why shouldn’t fashion bloggers make money blogging?

by grechen on April 30, 2010 | RSS | FOLLOW ON TWITTER | FACEBOOK |

I’m asking. I’d love for someone to tell me why fashion bloggers should NOT make money from their blogs. I have heard a lot of reasons, but most seem to stem from the idea that one can not do something creative and fun and make money from that at the same time. What? I don’t know about you, but that’s my ultimate goal in life: to make money doing what I care most deeply about and enjoy. Thankfully, I have reached that goal, and I personally don’t think there’s any other way to live. Now, I just want everyone else to reach that goal ;)

Annabel from Blushing Ambition left this comment on the Chictopia/Payless debate at Independent Fashion Bloggers:

the moment blogging becomes “all about the money” you’re merely a slave to a corporate structure of attaching a value to a creative outlet such as fashion blogging. I find it sad when many bloggers today can talk about is gaining compensation for exposure and increasing their amount of readers just for more sponsorship opportunities. Whatever happened to genuinely writing for an audience interested in what you have to say or photograph?

What I want to understand, is why is “genuinely writing for an audience interested in what you have to say” mutually exclusive from earning a living in her (and many other commentor’s) eyes? I make money from my blogs precisely BECAUSE I GENUINELY write for an audience interested in what I have to say…

I do understand the sentiment that many bloggers are scared that once they get their first advertiser they’ll be “beholden” to them somehow and constantly worried about keeping them. But I don’t think that has to be the case. Advertisers come to you and want to advertise on your blog because they respect your voice and your reach and want to be a part of your community. Yes, some just want to take ADVANTAGE of your voice & your reach, and those are the ones you should turn down. But there’s nothing wrong with accepting advertisement from boutiques and/or designers you respect and would love to work with; offering relevant advertisements on your blog is a benefit to you and your readers.

Oh, and there are many “creative” types who make a great deal of money selling their creations – are they sell-outs? should they not be making money? I don’t think we’d make that leap. Why do we judge fashion bloggers for trying to make money?

You, as a fashion blogger deserve compensation for your work and your time. If it’s enough for you to be compensated by the interaction you have with your community, then that’s great – for you. Don’t judge those of us who want to do this full time. In fact, don’t judge at all…

Making money is not evil. In fact, if pressed, I would say that earning a living doing something that brings you and others joy everyday is one of the least evil things you can possibly do ;)

What do you think? Should fashion bloggers make money from their blogs? why or why not?

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{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

Elements Magazine May 1, 2010 at 3:54 am

Brilliant article. We were inspired, and have come up with a post with our own opinion. Hope you’ll check it out ;)

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Eliza May 1, 2010 at 11:28 am

This is such a great topic and I full agree with you. If I could, I would just develop great content for my blog all day long. It would be great to be able to support myself off that! ‘Selling out’ is a rough term to use on bloggers, and though I understand the worry – that bloggers will simply keep writting to pay bills and disregard content quality, push products etc… – I think we should give each other a bit more credit. Everyone that has started a fashion blog generally did it because they love fashion and wanted to get in on the conversation right? So let’s keep that going :)

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grechen May 3, 2010 at 10:14 am

i agree – i hate the term “selling out!” but it’s been used over and over again by bloggers writing about bloggers and journalists writing about bloggers. it was even the title of a recent article i was interviewed for!! i hate that fashion bloggers are bashing their own instead of raising each other up…it’s hard enough out there, we definitely don’t need fellow bloggers bringing us down…

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Jessica @ Beautify My Life May 3, 2010 at 10:08 am

I completely agree with you, Grechen. The idea that I should not be able to make money off of my blog is like saying that magazines shouldn’t accept advertising because it might sway their coverage.

I write about what I like. When a company sends me news, or offers me sample products to try, I pick and choose what I’m interested in. And if someone wants to advertise on my blog, I make it clear that advertising and editorial are kept very separate. In the one occasion that a company wanted to pay me to write a post, I told them that it had to be marked as a “Sponsored Post” so my readers would know the difference.

