May 4, 2007

Blog reader survey.

Please take this survey!

ADDED: Some people are balking at answering all the questions, but doing so will produce some nice graphs, which you'll be able to see next week, showing things about the readers who do the survey starting from here. And it will help sell more ads which will create income flow to bloggers. I think that's a good thing. It's free to read, and I love having readers, but ads should support bloggers. Obviously, I have a good income as a law professor, and I'm happy for that, but writing should produce income. Not all of us writers have a separate income stream, and who knows? Maybe some lawprofs would thrive as full-time writers if you gave us the chance.

52 comments:

bill said...

No. But thanks for asking.

Roger said...

Looked thru it, but the authors of that survey do NOT understand the concept of "respondent burden."

Simon said...

Where do I begin "writ[ing] a testimonial for the blog that sent you here"? ;)

paul a'barge said...

Nope. And no thanks for asking.

None of the questions I saw had anything to do with blogging, and the questions on the first page were demographically insulting.

What do my race, income, and religious practices have to do with blog reading? Who are the consumers of this kind of data? Who is buying this data?

Walk away, everyone.

bill said...

For Paul, from the FAQ:

Who is behind the Blog Reader Project?
Any blog can contribute readers to the project. The project is funded and organized by Blogads.com, which is based in Carrboro, NC and represents 1300 leading American blogs.


They want reader demographics to sell more ads. Perfectly understandable. But rather than waste time making up answers I'll let someone else have my spot. When asked, I'm usually a 99-year old woman living in Antarctica.

Galvanized said...

Yep, libertarians definitely frequent this blog. Smart experiment, Ms. Althouse! ;)

Ann Althouse said...

I took the survey myself... and didn't feel insulted.

Getting the demographics helps sell ads. Do you have a problem with bloggers having a way to earn money through our writing?

AJD said...

The questions are invasive and irrevelant. But I almost answered just to provide my description of this blog.

Is the law professor salary too low for you, Ms. Althouse?

Greed begets greed.

Roger said...

Ann--I certainly dont object to your blogging being a profitable enterprise; my only point was that it was too long and forced some answers which violates the old idea of reducing "espondent burden"hen you survey the public.

Oligonicella said...

Make all the money you can, Ann. It's capitalism.

I just don't want to help advertisers. It's none of their business who I am or what I like. I read blogs for the bloggers, not the ads.

As I taught my daughter when we would watch commercials, "Always try to figure out how they're trying to hook you. There's always a lie buried in there somewhere. They only want your money."

Simon said...

Ann, you got a glowing testimonial. ;)

Some of the questions were kind of silly, a few presented the usual false dilemmas (should file sharing be "strongly punished," "ignored" or "encouraged"? How about "none of the above"?), but I think it takes a lack of perspective to feel "insulted" by being asked for your preferred brand of bourbon, still less by the length of a survey you can quit at any time (although I do share the irritation at surveys that give you no feedback as to how much further you have to go).

Peter Palladas said...

Mamma always taught me never to accept cookies from strangers.

Galvanized said...

Sorry, I didn't mean to offend. I thought it was an experiment. :) I have no problem at all with bloggers earning money. I just hate advertising and wish we bloggers could subsist on donations, that's all. But I'm sure that I'll eventually resort to the necessary evil of ads, as well.

Ann Althouse said...

Hey, I said "please."

Galvanized said...

Peter Palladas said...
Mamma always taught me never to accept cookies from strangers.


That's the best quote I've heard in a long time. Bahaha!

Galvanized said...

Is the question about reciprocity, whether a reader owes the blogger anything? I say PayPal donations are the way to go. :)

Still a gracious "no, thank you" (with a smile).

And, as a note, I greatly enjoy reading your blog.

Radish said...

The survey authors spelled "Miller Lite" wrong. Guess you won't be running banner ads from the "just say no to beer with GHT" campaign. ;)

Smilin' Jack said...

Ann Althouse said...
Do you have a problem with bloggers having a way to earn money through our writing?


Not at all...and I assume you don't have a problem with me earning money through mine. So, I'll take the survey when you pay me to.

Dave F said...

The survey lost me when it started asking about cars. What the hell are those?

Internet Ronin said...

Oh gee, it was so hard and invasive? Hmmm. Let's see: the survey was anonymous. IIRC, slavery in America was abolished in 1863, so no one was forced to complete it. Some people will complain about anything, I guess.

reader_iam said...

