Fred Wilson wrote an interesting post yesterday on the A VC blog: The Long Tail Of Business Models , in response to an earlier article about Media Business Models by Chris Anderson, who first popularized the Long Tail concept.
In his post, Wilson gives us a long list of monetization strategies for FREE content, such as blogs; some of which are very popular strategies and others not so much. A few of the less common ones are reproduced below:
- Lead generation (you pay for qualified names of potential customers)
- Subscription revenues
- Rental of subscriber lists
- Licensing of brand (people pay to use a media brand as implied endorsement)
- Alternate output (pdf; print/print-on-demand; customized Shared Book style; etc.)
- Live events
- Cost Per Install (popular with top Facebook apps who can help others get installs)
- Sponsorships (ads of some sort that are sold based on time, not on the number of impressions)
- Listings (paying a time based amount to list something like a job or real estate on your website)
- Streaming Audio Advertising (like radio advertising delivered in the audio stream after a certain amount of audio content has been delivered)
- Streaming Video Advertising (like streaming audio but in video)
- API Fees (charging third parties to access your API)
The full list is available in his post. Overall, this is extremely valuable for any publisher of free content.
To Wilson's list, I would add the following strategies for generating indirect revenue - i.e. more in line with Business Development. These strategies are not directly monetizable, but equally real all the same, and can be converted into actual income with a bit of effort.
Indirect Revenue Strategies for Blogs
- Lead-In to Consulting Business; this is more specific than, but a subset of, generic referrals and lead generation
- Book Writing Opportunities; your blog allows you to gain credibility, build an audience and interact directly with your readers
- Lead-In to Education Business, such as Classes and Webinars
- Gather Market Intelligence, using Polls, Surveys, Feedback et al
- Networking (in the good sense of the word) - you can find others with similar thoughts and interests
- Define your own Viral Meme; for example, here's one viral term: "Web 2.0"
In addition, of course, there are the intangibles, such as name recognition for authors, increased visibility for brands and fresh content - which equates to increased traffic and SEO benefits - for publishers.
If you know of any additional ideas for indirect monetization, please leave a comment below (or comment on either of the main articles referred to).