Monetizing your blog doesn’t have to be something that negatively impacts content, if you do it right.

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grechen May 3, 2010 at 10:16 am

thanks for your comment jessica! i’m just curious to know WHERE the negativity comes from…why do people REALLY think that fashion bloggers shouldn’t make money from their blogs. my gut tells me it’s jealousy, but i’d really love to hear some “good” reasons, because i sure can’t think of any ;)

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Christina May 3, 2010 at 5:19 pm

If bloggers who get paid for blogging are sell outs, then that means anyone who loves their job and gets paid for it is a sell out, right? Blogging takes time, lots of time. Especially writing quality content, that takes even more time. If you could make money while doing what you love, and devoting your time to it, then that’s the perfect scenario. Sadly there are a lot of haters out there who will hate no matter what. And they have nothing to base their opinion on…no reasons at all, no facts. They’re just sad haters sitting at their dreadful office job that makes them miserable (hence all the hating), day dreaming of doing something they love and getting paid for it.

I also wanted to applaud you on setting such a great example for other bloggers out there. You stick to your guns, only write about what you love, and won’t endorse anything you don’t. It’s so refreshing to see a successfull female small business owner.

xxChristina
.-= Christina´s last blog ..rosenmunns9 =-.

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grechen May 3, 2010 at 6:49 pm

thanks so much christina – your words mean a lot.
and you’re totally right about everything – to me, a sell-out is someone who clearly compromises ethics, and *just* because bloggers make money from their blogs does NOT indicate that they’re *automatically* compromising their ethics!!

i’m just hoping someone will show up who disagrees with what i’ve said and tries to prove that fashion bloggers SHOULDN’T make money from their blogs. that would be fun ;)

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x Corrine/Frock & Roll x May 4, 2010 at 12:22 pm

Absolutely. (And by the way, a total high-five for this excellently crafted post!) Creating, managing and producing a blog/website with regular content requires a LOT of time and hard work, and sometimes (if you consider hosting fees/domain name set-up/etc.), it can be costly, too. And yes, while it IS ultimately our decision to undertake such projects, it’s also our decision to be fairly compensated for the energy that we pour into them, as well!

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allison May 4, 2010 at 3:57 pm

i’m an aspiring fashion/lifestyle blogger and wasn’t aware that this backlash against bloggers, specifically fashion oriented ones, earning money existed. my blog is still new and i’m working on growing my readership because i have things to share and have been told by my regular readers how much they enjoy my content. why can’t i aspire to reach a larger audience and be compensated for the service of writing about things people are interested in but don’t know about yet? none that i can think of. i think the “sellout” label is a knee jerk label for people who can’t think of a better reason. blogging does take lots of time and effort and i can see people getting burned out quick if making at least a partial living can’t be tied in. i’m with you on this!
.-= allison´s last blog ..one to watch: grey anne =-.

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MarchMusings May 4, 2010 at 6:55 pm

Hi Grechen
I’m new to the world of blogging (2 months old!) but I agree with you that writing a post involves a lot of time and work doing something we love so being paid for doing a good job of it makes sense. In fact that was what I found surprising: the amount of time it takes to do a post. Is this backlash only present in the world of fashion blogging?
.-= MarchMusings´s last blog ..Day in the city =-.

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Sandra at DebutanteClothing May 4, 2010 at 9:01 pm

I totally agree Grechen. There is nothing wrong with making money from your blog and any other source of income stream that may stem from it (info products, reports, guides, etc.) I find it interesting that fashion is just now having this conversation when other online publishers have really jumped into the blogging entrepreneur pool and are making money in ways that would make you scratch your head.