Welp, I tried to honor this request (as I have previously--was that a year ago, already?). Unfortunately, before I could get two questions in, the hotel wifi crapped out. When I came back to it, it told me I'd already participated and that, if I had cookies enabled (which I happened to, at the time), my answers to all questions would be automatically used for the survey elsewhere, at other blogs.

Thus, I guess my conscience is free and clear--with less than a minute's commitment of time and quite unintentionally--not just here, but everywhere, it appears.

Serendipity, I suppose.

Ann Althouse said...

Well, thanks to everyone, even for just trying. I'm not expecting anyone to give $ to me via PayPal. You're right: I have a good salary. I thank God every day for that bit of life-luck. But writers deserve to be paid for writing. This isn't just about me, but all bloggers. It would be nice -- and advertisers want to fork over large sums -- if bloggers could sell ads. I have so much respect for the BlogAds enterprise, and not just because I like extra income. I think people who write and attract readers should sell ads. So if you like reading blogs, please do the survey. Help support the blogosphere. Don't be so grumpy! I thought it was fun to identify the vodka I like and so forth.

Patrick said...

Loved the alcohol questions myself too. Realized there are some old friends I need to invite home again.

They also spelled "pentecostal" wrong in the religion question. Though with all the alcohol questions I'm thinking that's not exactly their demographic of interest.

Internet Ronin said...

You're right: I have a good salary. I thank God every day for that bit of life-luck.

Contrary to the apparent widespread belief that the success of others is largely due to luck, I believe it usually has very little to do with someone's success and that you are no exception: whatever "luck" you encountered along the way was largely self-created and due to your own efforts.

But writers deserve to be paid for writing. This isn't just about me, but all bloggers.

True. No offense, although I will probably never hit your "tip jar," I have contributed a few to those bloggers whose prose I enjoy and who do not appear to receive substantial income from elsewhere.

It would be nice -- and advertisers want to fork over large sums -- if bloggers could sell ads. I have so much respect for the BlogAds enterprise, and not just because I like extra income.

Yes, I do, too. Especially because they have stuck to their knitting, have served their customers well, and have not tried to become some sort of corporatized citizen's media organization. I'm not convinced that surveys answered by self-selected respondents are very persuasive, however.

Help support the blogosphere. Don't be so grumpy!

Good luck with that!

I thought it was fun to identify the vodka I like and so forth.

Hey! Wait a minute! No one asked me what I drank. I feel left out.

Oligonicella said...

We have a disagreement here, Ann.

I write and have things published on the net. Sometimes on other's blogs and sometimes on informational sites. The site I contribute most to has no ads whatsoever.

I have not asked for any money because the writing I commit to the 'billboard of the world' is done because I like to. Some of this is trivial, but some is very in depth and yet more requires analysis and coding time to go with it.

We just disagree. Writing is not an automatic pay check, you need to inspire a paying audience.

Ann Althouse said...

Oli: It's not a matter of inspiring a paying audience. It's about advertising as a way to pay for the content. It's the way of the web.

peter hoh said...

The location question stumped me. I live in St. Paul, the biggest small town in America. Technically, it is urban, but when I look out the door, it looks like a small town. Growing up in New Jersey, where cities were cities and towns were towns, I just don't know how to make sense of my Minnesota home.

PatCA said...

I would take it, but every time I take an online survey, I get ads and whatnot dumped on my computer.

(Note to advertisers: Anyone who would consider buying Netflix already has it!)

Galvanized said...

There is certainly considerable time put into many a blog, and it should be a source of income when there are enough hits and regular readers. There are many spouses who, upon witnessing the number of hours per week, say, put into writing and managing a blog, remark to the other spouse, "Hey, if you're spending THAT much time on that thing, then you better find a way to make money doing it." LOL I know this firsthand. And SOME of us unwittingly opened our blog on the only one that doesn't allow advertising, so that decision is already made for now. I guess that, if the ads are nondisruptive, non-suggestive, silent and, for God's sake, still (non-animated), then they're really not so bad. (See, now my conscience is bothering me for being so beligerent earlier in refusing the survey.)

Torn ligament said...

'Do you have a problem with bloggers having a way to earn money through our writing?'

Not at all. However, with all due respect, a great many of the posts on this blog are links to news articles or op ed pieces written by others. Frequently these links are posted with minimal writing from you and without any inkling of your own opinion, often appearing to be posted solely to generate a flame war.

