the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Expert’s Seal of Approval: Part 2


I received quite a number of emails after yesterday’s post about traditional standards vs. “open” blogging.   Many of you applaud the growing democratization of the media through blogging.  But others respect the editorial and quality control of the traditional media.   Even though I read blogs every day that are as interesting as anything I see in newspapers and magazines, it would be hypocritical of me to dismiss the traditional media because, well, THEY PAY.  

Some bloggers ONLY BLOG as a way to get INTO the traditional media.   I love blogging for blogging’s sake, but if someone offered me an interesting writing job, I would not say, “Oh, I’m sorry.  I’m too busy writing my blog.”

Countless online “experts” want to tell you how you can make money through blogging.  I’m here to tell you that I know as little as they do.  Some bloggers use advertising to cover some costs, but blog ads can’t pay the bills, except maybe for a few bloggers, one whose name I will not mention.  So, despite my ranting post yesterday, the truth is that the “Expert’s Seal of Approval” is important after all — especially if you’re a blogger who wants to be noticed.  I know I got into blogging just for the hot women, but I realize that some of you have higher ambitions.


A few weeks ago, I received an email inviting me to join Blogburst:

BlogBurst is a syndication service that places your blog content on top-tier online destinations. You get visibility, audience reach and increased traffic, while publishers get a wide range of new coverage to broaden their reach and increase page views.

How does it work?

Once you’re accepted into the BlogBurst network, just keep blogging as usual. Then, each time one of our publishers picks up your content, you’ll reach a whole new audience — and your byline link will drive traffic to your blog.

Their clients includes such big-wigs as the Washington Post and the Houston Chronicle.

I never actually applied to join, thinking that my conversations with my penis wasn’t really appropriate for the Style section of the Washington Post.  But I frequently read YOUR POSTS and say to myself, “This could be published.” 

Not always — let’s be honest. 

You’re not always at the top of your game, especially when you went out drinking the night before.  But sometimes.  Maybe it was a night of good sex or good pasta or good sleep, but whatever it was — it cleared your head and made you write a post that was incredibly insightful.

So, I throw this out to you if anyone wants to apply to this Blogburst.  I’m not exactly sure what their criteria is for approval or rejection.  This service is probably best for the blogger who writes about “issues,” and not the blogger who writes about her experience with her vibrator last night.

Two caveats: 

1)  I know very little about any of this.  Maybe, as she did with coComment last week, Supafine will try it first and report back.

2)  “BlogBurst charges publishers for this service. They do not share revenue with bloggers, although each post has a byline and attribution/link back to the blog. For most bloggers, this extra traffic and attention will be very welcome.” 

This means that you’re basically slave labor for Blogburst.  But at least you can tell your friends at your high school reunion that you “write” for the Washington Post.  Or it can help you make contacts.

What do you think?

There’s also another service called ScooptWords. 


 According to

ScooptWords is a new service that aims to sell your blog content to print media. Scottish startup Scoopt was one of the first agencies to sell cellphone photos to media companies (along with SpyMedia), so the expansion to blog content makes sense. The move puts them in competition with BlogBurst, Pluck’s blog syndication service. But while Blogburst doesn’t currently compensate users (they will eventually), ScooptWords is paying contributors 50% of the first sale and 75% of subsequent sales.

Anyone smarter than me willing to read the fine print?

There are other ways that bloggers are trying to get the attention of the mainstream media.  Many are now acting like “real” writers (poets and novelists) and reading their work to the public.  I’m not sure how often I want to hear a blogger reading about “what she had for breakfast,” but these blogger shows are becoming popular.  There is already a show in New York City where bloggers read their work.  I’m sure someone will soon start something similar in blog-popular cities such as Washington D.C., Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, etc. 


On Friday night, I’m going to see one of these shows in a Los Angeles theater – eight Los Angeles bloggers reading their favorite entries as a benefit for the Leukemia/Lymphoma Society.

• Paul Davidson
• AJ Gentile
• Carly Milne
• Shane Nickerson (who organized it)
• Annie Sertich
• Jessica Mae Stover
• Colleen Wainwright
• Wil Wheaton

I consider myself blogging-pals of the talented Pauly, Carly, and Colleen — and I’m excited to learn more about the others.    (note to Colleen:  please don’t talk about David Allen’s “Getting Things Done” the entire time!)

Friday, June 16th
7:30 PM
Improv Olympic
6366 Hollywood Boulevard
Hollywood, CA 90028

While reading your work to an audience sounds fun, there’s really only ONE sureshot way to make money from blogging.  Yes, I’m talking about World Blogger Championship of Online Poker.   (also via Nickerblog)


Because of Sophia’s obsession with Texas Hold-em, I’ve now watched countless hours of the pros playing on TV.   I expect to kick some serious blogger ass. 

A Year Ago in Citizen of the Month:  More Kids: Part 2


  1. The Retropolitan

    I think this calls for an open mic night when you’re here in New York. You can read some of your penis’ finest work in front of a live audience, and I can talk about Batman.

    They’ll love it.

  2. Neil

    Or we can talk about BOTH at the same time.

    And we can do it at Knish Nosh on Queens Blvd!

  3. The Retropolitan

    I’ll have to talk to my penis about this.

  4. justrun

    An entire show of people reading what they blogged? Wow. Hopefully you’ll give a report because I’m wondering (though some of those posts are damn good) if they’re even better outloud.

  5. Alison

    Give lil’ Wesley Crusher a kiss from me, k?

