. He said he hasn't managed to attract enough readers or developed "a sufficient cult of personality" to support the subscription model.

He also explained that he wasn't able to keep providing the time and energy needed to make his blog successful enough.

"My (unstated) intention from the beginning was to approach the site as a start-up, but along the way, life intervened (in a good way), and I couldn't focus on it as much as I wanted to. The site became a normal job, a 9-to-5 affair, which meant that I could keep up with it, but growth was hard to come by," Kottke wrote.

Kottke was part of the first wave of bloggers. He set up his site nearly eight years ago and was awarded a lifetime achievement award at the Bloggies in 2003. He announced that he was going to work on the blog full time on Feb. 22, 2005, and was seeking micropayments from regular readers.

Kottke revealed on Wednesday that he had raised a total of $39,900 from 1,450 donors. Most of that was received in the initial fund-raising drive in February and March 2005, when his project began.

It's unclear what Kottke will do next.

"In the short term, (the blog) is going to be taking a backseat to some other things going on in my life. Longer term, who knows? I might look for other ways to fund my efforts on the site, or maybe it goes back to being more of a hobby. But there will be posts and links and other things here almost daily, just like there have been for almost eight years now," he wrote.

Dave Sifry, who founded the blog search engine Technorati, believes that the secret to creating a successful blog is to specialize in a certain topic. This will help attract attention from other bloggers and push the blog into what Sifry calls the "Magic Middle" of the blogosphere, he argued in a blog posting earlier this month.

Robert Scoble, known as The Microsoft Blogger, published a book last month called "Naked Conversations," in which he argued that individuals and businesses cannot afford to ignore the power of the blogging community.

"Blogging has (passed) the denial and most of the anger phase. Now businesses see blogging's huge potential and have begun to adapt it to business needs," Scoble wrote.

Graeme Wearden of ZDNet UK reported from London.

See more CNET content tagged:
micropayment, blogging, blogger, blog, Microsoft Corp.

4 comments

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Bloggers as Editorial Writers of the 1890s-1950s
Before the rise of TV editorial writers of newspapers carried a lot of weight, helped form public opinion (Spanish American War is the best example) and newspapers were bought to read the editorials as well as the news.

For bloggers to succeed they have to not only have a distinct style they have to have a sponsor to allow them to write without having to also market and advertise their blog.

A newspaper editorial writer does not have the time do all their own marketing and neither can a blog. The newspaper does that - blogs have to bow to the reality that they must also have an overarching supporter of them and they are not really a "new medium." The message is just DELIVERED differently than that of a newspaper editorial.

Tom Philo
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://taphilo.blogspot.com" target="_newWindow">http://taphilo.blogspot.com</a>
Posted by taphilo-2003685639374287843630 (130 comments )
Reply Link Flag
39,900?
Holy crap. This guy made 39,900 in a year to sit around and type on the computer about whatever he sees fit, and he's saying that's not enough money? Poor baby. Much more than I make at my tech job working 40 hrs/week.
Posted by sdencar (28 comments )
Reply Link Flag
$39,900 in one year
According to my calulations, that's approximately
$20+ an hour.
If I earned that much, I would gladly sit around all day and write well enough to earn it!
I reckon that's not enough for some people, but he
will probably find some excuse to bypass any barbs
directed towards him about the money.
After writing a blog for eight years, I wouldn't
have quit my job to experiment for a year unless
I had something else to support myself.
In other words, I wouldn't rely on the kindness
of strangers!
Posted by drkatz (4 comments )
Link Flag
More than you make ??
You work full-time in tech and make less than $40k a year ?!?!?! In the USA ?? You need a new job or more training.

Also, he probably had a few thousand dollars in expenses, so maybe he cleared $35k. I suspect he's capable of making $90k to $125k pretty easily.
Posted by regulator1956 (577 comments )
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