Rarely giving your take on a situation is understandable in that your blog is not anonymous and given your profession, disclosing only general and somewhat ambiguous thoughts is probably prudent.
Nonetheless, I do wish you would occassionally comment on some of the interesting politically legal issues of the day such as the AG's future and his appearance before the committee and the events leading up to it.

There are a ton of opinions out there on various blogs but I personally find they are written with such extreme emotion depending on the writer's politics as to be less than credible. How about it?

reader_iam said...

I did TRY to get back into the survey, Althouse. It wouldn't let me. Really, I wasn't trying to be that flip.

Freeman Hunt said...

I read this blog everyday. How much free content is that? Quite a bit, and so I don't mind taking a little survey.

Revenant said...

Getting the demographics helps sell ads. Do you have a problem with bloggers having a way to earn money through our writing?

No, but if I'm going to give my personal information to someone who plans to use that information to make money, I want my cut.

Freeman Hunt said...

Haven't we already received our "cut" in the form of blog content? At this point, isn't it more the turn of the blogger to get her cut by selling ads based on our demographics?

dave™© said...

Maybe some lawprofs would thrive as full-time writers if you gave us the chance.

Since you are absolutely, positively 100% incompetent at both, I think I'll pass.

Ann Althouse said...

Ronin: "Contrary to the apparent widespread belief that the success of others is largely due to luck, I believe it usually has very little to do with someone's success and that you are no exception: whatever "luck" you encountered along the way was largely self-created and due to your own efforts."

It was luck to be born where and when I was with the body and mind I got, with the parents I got. Some of this was an advantage and some a disadvantage. Yeah, I had to do some work, but I also made mistakes and failed to work and failed to take precautions on many occasions. That I ended up with tenure and the income I have is lucky, considering everything. I didn't even get the idea of trying to be economically successful until I was 27.

LutherM said...

Ann,
You have a great job as a Professor, and you also write.
You might have been a Physician and might have written something similar to:
This Is Just to Say
by William Carlos Williams

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
saving
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

Or you might have been a lawyer who worked for the Equitable Life Insurance Company and might have written something similar to:
The Emperor of Ice-Cream
by Wallace Stevens

Call the roller of big cigars,
The muscular one, and bid him whip
In kitchen cups concupiscent curds.
Let the wenches dawdle in such dress
As they are used to wear, and let the boys
Bring flowers in last month's newspapers.
Let be be finale of seem.
The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

Take from the dresser of deal,
Lacking the three glass knobs, the sheet
On which she embroidered fantails once
And spread it so as to cover her face.
If her horny feet protrude, they come
To show how cold she is, and dumb.
Let the lamp affix its beam.
The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

I don't think they were paid well for their writing. That may be a reason that their writing was so good. I hope you will be paid well for writing, if that's what you want.

bearing said...

I did it, but only because it was Ann, and she asked nicely.

bearing said...

Geez, reading through some of the comments above, I wonder why y'all waste your time coming here.

rsb said...

I like coming here but I find it odd that there is a Paypal donation box here. Why should I contribute money to someone who pays 400 dollars for a scarf? Ann is a good writer but if she wants money for it she should write a book.

George said...

"Maybe some lawprofs would thrive as full-time writers if you gave us the chance."

Professor, you are already thriving as a writer. Your blog is widely read and influential. Your columns have appeared in the New York Times. You could undoubtedly place pieces in other leading publications, if you wished. I'm sure you could also find a top literary agent, too, and write a book. However, I think you be frustrated by nitwit editors, bored by the slow pace, and financially underwhelmed by what you would encounter in the world of print media.

You have an intellectually-satisfying tenured position, probably one that has incredible health and retirement benefits. Be grateful. Very grateful. You are already luckier than 99.9% of other working Americans, especially writers, most of whom are self-employed.

You've got an incredibly good gig...It's like you're the host of a radio show in 1922. Push the new medium forward. Contact Oprah...see if she wants to be on YOUR bloggingheads show. Be bold.

Zeb Quinn said...

Do what I do. Take the survey, and do it with a smile on your face and a song in your heart. Enjoy yourself. Lie, lie, lie. As you lie, don't give answers that are predictably 180 degrees out of phase. That pattern might be discerned. Instead give answers that are randomly anywhere from 45 to 275 degrees out of phase. Seek to confound and to thoroughly rubbish the study. And like I say, do it with a smile on your face and a song in your heart. Enjoy yourself. You are doing The Deity's work.

bearing said...

