5 legitimate ways to make money with a blog
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to make money with a website or blog â you just need to make sure you are always providing value to your audience. It's easy to create a site, but not easy to grow an audience and make money. Focus your niche …
We're live blogging New Japan Pro Wrestling's G1 Special in USA
It's a historic night for the world's second largest pro wrestling federationâand arguably top in match qualityâas New Japan Pro Wrestling presents its first live show from the United States. Jim Ross and Josh Barnett are calling the action on AXS TV …
Back in the late aughts, it was still something of a novelty to have internet celebrities. YouTube had been around for a few years, but it was mainly used to share clips from existing media sources like TV and film.After Google bought the site in late 2006, things changed. Not only was there a crackdown on copyrighted material posted on the site, there was more financial backing for original creators to post their own material and make money off them.
And thats where people like Tay Zonday, whose real name is Adam Nyerere Bahner, came in. While at the time of his rise to stardom there had already been song-based memes like Rickrolling, there hadnt truly been an internet star created organically based on their own independent creation. That all changed when “Chocolate Rain” took the web by storm in early 2007.
Coupled with an impossibly deep natural baritone (which Zonday notes on his own website has been compared to Paul Robeson, Barry White, and, uh, Brad Roberts of the Crash Test Dummies), somewhat bizarre lyrics, charming performance tics like turning away from the microphone to breathe, and a plinking keyboard beat, “Chocolate Rain” was both a catchy song and just weird enough to give internet wags something to make gags about. Basically, the perfect concentration of viral elements.
The original video, posted in April 2007, has garnered more than 113 million views in slightly more than 10 years on YouTube. Getting on the front page of YouTubeback when that was key to driving attentionhelped propel Zonday to instant internet celebrity. At one point, “Chocolate Rain” was among the top 50 most viewed videos on the site, though it has since fallen from those ranks.
Since this was early in YouTubes history, it makes sense that Zonday didnt have an extensive catalog of videos at that point. Still, striking massive paydirt on just his third-ever video is impressive. Nevertheless, it was on his channel for three months before it caught fire and reached a wide audience. Back then, Zonday was a grad student in Minnesota pursuing a doctorate in American studies, with a focus on performance and social change, themes that clearly informed “Chocolate Rain.”Zonday has admitted he had little prior musical training and had only dabbled in the piano before “Chocolate Rain” was a hit.
The seemingly cryptic lyrics (Chocolate Rain, Dirty secrets of economy / Chocolate Rain, Turns that body into GDP) can easily be read as a commentary on racism at a glance, butthe overarching theme was missed by a majority of listeners, Zonday claims. I believe about 20 percent of people who watched it at the time appreciated a deeper social message, he said in an interview with BT to mark the 10th anniversary of the song in 2017. Of course, the message didnt go over everyones head. A writer for Vice termed “Chocolate Rain” the wokest song ever, saying most dont appreciate it for the deep commentary on race that it really is.
During a recent run-in with airport security, Zonday invoked “Chocolate Rain” on Twitter to comment on rude treatment he received.
Given the role that the famed den of trolls, 4chan, has played in the rise of the alt-right, it might seem a little odd that it played a part in promoting a song that is about institutional racism, but thats what Zonday says. He credits the site with building the buzz about “Chocolate Rain” that led to it becoming a crossover cultural hit. Like most things, it was a joke for the posters on 4chan. That amusement led to more jokes, which spiraled and spiraled until the video was getting enough attention that people were enjoying it unironically, or at least mostly unironically.
If the YouTube sensation escaped the wrath of 4chan, he did not survive social media unscathed. Pranksters love killing of C-List celebrities for the LOLs, and Zonday has been in their crosshairs for some time.
In 2012, his Facebook page and YouTube channel were filled with messages lamenting his death, despite the star still being alive and well.
It was the second notable time he’d been killed. Back in 2009, a YouTube channel hosted a video called “Tay Zonday Shot Dead,” where he was pictured being brutally shot.