I wonder if it’s because many of us are creative types, or does it go deeper and have something to do with the fact that most fashion bloggers are women? Statistically, we tend to think of money second. Not me of course ; )

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grechen May 6, 2010 at 5:43 pm

thanks sandra ;) i think both the fact that this is a “creative” industry, and that we are women has an impact on ALL discussions about making money…

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Katy
Twitter:
May 5, 2010 at 9:54 pm

Great post. I agree with you – we should be able to make money from our blogs. But I think the important thing is to not compromise our blog’s mission just for the money. We need to stay true to our readers and if the advertisers fit in that model that is great.
.-= Katy´s last blog ..Flowers in Her Hair =-.

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grechen May 6, 2010 at 5:41 pm

you’re absolutely right katy – any time you consider taking an advertiser, you should make sure that it will ultimately benefit your readers FIRST.

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lisa May 6, 2010 at 5:11 pm

Well said!
.-= lisa´s last blog ..From Solo Lisa’s Kitchen: Chicken Corn Chowder =-.

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Hexotica May 6, 2010 at 9:29 pm

Hi,
I followed the link to here from IFB and was not disappointed. I totally agree!
I think the negativity that surrounds the monotonization of a fashion blog comes from people’s experience reading beloved blogs that go pear-shaped when ads starting popping up. I’ve followed so many great ones that become money-earners and leave me wishing they were still just a girl with a camera. I’m all for earning money doing the thing we love–I do it myself with my accessories business–and if there is one thing I know it is that I have to constantly remind myself to create what is true to who I am and not to what will sell. I dislike blogs with too many corporate give-aways, product reviews, and brand event or promotion involvement. I read blogs to be inspired and stimulated, not sold to. So I think the key is to keep the sponsorship in the back office and keep the spotlight on the blogger. Then everyone is happy, and no one would complain about the money being made.

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Tiffany May 6, 2010 at 9:51 pm

Couldn’t agree more. After spending hours on a posting and putting your heart and soul out there in the internet, it would be great to get a little cash to support the time and effort put into it. A lot of times, we as bloggers do a TON of research to support our postings whether it is from runway collections, sales at retail, parallels drawn between things, or even teaching people how to dress or express themselves. And hey, maybe if we all got a little compensation, our postings would be that much better!!!
.-= Tiffany´s last blog ..Weekly Secret Weapon: Color Mixing =-.

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Simply Luxurious May 7, 2010 at 1:00 am

Your points are absolutely valid, and I share your sentiment. Finding what one loves to do in life without having to get paid is challenging enough, but if one is fortunate enough to get paid to do it – that, I believe, is the ultimate pursuit to achieve. Well said.
.-= Simply Luxurious´s last blog ..Thursday Treasures =-.

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The Clothes Horse May 7, 2010 at 3:21 am

Um, I love you a bit. Yeah, everyone seems to think that turning your blog into your job destroys the integrity of the blog…but um, how are you supposed to invest the time into a good blog if you aren’t making money from it and your family isn’t wealthy, hm? My blog is the quality it is because I put a lot of time into it and if I wasn’t making some income from it, I’d have to quit the blog and get a “real job.”
I do wonder if we called blogs by a different name there’d be a different attitude.
Also, I have no problem with people who blog merely as a hobby. Why do people who see it as a hobby want to attack those who see it as a job? I don’t see how spending endless hours online as a hobby is so much better than being paid to spend endless hours online…
.-= The Clothes Horse´s last blog .. =-.

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Midnight Cowgirl May 7, 2010 at 10:53 am

Great post! I do not think it is wrong to make money from blogging. In school, I was encouraged to find an activity that I was passionate about and would be willing to do for free and then make that activity into a paying job. Hating your job should not be a prerequisite for making a living. Also, “selling out” can happen in any field and is the result of an individual’s choices and not their job.
.-= Midnight Cowgirl´s last blog ..Links a la Mode: The Independent Fashion Bloggers Roundup =-.

