Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Net Money, Part -- Whatever

So far I've talked about making money (or not) on the Internet with advertising, subscriptions, individual sales, begging, and sponsorships. I've also at least mentioned the merchandising route, selling coffee cups, t-shirts, ball caps, etc. with your very own logo on them. Those are the traditional means of generating income.

There are some people out there,
Dave Winer, Robert Scoble, Adam Curry, Hugh Macleod and others (ubergeeks, all) who are saying, "This is a brand new medium (relatively speaking). Why should we be constrained by the old forms of commercialization? Throw out all the old business models. Invent new ones." Unfortunately these guys get all fuzzy and insubstantial at that point. I haven't yet seen a concrete proposal for one of these new business models.

I actually heard one of these neo-tech evangelists suggest that if you get out there onto the net with your best stuff, eventually money will come to you. I call that the "Field of Dreams Approach," build it and they will come. Yeah. You bet. Ask Dave Zeltserman, Megan Powell, Kevin Burton Smith and the other publishers of the online zines how well that approach works.

The Internet is changing constantly. Attitudes are changing. People are starting to accept the fact that if they want quality information or entertainment, they are going to have to pay for it.

Stop that! Right now! I said people are STARTING to accept.

But don't forget, we're operating on Internet Time with this stuff. A long time for the Internet is a blink of the eye out here in the real world.

So, what kind of new business models can we develop? Beats the hell out of me. At least right now. But rest assured, someone is going to come up with something. Might be you, might be me, might be that old guy and his dog, Browser, on the commercial. Someone will do it.

I believe it is possible to make money on the net, but in order to do so you have to actually DO SOMETHING to make it happen. I continue to believe that the key to the whole thing is promotion. Part of promotion is building relationships, connections to the people who want what you have. Try something new.

Short story writers have had some success in getting panel discussions dedicated to short stories scheduled for some of the mystery conventions. What about doing the same thing for zines? Beat someone on the Bouchercon committee about the head and shoulders until they agree to put Dave Z., Megan, KBS, Anthony Neil Smith, Trevor Mavianno, and whoever else you can come up with in a room with a bunch of fans and writers. It couldn't hurt.

Everyone who reads this blog has demonstrated by their very presence here that they are intelligent, creative and damn good-looking to boot. Someone can make this work. Why not you?


At 9:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post. I just started an ezine myself (www.rejectedwritersmagazine.com) and we're dealing with this question now: How do we keep this thing running without pulling from the grocery budget?

I think there is money to be made from the traditional methods you mentioned (t-shirts, coffee mugs), and as long as that still works, we plan on doing all of those. But as far as something new and unique to online business, I'm with you. "Beats the hell out of me." :)


At 9:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bob said: Everyone who reads this blog has demonstrated by their very presence here that they are intelligent, creative and damn good-looking to boot.

That's not true. I've seen John Rickards and Dave White here.

At 5:59 PM, Blogger Dave White said...

Can't pass up any chance to take a pot shot, can you?

At 6:46 PM, Blogger Bob said...

Well, Bryon, I guess Rickards and White are the exceptions that prove the rule.

At 6:56 PM, Blogger Bob said...

Christopher, I wish you the luck of the Irish with Rejected Writers Magazine. Keep thinking about that new business model.

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