As a follow-up to “Chocolate Rain,”Zonday touched on one of the most prevalent memes of the day by covering Rick Astleys 1987 hit Never Gonna Give You Up, which gained new life in the mid-2000s as a prank that people sent each other or posted publicly as a link when something else was expected. For what its worth, its an interesting cover. In fact, Tay found a second life doing covers, thanks to his uncanny baritone. His cover of Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” racked up 6.5 million views.
Because the internet was both an unknown and viewed as a threat to conventional forms of entertainment, most television shows veered away from highlighting internet culture in its early days or cast it in a negative light to keep people away from it. One exception was the Jimmy Kimmel Show, which had internet stars occasionally appear. Zonday got to perform “Chocolate Rain” on an August 2007 episode. By then, “Chocolate Rain” was already a huge hit online, and this appearance only helped to push the song to the many who hadnt yet given their lives over to the internet.
In the interview, Zonday hit right at the heart of the absurdity of meme culture, even in its inception.
“You just kind of put something silly on YouTube and it gets lots of attention.”
In a 2008 episode, the boys encountered a slew of early memes in an effort to raise internet money. It was a way forSouth Park to parody internet culture, which was something that gained a lot of attention but struggled to be monetized at the time. Among the other early memes that were satirized along with Zonday were Star Wars Kid, Numa Numa, Tron Guy, Dramatic Chipmunk, and the Leave Britney Alone guy. At one point, upset over their order in line, Zonday pulls a handgun and begins methodically shooting other memes, only to have his head explode when he encounters the chipmunk.
When asked about it, Zonday said he wasn’t much botheredby the depiction.
“I think it’s true to South Park‘s artistic style. I’m flattered to be a part of that artistic style. I think it’s nice, but I don’t have an emotional reaction.”
Maybe South Park had a point, at least about those early internet stars. In a 2009 interview, Zonday mentioned that he was making roughly $4,000-$5,000 per month from the video, mostly from ringtones and music sales. Thats certainly not bad, consistent income to get from one video, but it hardly constitutes a vast fortune. In a 2017 interview, he says he regrets initially making the song available via free download. I didnt put it on iTunes, he said. I definitely regret that. If I had made smarter business choices when it was hot that would have been good, but I didnt know.”
Weezers Pork and Beans, released in 2008, is notable for being the first single from the band to not contain a guitar solo. Just kidding, its not particularly notable at all. But the video for the song, which cleverly referenced and integrated a host of early internet stars, ended up winning a Grammy the next year. “Chocolate Rain” played a part, as did all your base are belong to us, those dubs of G.I. Joe PSAs, and the leave Britney alone guy.
Back in the dark ages before video upload sites and social media, the only way untrained musicians could get national acclaim was through talent shows or singing competitions. Those shows still exist, of course, but there are other avenues available. So it was a little bit of a throwback for Zonday to appear on Americas Got Talent and share the song that the internet made popular for a TV competition.
Sporting a grill and accompanied by the rapper Mista Johnson, Zonday had an offshoot to his original hit with “Cherry Chocolate Rain” to promote a Dr. Pepper release. Naturally, there was blowback online from people calling Zonday a sellout, because anytime someone is able to make some money off the thing they originally did to entertain people for free, someone is going to find a way to be upset.
It must be quite the honor for an amateur musician to have Green Days drummer cover your song. This would also presage the many celebrities and TV shows that covered fellow online wonder Rebecca Blacks viral hit Friday, which arrived four years after “Chocolate Rain.” Back then, it was groundbreaking. Nowadays, musicians covering viral songs is par for the course. Just take a look atGangnam Style.
Tre Cool wasnt the only celeb to cover “Chocolate Rain,” though John Mayers was hardly a straight cover of the song. Appearing on VH1s Best Week Ever, Mayer mixed it with Nelly Furtado’s 2006 single, Say It Right.”
In his interview with Kimmel years back, Zonday professed to have never seen this cover.
Though the clip is no longer posted on NASAs website, in 2008, Zonday provided the narration for a multimedia presentation to mark the 50-year anniversary of the establishment of NASA. In Voyager 1 and 2, NASA put an array of musical selections on a golden record for some being in a distant time and place to discover and learn about civilization on Earth, at least before it destroyed itself. Perhaps if there are any subsequent versions of that, “Chocolate Rain” could be included, because why not?
