How Do Tech Blogs Make Money?

Singapore Tech Blogs

When I was in Business School, instead of WallStreet Journal or Singapore Business Times, I was more interested in reading tech blogs (or some may call it tech publications). The regular ones that I followed closely and covers the Asia startup scenes are SGEntrepreneur, e27 and TechInAsia. (there are more now and you can get it from this Quora List)

Recently, e27 raised about US$615,000 to further expand their coverage in Southeast Asia. (Congrats Mohan! See e27.Team)

One of my friend, who’s currently working in a corporate sector whatsapp me and ask.

wah, tech blog can also raise money. I wonder if the tech sector in SG is in a bubble? oh seh liao loh, bryan you chose the startup path, now maybe you can too raise big money too. Do you know how the tech blogs make money? Maybe I should quit my job and  start blogging now, what do you think?

My answer to him “LOL

And I did not continue the conversation, but I thought it would be great for me to blog it out and share with everyone my thoughts, especially on the part about how tech blogs make money? this is because as an entrepreneur, how do you make money is the most frequent question I received from investors so when my friend when pops me this question for tech blogs, I thought I must really look into this and so I made it the title post. I also broke down his questions into 4 parts.

1. I wonder if the tech sector in SG is in a bubble?

I have no answer for this, so I head for google. There are no firm answers but one thing is for sure, startups are creating jobs.

2. now maybe you can too raise big money too.

LOL.

3. How the tech blogs make money?

I am a sucker for tech stuff, so I also followed several podcasts (although I’m learning to run one now). Coincidently, the following day I caught This Week In Startups and the podcast was an interview session Sarah Lacy – Founder of PandoMedia or better know as PandoDaily

PandoDaily, to me is a tech blog that covers everything from the root of tech startups. And it is on my must read list for international startups news especially in the US. So in the podcast, she shared a little about how PandoDaily makes money, beside the most common ads, she also runs PandoMonthly – where she will have a weekly fire chat with successful founders and investors. And to view these interviews, you can either buy a ticket or subscribe for a membership. (here’s a Quora ans on how mashable,Techcrunch, and TNW does it)

Further research into this topic leads me to find out more and here’s some of the revenue streams (may not be comprehensive, so if you know more, do share with me)

  • Ads – although it seems to be the easiest to implement, I do not really see a lot of ads on these tech blogs.
  • Events – personally I think events / conferences are the ones that MAY bring in the most revenues next to ads, because almost every tech publication seems to run an event. For examples:
  • Research – Gigaom does this very well, coz hey cover startups in cleantech even Intraix got some reports from them. And they charge you a leg and an arm for it.
  • Job portalstartups are always looking out for talents, because these tech blogs reach the correct audiences, very often they also offer a job portal or job board on their site.

So how about local Tech Blogs? They unlike the US Tech Blogs who have pretty close revenue stream. They each have their own angles.

SGEntrepreneurs

I look through SGE, but could not find any flagship events that they do. (Maybe I missed out) But I do realised they run the following

  • Research – by Terence Lee Currently the latest report they have on hand is about beauty box services and it cost USD 599
  • Job portal – Only SGE has it (Triple Point Jobs), but it seems like the last update was in March 2012 and if you click on http://jobs.triplepoint.asia/ it will direct you back to home page.

e27

  • events – needless to say event is their money making machine, otherwise how would they been able to bootstrap? e27 flagship event is Echelon – it’s an great launch platform for startups and the application deadline has been extended to 28 Feb 2013

techinasia

  • events – their flagship event is Startup Asia, this year it’s going to be on 4-5 April and registration takes place here. Tickets are going off at $300 for startups and $80 for students.
  • Job listing – Maybe TechInAsia is looking into this too, because currently the link states “coming soon”

Bro, if you happen to read my blog, I hope this answer your question on how tech blogs make money.

4. Maybe I should quit my job and start blogging now,

And btw starting up is not easy, e27 has been around since 2006 and for the most part they have bootstrapping. Can you take the risk of not having any income, having extreme mood swings and the cold showers from your users/investors.

[Idea] These three local tech blogs have their huge following, yet they do not run a job listing or portal like the tech blogs in US. Maybe this calls for a collaboration between PSDPY and them? What do you think? love to hear your thoughts.

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15 thoughts on “How Do Tech Blogs Make Money?

  1. Nice succinct post. I think eventually, the likes of e27, sgentreprenuers will start moving into verticals. Much like how techcrunch has an EU edition, they will probably start regional editions (Indonesia and Malaysia etc) soon.

    1. Hi @Ryan_Liao

      Thanks for the comment.
      You are right, this was also in the podcast discussion.
      pandodaily is vested by several big VC firms, and of the question that pops out is “if they are independent enough to write reviews for startups that are funded under the same VC”

      which is why I prefer reading tech blog that are independent or rather personal blog 😀

      blog like marco arment is also not bad, if they have a sponsored post, they will highlight and you can know if they write it objectively.

      any tech/personal blogs you are reading now to recommend?