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sweetarchivia May 7, 2010 at 11:26 am

Great article – very thought provoking. I used to be very anti-money making for bloggers as well but then I realized there are ways to blog without being “beholden” to advertisers … simply putting up adsense/project wonderful next to your content doesn’t create a relationship in which you are merely the voice of a brand. Posting positive reviews of things you got for free/were paid to post about without disclosure is where I think people get uncomfortable because it blurs the line between honest opinion versus paid advertisement.

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Kristy May 7, 2010 at 11:36 am

Hi Grechen, great article! I just wrote a short post about this matter on my blog, though my opinion might be viewed as an opposition to yours;) I like how you wrote “..to make money doing what I care most deeply about and enjoy.” Of course every body wants to earn a living doing what they are passionate about. I do too! But what bugs me about this is how some blogs are crowded with sponsor banners and they’re starting to lose their “uniqueness”. Most of their posts will be about giveaways from their sponsors and not about their outfits, like how the blogs were originally started of. I agree with Hexotica’s point about “I’ve followed so many great ones that become money-earners and leave me wishing they were still just a girl with a camera.” Endorsements are great, in fact, I’d love to be endorsed by brands/companies that I believe will suit my style, personality, and belief. But how far are bloggers willing to let those endorsements take over their blogs? How much is too much? I guess that’s why many readers call these money-earning bloggers as “selling out” because they simply miss reading the girls who they fell in love with at the beginning, not a salesperson. I know that people might see me as a jealous blogger who just needs to get a couple of endorsements and would shut up about this issue, but I’m not :) I simply want to see a good balance between blogging and money-making, but more towards blogging because I think it should be a creative outlet for fashion lovers to share their interest with others and money-making comes in second :) Anyway, that’s my 2 cents. Thanks for writing this post and giving us a different perspective! :)
.-= Kristy´s last blog ..Not myself tonight =-.

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grechen May 7, 2010 at 12:37 pm

thanks so much for your comment kristy! and i don’t think we disagree…
my perspective is a little different, because i didn’t start out ONLY posting my outfits, although i did do that along with many other things. my niche is more shopping, so i think advertisements for boutiques that i was already mentioning in my posts fit in very well with my site and my readers saw it as a beneficial “next” step. i’ll admit, it is different when you start out just posting pictures and then all of the sudden you’re doing sponsored posts and giveaways, and have tons of affiliate banners in the sidebars – there’s a right and a wrong way to go about trying to earn money from your blog, and the right way is always to consider your readers FIRST – only accept ads, sponsorships & giveaways that will benefit them and don’t quit doing your “regular” posting in favor of paid opportunities all the time. <–that is the wrong way to do it.

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M May 8, 2010 at 2:32 am

It should be ideal to make money from something you love, we invest time and creativity in our blogs but maybe thinking we’re not supposed to be compensated from it comes from thinking that only “regular” occupations should be rewarded but think of all the travel writers out there who are paid to live on permanent vacation; as long as bloggers keep the contend true to themselves there’s no reason to call them sell outs.
.-= M´s last blog ..Coco Cocoon quilted joy =-.

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diya May 8, 2010 at 1:32 pm

I’m joining this discussion because while I agree with you, I think that we should try to understand these complaints a bit better. I don’t think they equate non-paid with enjoyable. I think about half the complainers of ads/sponsors appearing on blogs read blogs as the ALTERNATIVE TAKE on a subject IN CONTRAST TO the “paid” sources such as magazines and etc. They see bloggers posting 100% non-sponsored content as the only non-brainwashed voices of fashion/music/whatever. That being said, the other half of these complainers… I’ll stop here and let this comment not be so accusatory. These complainers don’t bother me. They’re entitled to their opinions and I respectfully disagree. They don’t want to take ads and etc? Fine.

However, what DOES bother me are when magazines, PR people, and newspaper articles start accusing bloggers of being money-whores. What?? Many makeup/beauty editorials let the makeup artist use whatever brand or product they choose, and then the editor goes over the list of makeup sponsors and choose similar shades from those sponsors. There’s no greater hypocrisy than when a paid fashion writer accuses another fashion writter (ie. bloggers) of being paid.