Internet-enabled TVs! Those were cutting edge technology in 2010. To promote their newfangled product, TV maker Vizio put out a Super Bowl ad with Beyonc, along with several well-known internet personalities, including Zonday performing “Chocolate Rain.” Thats right, low-production songs about systemic racism would no longer be confined to tiny laptop screens or computer monitors. They could be in the living room as well.
2017 internet is a much different beast than 2007 internet. The path to viral stardom nowadays is paved with takes, rather than goofiness, which is probably why these days Zonday is weighing in on the issues. Besides, his concentration in his studies was social change. This is probably closer to his passions than, say, making song covers of other silly memes. So if you click over to Zondays YouTube channel these days, youre just as likely to see him share his views on net neutrality or Syria as you are to see him give usa cover of a song from Game of Thrones.
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When blogging gets scary: my bout with the bullies who plagiarized my work
I enjoy blogging and often criticize myself for not blogging often and frequently enough. Between managing my household and family of daughters plus my husband and my mom who recently moved in with us, in addition to being a fitness instructor and a …
Ricky Dillon is 24, but his spiked bleach-blond hair and multicolored metallic nail polish that shines on his right fingers make him look younger. He has about 3 million followers on YouTube, where his specialty is reacting funny to things, as he puts it.
His light-hearted, lo-fi videos are labeled with such bright,bubble-lettered titles as3 BOYS, 26 POSITIONSwhich is not what it sounds like. Its Dillon and two friends contorting themselves into the shape of alphabet letters, and it has 1.2 million views.
Thats an audience that Twitter and Facebook want. But Dillon rarely posts on Facebook, and hes never used Facebook LiveFacebook’s weird, he saidand he hasn’t tried Twitter’s Periscope, either.
YouTube’s like my base, everything else essentially promotes back to my YouTube, Dillon said. He started his channel in 2009.
Dillons most stable revenue source is YouTubes AdSense (he wouldn’tsay how much he makes), the program Google started in 2007 that nowshares revenue with tens of millions of video makers.
He makes the most money from the videos he shoots for brands: Sponsored content. He doesn’t get checks from Twitter or Facebookbut he might soon.
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A few years ago, it was crazy to imagine social media companies paying anyone for being popular on their sites; the idea was for everyone to use them for free in exchange for giving up their data for ad targeting. But now Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are making big, strategic moves into higher-quality video content and trying to pry fans away from YouTube, and they’ve been rethinking their business models.
They want to lure creatorsthe glowing term for people like Dillon who have made a careerout of beingoriginal on the internet. Facebook and Twitter are realizing that if they want to get the biggest, most engaged audiences, they need to have videos that draw the most viewers. That means offering the creators a cut of their ad revenue.
At the end of the day, content creators control engagement and control eyeballs, said Krishna Subramanian, whose company, Capitv8, connects influencers with brands. The more content they upload, the more engagement that happens on Facebook. And if they split revenue with creators, that will solve a huge problem creators have with the platform. People will start to post more.”
The goal is to have the most-watched videos, but also a good balance of inoffensive ads that will make everyone money. Facebook and Twitter want the Ricky Dillons of the world to post their original, unsponsored videos directly to their platforms, and for those, the question is where to cram in the commercials.
But they also have to contend with sponsored posts, where the platforms don’t see a dime. Knowing they can’t put a stop to those, the social media companies are trying to persuadecreators to label them as ads; they’re alsotrying to persuade the brands behind the ads to pay to promote them. It’s a tricky line for social media companies to toe: Make the stars happy so they won’t go elsewhere, but keep a tight control on sponsored content so the platforms can get those ad dollarsand not alienate users.
Twitter is starting to share revenue through a program called Amplify. Mike Park, Twitters head of content partnerships, said the company has been hiring experts from YouTube who already have relationships with creators. His team, as well as the people at Vine, Twitters app for short videos, holdmeetings with their most popular stars to understand how they want to build their brands.
Like YouTube, Twitter is starting to put ads ahead of itsvideos. The site will take only 30 percent of the revenue from sales, leaving the rest to creatorsthe same deal it makes with such media companies asBuzzfeed and National Geographic, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Theyre reaching a connected audience and a live audience, said Park, who said the effort is still being tested out. The thing thats missing is the revenue opportunity. Weve heard them loud and clear.
