Problogger: Hate or Love the Title…

It doesn’t matter.

Ia Lucero’s post on the Perils of Problogging is an interesting read for users, who more or less look to earn money from their blogs. The post has also been picked up by a couple of other blogs, most notably by The Blog Herald.

In the post, Ia raises a lot of points, ranging from bad site monetization choices to blogs being given a bad name by the numerous unoriginal “money mills” out there. My attention was piqued by one line she wrote (emphasis added):

With the abundance of article sites out there, amateur probloggers (what a paradoxical term!) think they can get away with posting unoriginal content, an especially attractive tactic since minimal effort is required.

Hmm, “amateur probloggers”? Does that pertain to Z-listers earning mere Adsense cents a week, or part-time probloggers? Heck, what makes a problogger in the first place?

Darren Rowse has a guest post by David Wilkinson about it, and so does Michael who talks about it in a country context. For me…

I don’t really care. If someone blogs and makes money from it, whatever the method or ethics, then he can trumpet to the world that he is a problogger. I’m hoping he doesn’t give the ‘job title’ a bad name by filling his site with content o’ junk and loads of poorly placed ads, but really, that’s out of our control. Why, how many people regard lawyers and salesmen with suspicion? (Not to offend our lawyer and salesmen friends out there.) For every profession, there’s somebody out there who thinks it’s make-believe or a joke. We’ve got to live with that.

I believe the best way to approach the word “problogger” is with guarded recognition, especially during the blogging industry’s formative years. It’s a title that is secondary. Because before you blog, you might be already a freelance writer, journalist, corporate executive, web designer, comic artist, and so on. I guess this is why many people – even those who already earn substantial amounts from their blogs – go “Huh?” when given the word “problogging”. They see blogging as just a supplement to their incomes and an extension of their main jobs. This POV in turn conflicts with full-time bloggers who eat, breathe, and live by their blog earnings.

Now, I’m really interested in hearing your feedback on this one: Do you call yourself a problogger? Do you get weird reactions from friends and relatives when you tell them you are one? And what alternative job titles do you use or suggest your problogging comrades use?

Me: I call myself a problogger; it’s proudly displayed on my tech blog’s sidebar. Yes, I’ve gotten dozens of “Whaa?” faces, especially from those who own only LiveJournals and other diary-type blogs. More recently, when somebody asks me what I do for a living, I simply say, “Writer”. (Many think it’s too generic, but I believe it’s just one of the most elegant titles in the world.) And if the person who asks me looks like a Net user, I chip in, “Website owner” or “Webmaster”.

How about you, guys?

12 thoughts on “Problogger: Hate or Love the Title…

  1. Nice post, Phillip. You’re completely right in what you say about the term ProBlogger being cast around far too often though. I’m not even totally sure if I’m a ProBlogger or not. Heck, go figure. 😉

    Anyhow, you’ve already linked to my two cents. Thanks for that!

  2. Brett, that’s odd — that’s what I do when putting up new sites, too! Looks like our mindsets overlap in many ways. For me there’s no problem of putting Adsense ads right away. Of course I can spend the next weeks tinkering with the placements, but I’d like to have the ads there at the start, so I can concentrate with writing and further SEO.

    The only ads I add some time later would be TLA ones; for those, I wait for the PR and Alexa traffic rank to mature first 😉

  3. That’s about the best way to put it.

    Thanks for the compliment on ad placement at Book of Medicine. I liked it too, but the site there is one of those long term hobby types of sites. I think it will be interesting for a few people someday, and I prefer to just put the ads up and get it over with when I start on a site. I respect the opinions of those that say you should wait, but I would prefer to get as much done for the long term up front and move on with the fun part -> writing. ……. Maybe I should add hack to the list of titles too!

  4. @Vanessay, true. A person who loves what he’s doing will continue to do it regardless of other people’s impressions and the label his actions get.

    @J Angelo, I think I was on the receiving end of that line, at one time or another, haha!

    @Sofimi, “fitting square pegs into round holes”, I guess that about sums it up. Which leads me to think, isn’t generalization a form of convenience for the multitudes? ‘Problogger’ is a convenient term that encompasses a lot of different kinds of people, with maybe the only similarity being that they earn money from their blogs.

  5. That’s exactly why I don’t like lawyers, or don’t dream of becoming one even when my elementary art teacher tried to “predict” it.

    I’m hardly a problogger, whether “pro” means expert blogger or paid blogger. I do more things than write-on-a-blog. It’s like saying “she’s a logo designer” when I’ve actually done more web designs than printed graphics. A bit insulting and a bit telling that the person who described me does not know much about me in the first place.

    Titles are all about fitting square pegs into round holes. I don’t like being generalized, even if I’ve generalized about lawyers all my life. Won’t you rather be known for your *real name* than for your job title slash description?

  6. for some people, especially the avid writers, I guess whatever they would be called wont matter. Problogger is a new buzz word to boot, but unless it is given emphasis, working titles are minor for most people who just want to what they love doing most.

  7. Thanks for the input, Brett. Consultant and internet marketer are two titles I haven’t thought of using. Got a dear friend who prefers to be called a “new media publisher”, too 😉

    Would you also think that many high earning bloggers are also some of the least skilled bloggers (e.g. in terms of original content, site layout, etc.)? I guess no profession can escape that relationship between compensation and results.

    Btw, just dropped by your Book of Medicine blog — loved the ad placements. The new look for Google ads suits the WP theme perfectly.

  8. Gotcha, Darren. Thanks for the heads-up, and apologies for the oversight. I’ve updated that part now.

  9. I consider myself a problogger and depending on who I am talking with and their knowledge or lack there of regarding the blogosphere I will use that title, along with writer, freelance writer, consultant or internet marketer or advertiser as well.

    Blogging is a big part of what I do, but its not the only thing I do and this probably causes variations in my answer more than what I think about the profession of blogging.

    I think your analogy about attorneys and salesmen is a very good one. I know many attorneys and salesmen. Some make less than bloggers at payperpost and some make $1,000 per hour or even more. The point is there is a wide spectrum of skill or lack there of, compensation and results. Truth be told some of the highest paid salesmen that I have met were also the least effective (and they have been holding jobs at a certain fortune 500 company that I used to work for for many years. In fact, in one year I sold more than most of the team on the sales force, working as an accountant trying to clean up the inventory accounts of what they didn’t sell. I was an accountant, but also for a while a salesperson and a god one at that.

  10. quick clarification – I didn’t actually write the post you said I did – it was a guest post (as per the first sentence – written by David Wilkinson.

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