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grechen May 8, 2010 at 7:05 pm

hi diya! thanks for your comment!! the whole reason i wrote this was to try and have a conversation about this issue, and hopefully start understanding why some people have problems with fashion bloggers making money. you’ve brought up an interesting point that many people see blogs as ‘opposite’ of magazines and therefore, don’t want to see ads on them – at that point they become just like mainstream magazines. i can understand that point, and really hadn’t thought of it that way…but there are lots of indie mags out there that people respect (nylon?) and they understand that they have to sell outs to make money, right? but they don’t think it necessarily takes away their independent voice…

and as i said in the post, i am just asking for respect for both sides of the issue – bloggers who don’t want to make money on their blogs are absolutely entitled to their opinions, and to do that for themselves, i just want them to respect my (and others) decision to make this my “career.” i don’t get where the judgment comes from – that’s what i was trying to discover and understand by writing this. i don’t believe in judging anyone, and would respectfully ask to not be judged in return ;)

and obviously, i agree with you 100% on the hypocrisy of “journalists” and pr people. don’t EVEN get me started!!!

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diya May 8, 2010 at 1:34 pm

oh yeah, PS. thanks Grechen for having the courage to bring such a polarized topic up.
.-= diya´s last blog ..casual friday =-.

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Those Tricks May 8, 2010 at 11:28 pm

Hi Gretchen,
Like several other commenters, I had no idea there was a “blogging for pay” vs “blogging for fun” debate out there. It seems fairly obvious to me that anyone would like to be paid for and get the perks that come with being a notable blogger.
Falling in love with the blogosphere happened for me a little less than a year ago.
The main reason I was sucked in was because bloggers have freer voices than traditional media. It seems that most have the policy to review products honestly and reserve the right to reject sponsors or product placement if they feel it compromises their style.
If a blogger is obviously disregarding that and it bothers a reader, they can just, ya know – not look at that blog anymore!
I worked in Hollywood (behind the camera) for many years and have a film degree from NYU.
Pop media was created to sell products and ideas.
Blogging is a form of media.
And is, in my opinion, a fantastic, open new medium.
To which I say, yay!
Pay the ladies if their efforts sell products!
.-= Those Tricks´s last blog ..REALLY IMPORTANT read for all fashion bloggers =-.

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nessbow May 10, 2010 at 7:50 pm

Thankyou so much for this article. I love every minute I spend putting my blog together, and I would do it for the sheer joy it brings me even if I weren’t getting paid. However, it is my ultimate goal to built my site up to the point where I can turn writing into a full-time job. I don’t think that fashion bloggers getting paid is any different to journalists who write for fashion magazines getting paid. Just because you have taken the initiative and created something off your own bat doesn’t preclude you from earning something for your trouble.

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Laura May 11, 2010 at 7:19 pm

Great post. So nice that you posted both sides of the argument! I don’t think there’s any right or wrong answer on this; bloggers just have to do what works for them personally.
.-= Laura´s last blog ..All About J&L =-.

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Sheryl May 22, 2010 at 3:28 pm

It would be a dream to make a full time salary writing a fashion blog. I see nothing wrong with making money as a Blogger. Conde Nast has many full time bloggers earning full time salaries.

In the interim, while I await my big break, I write for online newspapers. While it does not pay a great deal it does supplement my income. It also gets my name out there in the fashion blogosphere.

Guest blogging is also a great way to get recognition and grow your readership.
.-= Sheryl´s last blog ..SASSY CITY CHICKS FASHION BASH 2010 SAMPLE SALE NYC – JUNE 2ND & 3RD =-.

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Shilpi September 29, 2010 at 9:01 pm

How else are they supposed to make money?

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Sarah {Raving Fashionista} October 22, 2010 at 5:08 pm

Another great article. I hate having to justify why I would want to make money off my blogging if it’s possible. I love fashion, and if I can make money having a fashion blog, then I should be applauded not condemned, right?