But at Facebook, executives are against pre-roll adsbecause all videos auto-play as people look through their feeds. A commercial delaying the main event is too riskyusers might scroll right by.
We just want to find a model thats going to be much more appropriate for our platform, said Fidji Simo, Facebook’s head of video. Like Park, she’s been aggressively courting creators.
Last month she was atVidcon, an online video conference in Anaheim, Calif., to persuadestars to bring their viral magic to the social network.Early June normally finds her in the south of France at the year’s most important advertising conference, in Cannes, building the company’s relationship with such big spenders asCoca-Cola and Walmart; this year she skipped it.
Vidcon is where Vine celebrities, Instagram queens, and masters of Snapchat converge with talent representatives, social media executives, and ad agencies. Hordes of preteens were everywhere, roaming the conference in packs to chase internet celebritieseach fan shriek a reminder of how much cash companies can make from Vine practical jokers and YouTube makeup tutorials.
Facebook had an exclusive, wristband-only lounge atthe Anaheim Hilton where Simo quizzed some of the festival’s biggest names how they like to get paid.
Right now, Facebook gives straight cash to some elite stars, such asKevin Hart, who has a $600,000 contract with the company, according to the Wall Street Journal. But Simo was working on a long-term solution to share revenue thatwould benefit a wider swath of creators, including the more unconventional types at Vidcon. Ads in the middle of long videos might work, she said.
Were going to be experimenting with a bunch of different formats for creators in the coming months, Simo said. Its likely not going to be a one size fits all.
In one early test, Facebook is sharing revenue from ads shown between videos that are suggested to users based on something they just watched. Creators would get 55 percent of the ad revenue that’s the same cut YouTube gives.
Creators arent waiting for the social networks to figure out revenue-sharing, of course. Theyve already made their own side deals with brands to do sponsored posts, without going through the social media companies at all.Brands spend more than $100 million on influencer marketing every month just on Instagram, according to Captiv8. That doesnt include all the partnerships that arent disclosed to users.
Jason Horton is a YouTube comedian with 130,000 followers. His videoseriesincludes Awkward With Women, in which he explores dating life. Some of those episodes are23 Worst Pickup Lines and PIZZA SEX! Ford, Nintendo, and Foot Lockerhave paid him for posts. Hed love to make money directly from Facebook some day, anduntil then hes building an audience.
I’m treating Facebook like it’s college, he said. I’m learning, I’m educating myself, and once they decide to start monetizing, I’ll be ready to go. He thinks it’ll be another place to do his brand partnerships, or at least get a cut of revenue from the ads on what his audience sees.
He says he always indicates if his videos are commercials.Creators oftendesignate ads by hash-tagging#sponsored or #ad, to comply with FTC rules. More than 300,000 sponsored posts on Instagram in July used hashtags like that, up from about 120,000 a year earlier, according to Captiv8.
Of course, a lot of people don’t disclose they’re getting a paycheck for a name check, and no one knows how many of them are out there.
Instagram used to make it difficult for creators trafficking in sponsored posts, blocking links outside the app. But now the social networklets peopletag brands in their posts, which the brands can then pay to promote as official ads. Videos can now be 60 seconds, not just 15, which is better for music and makeup instructionals. Eventually, it’ll be better to give the most popular grammers a way to make money than block them from the app, estranging their millions of followers.
While we cant ignore it, we need to make sure it works, said Kevin Systrom, Instagrams chief executive officer, in an interview with Bloomberg West in June. It’s not OKto not know something’s an ad.
The ads that arent officially bought through the system can mess up the user experience on Instagram. The company recently moved to a feed that puts things in an algorithmic order, instead of reverse-chronological order. That means Instagram now has to worry about how frequently ads show upin feeds, and they have little way of knowing if an influencers post about Starbucks’ latest cold brew concoction is a shill.
Systroms pitch to both brands and creators is that if they stay out of Instagrams control, they won’t have all the sophisticated analytics Instagram gives its advertisers, such assummarizing the demographics and size of a campaigns audience.
