Earlier this week, I sort of jokingly introduced my staff, in response to some recent reader emails giving me “Atta Girls!” for making a living as a professional blogger, which would be well-deserved praise if I actually got paid for it. I always thought it might be nice to figure out a way to make blogging pay, but several news stories this week have made me think that maybe I’d be better off not getting what I wish for.
Forbes is reporting that a newly graduated and laid off (not a shocker in this economy) lawyer has been declared ineligible for unemployment benefits by the New York State Department of Labor, because of her blog earnings – a whopping $1.30 a day from Google AdSense. It's a moot point for me because AdSense shut down its affiliate program in North Carolina before the legislature could tax referral fees, although $1.00 a day in extra income is not to be sneezed at, especially with all the Milk Bones my staff requires.
Then the FTC announced this week that bloggers who fail to disclose freebies and paid reviews could be fined up to $11,000.00. The FTC seems to be particularly focused on those swag-grabbing “mommy bloggers”. At first, I thought, “Whew, that’s not me," until I remembered I’m a mommy.
I did smile when Frederic Lardinois described freebies as “blogging Payola” in his article for ReadWriteWeb. “Payola” is defined as “bribery of an influential person in exchange for the promotion of a product or service.” In the interest of full disclosure, I haven’t received any offers of bribery, and my self-esteem will survive the realization that I must not be terribly influential.
I did receive a bag o’ swag from a vendor courting our law firm’s business this week, including Post-Its, what is either a retractable keyboard-cleaner or a make-up brush, and one of those stress squeeze toys. Sorry, Uncle Sam, but I am not reporting a stress squeeze toy that already has my staff’s teeth marks on it as income.