      Cheers

      1. Sorry for the late reply. I prefer to read more stuffs like hacker news. Most tech blogs encourages us to have the idea but I think what is truly lacking is the execution part. You see, anybody can say I have this “bloody good idea”, the thing that matters is, can we execute it?

      2. Hi Ryan.

        Hacker news is awesome especially showHN where people puts thier idea into reality and certainly I couldn’t agree with you more the part about execution. It is also the attribute that marks a true entrepreneur over a wannabe.

        Cheers

  2. I would have to say that it’s quite hard earning from a tech blog. I’ve been running mine for a year and it does get a lot of traffic, but I think the problem is most techie people are into the whole “ad-blocking”, so most people aren’t seeing the Google AdSense advertisements, and therefore i’m not making much money!

    1. Hi Luke

      Thanks for the comment 😀
      I visited ur site, I’m very impressed. Do you write all the articles or do you have a team?

      Back to making money from Tech blog, You are right about the ad-blocking. There are browsers plugins and even product like clearly that helps remove ads.

      which explains why some tech blogs like the ones I mentioned, for example
      SGE.io is working on it’s research papers as a source of revenue stream. While e27.co & techinasia are focusing on launch events. They do charge a fees for startups setting booth. pretty much like event management.

      But in my opinion, all these income avenues are more suitable for tech blogs like Techcrunch, Gigaom..etc
      they have a team and run it like a publication.

      While independent bloggers like us, (I assuming you run (geekshut.com) on your own) maybe more suitable for sponsored posts rather than ads? What do you think @luke ?

      love to hear from you on this.
      Bryan

      1. Thanks Bryan, I’ve had it open since February 2012 and it’s been very fun running it!

        I mostly write the articles, but I do have some authors with almost 200 articles and some with around 50. We just hit 1,900 articles, so we are beginning to get quite a few articles in total.

        I mainly write alone because obviously the site isn’t making enough money to pay people a decent amount per post, it is something which is quite annoying as all it would take is more writers and the traffic should (hopefully) increase.

        I think I would have to go down the route of making this site big, and then trying to see if companies such as Samsung, Microsoft etc will pay to have their advertisements on the site, instead of having Google AdSense as it is so easy for people to block. Obviously I need to have enough traffic for those large companies to even care.

        Another avenue I’m going down is looking into making an online magazine, which will cost you $10 for 12 issues a year. Obviously this will take time to get set up, but even if I get 10 people who buy it, I would’ve made more than I have with AdSense since August 2012!

        It would be nice to see my blog grow as large as the big blogs, as this is something I would love to actually do as a full-time job one day. I’d also want to fly all around the world going to tech events too, but the money would need to come from the blog first.

      2. Hi Luke

        The one about the online magazine is certainly an angle to go. One of my favorite tech blogger/writer is Marco Arment (http://www.marco.org/) He runs an online magazine (http://www.marco.org/2013/02/24/the-magazine-sharing) too. And certainly, I’m a subscriber. I listened to his podcast “Build and Analyze” and he shared that he keeps his operations very lean. There are only 2 full-timers. He & his editor, the rest of the articles are paid to the authors when they are written. Awesome business model, I feel.

        just like you, I look forward becoming a full time writer in the future 😀 And I wish you the best of luck. btw, I’m located in Singapore, if you happen to be in Asia, drop me a tweet . We should meet up for coffee.

        Cheers

      3. Hey Bryan, sorry I haven’t responded.

        I think the main thing I need to focus on is getting traffic, which really at the moment isn’t going very well. To actually be noticed by companies to get products sent out to me to review (when I write reviews I get a lot of traffic from Google), I think I need to be gettting at least 100,000 UV’s a month.

        I live in New Zealand, so it’s actually quite hard for companies to send products out to me, because it’s not as if I’m in the US or UK where they regularly send products to be reviewed. I need to get a lot of traffic for it to be worthwhile for them. The only problem is I can’t work out how to get this traffic!

  3. I think blogs are crucial for the industry – and as connectors you can look into ways to monetize your relationships. I think sponsorships and events come hand in hand to play a part. But also, tech blogs curate information and that is turning data into information. I think there are ways to monetize that value as well 😀

    I wish the film industry in Singapore has a strong community blog as well!

    1. Hi Derek,

      “turning data into information.” this is a very interesting angle. thanks for sharing man

      I’m not sure about the flim industry, but I’m certainly growing to love local indie films after watching it on viddsee. I’m actually using it as an review platform 😀 very much like a blog writing to review a short film, viddsee does it all.

      Cheers

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