Im both excited that influencers have the reach they have now on Instagram, and for brands to reach their fans, he said. But that method of advertising is not nearly as effective as going through the Instagram system.”
Its still an open question whether companies will buy into this and pay twice. And for the stars who have already made it big on YouTube, a slice of revenue may not make much of a difference.
Dillon has been concert touring over the past year, making international stops to prop up a budding career in auto-tuned pop music, and he also makes money from the sales of his new book, Follow Me. He wouldnt say no to more money, but he doesnt know if it would get him to use Facebook for more than basic communication with friends.
I don’t know, he said. I just never really have.
This article originally published at Bloomberg here
Take a moment to consider all that has transpired in your life and the world since the last time you logged into eMusic. For me, its been roughly five years, I think, and among a few other slightly more consequential things, I (like much the rest of the world), have begun consuming music completely differently. But the brand, which re-launched this week with a design and rejiggered business model, believes it will win you, the music fanatic back.
CEO Tamir Koch, who took control of the company when his Israel-based media startup TriPlay purchased the brand back in 2015, is convinced that he can do so. And he happily tells me so during a conversation following the relaunch. Im going to turn you back into a user, he tells me over the phone, with a sort of brashness that defines much of the conversation. I dont care if you write about us or not. My purpose will be to get you back to a user.
Ill be the first to admit that the new model is a compelling one. Gone are the days of the subscription service that offered deep discounts on indie music tracks. While the price cuts remain, the subscription aspect is gone entirely. Instead, the newly launched service is built around a music locker. That part, at least, is familiar for veterans of the digital music game.
Interestingly, the company tells me that its not supplementing your music with its own database, unlike other locker services. The files you upload are the files you listen to, a rep for the company told me. Its not supplemented in any way and is hosted on eMusic cloud (TriPlays cloud).
That means, among other things, that any sort of obscure tracks you might own that dont count among the companys 32 million are included in the My Music section once youve uploaded them. And storage is unlimited.
Once theyre stored, you can access them through any device you can load eMusic on in the browser or as a standalone app. In that sense, its not entirely unlike Spotify or Apple. The nutty thing about the model is that its all free. eMusic eats the hosting cost.
The company plans to make money from the aforementioned purchases. Its a tricky proposition given the relative ease with which many of us jumped over to subscription-based service. In order to actually start making money, eMusic will have to get you to switch back.
The service plans to accomplish this by hooking you in with its free offering. Start using it as a locker, and maybe youll start purchasing music again, courtesy of the recommendations it offers up based on what youve got saved in My Music. As far as how it gets you through the door in the first place, that will require, to some degree any residual warm and fuzzy feeling youve got held over from eMusics halcyon days.
While I did use the service back in the day, it mostly revolved around subscribing and unsubscribing based on discount subscription emails the company would send out. On my end, at least, Im not sure what I get when I think of the service is an overwhelming sense of nostalgia but certainly word of the new model was enough to make me check it out. And when TriPlay bought eMusic, it also bought a big database of former users.
Were looking at 10s of billions of records of purchase history and millions andmillions of users, says Koch. When we bought eMusic absolutely for the brand. We bought it for the music base, because those are music lovers. At the end of the day, thats who were talking to. When we bought it, we knew that, as a download store, it doesnt have a chance. But we have a model now that works.
So if youve ever used the service, expect to get an email soon, heralding its return, in much the same way MySpace did with its grand reemergence assuming, of course, that email address is still active.
Like I said, its compelling. Ive been playing around with it for a bit. If nothing else, I like that Ive had a reason to go back and listen to music on my hard drive that Ive long forgotten about, and the ability to access obscure weirdness that simply doesnt exist on services like Spotify is pretty great for a dyed in the wool music nerd such as myself.
But the UI of the mobile app leaves quite a bit to be desired, and as for actually purchasing new music through the service, Ill likely pass. Which brings us back to the beginning. In order to have a successful business model, eMusic is going to have to do more than just getting you to play with its free service. It has to find a truly compelling way to get users to spend their hard-earned cash on music downloads, a sentiment that almost feels like a relic from another day.
And if it cant figure out how to seal the deal, dont expect the free aspect to stick around for much longer.