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Yossi Barazani
Twitter:
December 2, 2010 at 1:23 pm

“…earning a living doing something that brings you and others joy everyday is one of the least evil things you can possibly do.”

So true. By sharing your ideas and advice you benefit your readers first, but more important, you benefit the businesses, companies, products or services you are writing about. I believe you should be fairly rewarded for the value you create, and started Publishedin to make it happen.
Publishedin.com helps businesses and online publishers connect and benefit each other. Publishedin automatically transform links from online publishers to businesses into relations, and allows businesses to reward publishers through Publishedin Reward-Per-Click™ program.

How does it work?

Publishers continue write and link to products and services as they normally do. When visitors click a link, Publishedin reports a referral to businesses. Businesses reward publishers through Publishedin Reward-Per-Click program.

Businesses get connected automatically to all publishers who have link to them. Businesses can start Reward-Per-Click program, promote their business, increase quality traffic and acquire new customers.

We are in private BETA, but you can read more on our blog http://www.blog.publishedin.com

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claudia December 26, 2010 at 10:59 am

adoorei os post’s,espero qe tenha sempre mais novidades pra gente,
Muiito interessante’s.Parabeeins amiga.
Beeijoos.

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juliette January 2, 2011 at 6:13 am

Well this was all a very interesting read!

I am online at the moment trying to find highly motivated fashion bloggers to join our campaign for our new online store and yes be rewarded for it. I find it very strange to think that people would expect bloggers not to be rewarded, why should you put all your time and energy into it “just for the love”, no, I think it should definitely be a “win/win” situation for all involved. I don’t for a moment think that being paid for your efforts would jeopardise integrity, I think it would only motivate and feed the desire to write great content.

Write for free whenever you feel like it and write for reward when you feel it’s right………

At the end of the day everyone needs to survive and rewards motivate and allows one the freedom and time to do what they love.

Juliette

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juliette January 5, 2011 at 2:06 am

Hey again!

I own an online store and have been spending hours on the Internet looking for Bloggers to join our Affiliate Program to be rewarded 50% commission on our profit on sales.

Where can I find these Bloggers???? And how can I connect with them all at once?

Please help!

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Yossi Barazani
Twitter:
January 5, 2011 at 12:10 pm

Hi Juliette, You are right. Today, there is no easy way to connect businesses like you with bloggers and online publishers. We at Publishedin (in private beta) help businesses and online publishers connect and benefit each other.
What you can do in Publishedin:
1. Promote your business to bloggers and amplify your voice to their readers.
2. Start Reward-Per-Click™ program, increase quality traffic and acquire new customers.
3. Build your network automatically and grow your reach.
To join our beta http://www.publishedin.com you can read more on our blog http://blog.publishedin.com

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dressmemag
Twitter:
March 21, 2011 at 2:36 pm

Thank you for this post! I personally do not have advertising or anything (we have never been asked and are not truly popular but if the opportunity came around I do not think I would be opposed!) but I find it to be satisfying when I see that other bloggers have gained enough popularity to make money. It takes loads of dedication and talent to become a popular blog and everyone should be beyond happy for a blogs success! It is depressing when people ask ‘why do you have advertising?’ I just want to be like… so they can spend more time posting (aka fulfilling their half of the meaningful relationship of the blogger and the reader)! However… what is beyond annoying is when bloggers make constant posts saying thins like ‘Please, please click on the ad on the side. I need money and all it takes is one click.’ I feel bad saying this but it is rude to beg!
Either way, I loved this post and adore that you took the time to write it!
xx
-Dressmemag

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Sylvia August 25, 2011 at 9:10 am

I’m so happy I found you (through dress with courage). I connect with so many of your posts and advice. I needed to hear this!
.-= Sylvia´s last blog ..My favorite dresses for women over 40 from the fall 2011 designer collections =-.

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