  6. Jenni

    I don’t see why the conversations with your penis shouldn’t be covered in the Style section of the Washington Post, just as much as my recent post about Loogies and Plaster should be covered.

    I mean, I would MUCH rather read about what your penis thinks about world issues than what, say, Pat Robertson has to say.

  7. Sarah

    Having been an active member in the poetry ‘scene’ that was converging with the popularity of poetry slams due to MTV showing them, I’ve sat through some truly horrendous open mic nights.
    Hearing you read from your blog would be far better than any of that shit.
    You quickly became one of my favorite bloggers after finding you. You are a genius!
    (Thanks for the blog crush today…better get a new post up ASAP).

  8. amanda

    that event sounds cool…enjoy.

  9. communicatrix

    Hey! I’m so glad you’re coming! (Ha ha…I said “coming”…)

    Thanks for the plug. I say who needs BloggityBurstScoop when you’ve got the Citizen of the Month on your side.

    See you Friday!

  10. Neil

    Communicatrix — I hope your material is better than that old “coming” gag.

    Sarah — Uh 0h, do I see “Blog Slams” on MTV in 2007?

    Jenni — I don’t think anyone has ever complimented my penis better than you have.

    Alison — In a million years, I wouldn’t have pegged you as a Star Trek geek.

  11. Tanya

    I’ve been to blogger readings in NYC. Inevitably, these people are already paid to write elsewhere about more mundane things, but blog about their genitals, etc. Like me.

    Blogshare sounds good. The other one, not so much.

  12. Dagny

    It would be easier to comment if I could just get that picture of Wil Wheaton out of my head.

    Oh, and I’ve found it’s easier to write a post about your drunken evening if you actually write a draft of it before drinking. Yep, that’s how predictable life is for me that I can foresee what an evening will be like.

  13. rachh

    Selling my blog just wouldn’t work, no discussion about vibrators, cheap gay porn or my catastrophes.
    Although I would love to hear the best and funniest of the blogworld.
    Fun blogging rocks!

  14. Rabbit

    I would LOVE to go to a blog reading. Maybe that’s just because I know what a hyper-animated character I am when I tell the stories I write, so I assume everyone is that entertaining to watch in person.

  15. tiff

    All this is much too much for this old woman. Geez, I write a blog just so I can keep my cool in the everyday world. Marketing, reading outloud, advertising = work. Let the young kids do all that.

    Now where are my teeth?

  16. The Retropolitan

    I blog because I’m no good at telling stories in person. In fact, I’m downright terrible at it. Like the anti-Jean Shepherd.

  17. Dan

    Again, just another way for the world to rub it in my face that I named my blog “The Daily Dump.” I’m going to go out on a limb and say that I’m not getting any kind of Seal of Approval any time soon.

  18. Neil

    Message on my answering machine from Sophia:

    “Stop writing about blogging. It’s getting boring.”

  19. The Retropolitan

    Must be nice to have an actual, living editor. The only one I have is my guilty conscience.

  20. V-Grrrl

    Why should the Washington Post get all snobby about your penis when they covered the adventures of Bill Clinton’s endlessly? And with Bush and Dick in the White House trying to ban gay marriage, the penis viewpoint is very much in demand.

  21. V-Grrrl

    OMG–I just thought of penis political commentary giving new meaning to the phrase Talking Heads.

  22. Phantom Scribbler

    There was a discussion of the pros and cons of BlogBurst here last month.

  23. Neil

    Phantom — Thank you for adding this important link. Here’s a brief excerpt via Bitch, Ph.D.:

    “BlogBurst is taking advantage of bloggers who’re so eager to get their names out there — and, often, unnecessarily uncertain of the worth of their writing — that they’ll hand over a lifetime license to their work for nothing.

    This pisses me off. If your writing is good enough for a major daily or chain to want to put it on their website, it’s good enough that they’ll pay you for it rather than BlogBurst. (I speak from experience here, having parlayed a cold call to my local paper’s Home and Garden section editor into a brief and ridiculously underpaid, and yet still paid, nationally syndicated garden column a few years back.)

    No writer should ever sign a contract like the one BlogBurst offers unless they’re being paid. I don’t care how uncertain you are of your writing, how nervous you are about asking for money. Don’t do it.”

  24. bella

    “not the blogger who writes about her experience with her vibrator last night.” ??? What – are you referencing me??? (Mild amusement/shock)

  25. supa

    Ah! Phantom Scribbler, you have set my mind at ease. I have postponed commenting all day, racking my brain to remember where I’d read that. Thanks.

    So that’s all I’ve got for ya, neil. That, and I’m not a fan of anybody who forces me to ask for an invitation, as Blogburst does. I have enough of an inferiority complex as it is.

  26. Neil

    Bella — I’ve learned 95% of everything I know about vibrators from reading blogs.

  27. Dustin

    Bloggers playing poker. Whats the top prize, a date with Dooce?

  28. Peggy Archer

    I got one of those emails from yet another company – I can’t remember the name as I deleted the email after rolling my eyes.

    The selling point was that the users could pay to read my blog via this feed. My initial thought was that folks can type in my URL and read my blog for free, so I’m not sure who their market is – people who like to pay for free stuff?

  29. Peggy Archer

    I’ll second the BlogBurst hating – the contract is dismal. ScooptWords is a little better, but they’re basically acting as an agency and taking a commision for all moneys paid to the blogger (50% of the first sale, 25% of all sales after that – most agents only take 10 or 15%), so I might have to call bullshit on that one, too.

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