Future of Blogging as a Profession in Pakistan
Blogging is a way to express one’s thought. it is probably the best thing happened to human society since the invention of printing press. Blogging takes many forms.
It can be as simple as twitter account, tweeting micro blogs. It can be a facebook update. It can be a free blog on wordpress, blogger or even tumblr. It can be as complex as having your own domain and hosting with a Content Management System.
Some take it even further and have a whole network of websites and blogs. (some folks also include mass SMS as a form of blogging) Whatever form a blog may have, Its basic idea is simple. It is to communicate what is happening around us and our opinion and feelings about it.
Blogging was seen as political/economic threat
Blogging , when it starts reporting on current issues, steps on toes of some existing institutions and professions. These institutions (media houses, newspapers, information cells of governments) enjoyed either a monopoly or some degree of control over the information and its presentation to masses. With introduction of Blogging in equation, they no longer enjoy same degree of control over their most important commodity. Information!
Suddenly, the playing field is level again. Authorities are becoming more insecure each day as they lose ability to hide things and suppress the voices of decent. Experienced journalists found themselves competing with wannabe , part time journalists like me. They are using every mean possible to discourage bloggers and maintain their monopoly over information, which at the end of the day will be a futile effort.
Remember Printing Press. Law says, you still need a license to install a printing machine. By Legal definitional, that printer on your desk is also a printing machine. no one cares anymore. this will be the case with blogs as well. Sooner or later everyone realize that you can not fight and idea but with and idea.
Types of Professional Blogging
The basic test of a professionalism in a profession is Money. If you do something for love of it, its a Hobby. But if your livelihood depends on something, its your profession. Most Institutions are having a blog or two. BBC has many, Jang has one. Companies have blogs too. These companies and institutions are now hiring people to blog on their behalf. This is one example of professional blogging where one is hired to blog on the behalf of a company and get paid for it.
In my humble opinion, we see following kind of Professional Bloggers in Pakistan. I am making a list on the fly there is no particular order to this list.
- Professional Bloggers On Salary( Few Lucky… )
- Content Writers Working on ODesk like site Or Local Software Houses(Most Educated /Exploited of the Lot)
- Adsense Publishers / Re-Bloggers (Your average boy next door)
- Affiliate Marketing Professionals(people with 3000+ friends on facebook)
- Local / Current Affair Bloggers (People with a Unique Idea)
Who is making most Money?
As per my estimates, Adsense Publishers / Re-Bloggers ( People who have one or two blogs with adsense on them) are making most of the money in Pakistan. individually, they might be earning 10,000 Rs to 50,000 Rs per month but it is a huge number. Let me give you an example of Haroon Abad. It is a small city on the brink of cholistan desert in southern Punjab. About 5 hours drive from Lahore. According to its post office, every month 100-150 guys get Western Union Payments from Google. payment range is small 8000 – 25000 Rs each but the number of people is quite astonishing.
Most of these people like to be anonymous. They sit at home, hunt viral content on internet and then either re-write it themselves or get it re-written by someone else for 50 -100 Rs per 500 word article. Then they reblog it on their websites and spam the hell out of it on social media sites.
There are some rag to riches stories among these people. People who make millions. But the word never gets out. They don’t want to draw attention. These guys never disclose address of their website :). They live in constant fear of Panda Updates and SERP rank drop. They spend days after days, devising strategies to bring more traffic and find high paying keywords.
Some may argue that these are not bloggers. These people don’t contribute anything to society or internet. They just get what’s on internet already and Chew it and spit it back on internet. In the process they make some money for themselves and for Google too.
But so what if they do so, who cares. In a country like us, where there is no electricity and internet is a luxury, these guys are making a couple of dollars each day for their families. They are also bringing in foreign exchange. I think they are real heroes. My Hat’s off the them.
PS: Google’s recent crackdown on such spamlogs reduced their numbers considerably but they are really survivors. Most of them have recovered with new sites and accounts. :)
Who is Best and what Future Holds
In my humble opinion, Local / current affair bloggers are the best of the lot. These people are blogging out of passion and have made it a profession. When the history of internet will be written, their names will be at top of the list.
They are not making much money but they are making some. some of them are even making enough to make a living out of it. The Future is Them. They hold the eye balls of a majority of internet users in pakistan and as the internet usage grows , so will their Incomes. Only thing, that is holding these people down is absence of online economy in Pakistan. People who browse websites don’t buy stuff online. Not because they don’t want to or do not have purchasing power. Reason is as simple as 1,2, 3.
- they don’t have credit card or method of payment
- there is no recourse in case of fraud by a merchant.
- Due to high merchant fees, it is too expensive to shop online.
The future is only bright for local bloggers when local businesses want to advertise through your blog. I don’t mean just a few MNC or cell companies spending few hundred thousands to get brand exposure. I mean when people start to buy groceries online. Then whoever holds the most traffic locally will get most advertising revenue. It will be a billion dollars advertising revenue that has to be divided among local blogs. but that , i don’t see happening in next 5- 10 years. There are some basic hurdles that can be removed by simple measures. I will discus this in detail in my next post , Inshallah.
Why I wrote this Blog Posts?
Minutes ago, i was having a discussion on future of blogging in context of pakistan. We were chatting on facebook . As we all know, chat on facebook is not a very good medium to have a serious debate. So, while looking for a medium to express my opinion , I realized , i have an account on Lahore Metblogs. Also, i noted that there has not been any activity here since January. so, this post is just an ice breaker and call to all my fellows on lahore metblogs to take some time out of thier ever busy lives and post something here. it can be anything, a photo, a thought, a comment. just anything to let us know that you are still there..