Why you won’t make money writing online

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Why you won't make money writing online

The recent Storyology conference held by the Walkley Foundation in Sydney last week contained unexpected gems of wisdom.

Unexpected because the media industry is in much worse shape than I thought.

Nobody is making money online — not the average middle class professional anyway. With the exception of companies like Google, Facebook, and Amazon — and a few technology, food and mommy bloggers — the internet is a money desert.

Sure, you might get offered fifty dollars for an article but it’s more likely you’ll be drip fed advertising copy or the occasional, hopefully syndicated, freelance piece.

While most of us are aware that newspaper revenue has been in sharp decline for years, there was an expectation that online content would provide an income.

This, it turns out, is a myth.

Even successful sites are often surviving through reader donations on platforms like Patreon.

Ali Cromie, formidable warrior woman and former investigative journalist, swept into Day Three of the conference like a tsunami with a sledgehammer. She questioned the male presenters on stage — all self-proclaimed successful “journopreneurs” — about their income from online business.

“How much money do you make?”

None of the journopreneurs would answer.  She asked again and they squirmed in their chairs. Finally, two conceded that they earned nothing at all and were unsure if their sites would survive another year.

Ali left a journalism career over 10 years ago to become a financial consultant. She cut through the hype surrounding monetizing content to reveal successful ‘journoprenuers’ are merely inflated egos.

Who is making money online?

The telecommunication companies who supply broadband connections, modems, and related products are reaping fortunes from us all as we delude ourselves thinking our websites will make money one day.

So if you are looking to make a fortune writing online content it might be time to rethink your options.


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Sue Bell

Sue Bell is an entertainment writer and author of Backpacked: A mostly true story, Beat Street and When Dreamworks came to Stanley.

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