Since when is deliberately and needlessly (since nobody's forcing you to click through to the survey) telling falsehoods the work of God?

I can't believe some of the petty, bizarrely defensive self-righteousness I'm reading here. If you don't want to take a survey don't take it. B. F. D.

Zeb Quinn said...

Since when is deliberately and needlessly (since nobody's forcing you to click through to the survey) telling falsehoods the work of God?

Because it IS NOT simply about opinion sampling. Its true and ultimate objective is opinion shaping. It is evil.

Oligonicella said...

"Oli: It's not a matter of inspiring a paying audience. It's about advertising as a way to pay for the content. It's the way of the web."

Says who? Dinocrat? Terra-Typica? They certainly input as much work and thought into their content as yourself.

There are blogs out there that wouldn't be worth the price of a single sheet of toilet paper. But they write content and so should be paid, right?

Plenty of sites don't advertise. You do. Fine, it's your choice and right. It's also my choice and right to cruise around looking at information as I please. It is being put up on public display, you know.

"Maybe some lawprofs would thrive as full-time writers if you gave us the chance."

There's a way to go about that. Visit full-time writer Scalzi's blog (search for ads there) and bone up on how full-time writers get in the business.

vet66 said...

I answered all the questions and happily wrote a glowing report regarding Professor Althouse and her blogsite.

Interesting that so many here enjoy sanitizing themselves by remaining at arm's length from nasty capitalistic advertisers. Do you folks think this sort of activity comes cheap in time or capital? Even in the town square, some schmuck has to mow the lawn around the town crier. Or in your world does he do it free for love of humanity? I forgot Tyra Banks cleaning rest rooms but she was acting under a court order.

I suspect that a majority of naysayers on this blog simply don't want to take a hard look at their proclivities. Introspection requires personal appraisal and accountability.

As far as advertisers are concerned, sign-up for the do not call list and get a good firewall. It is empowering to delete files from the spam list.

More power to you Ann!

Ann Althouse said...

"Why should I contribute money to someone who pays 400 dollars for a scarf?"

Aw, come on, it was 2 scarves.

As for the PayPal button, I don't do posts asking for people to hit it. It is very rarely used. But some of my readers are even richer than I am, and if they feel burdened by their extra money and enjoy reading my blog, I want it to be easy to see what they can do.

George's comment is very astute: "'Maybe some lawprofs would thrive as full-time writers if you gave us the chance.' Professor, you are already thriving as a writer. Your blog is widely read and influential. Your columns have appeared in the New York Times. You could undoubtedly place pieces in other leading publications, if you wished. I'm sure you could also find a top literary agent, too, and write a book. However, I think you be frustrated by nitwit editors, bored by the slow pace, and financially underwhelmed by what you would encounter in the world of print media. You have an intellectually-satisfying tenured position, probably one that has incredible health and retirement benefits. Be grateful. Very grateful. You are already luckier than 99.9% of other working Americans, especially writers, most of whom are self-employed. You've got an incredibly good gig...It's like you're the host of a radio show in 1922. Push the new medium forward. Contact Oprah...see if she wants to be on YOUR bloggingheads show. Be bold."

I probably will work on a book proposal over the summer, and I do get approached by top literary agents. You're right that this new medium is important to me in a way that fits with my desires and abilities. And, you're right, I have great benefits, including a vested retirement plan that I could live on right now if I wanted to go without a job. This does make the question of where to put my writing efforts different from what it is for a lot of bloggers. I love blogging.

I care about the viability of the advertising model. I want this to be the way to write and be self-supporting. My personal interest in that is not as pressing as it is for a lot of other people, but I care about the whole BlogAds enterprise, not just myself.

Balfegor said...

On the advertising -- I can pretty much guarantee that I am not the target market for the stuff the survey was asking about (airlines, hotels, wine, beer, scotch, whiskey, sherry, gin, rum, port, tequila, etc.). Obviously I care about all these things (the liquor less so), but when I select a hotel and an airline, I'm usually constrained mostly by schedule and location. For my private travel, I'm sensitive to the fact that, e.g. I hate United with an unholy passion, but most of my flights are for business, and I usually don't have enough flexibility in scheduling to choose between alternative carriers.

Consumer electronics, I might look at, based on ads. Maybe cellphones? Advertisements for novels, perhaps? I buy lots of books over the internet, both fiction and nonfiction. And a fair amount of music. But these generally aren't through ads, so much as because someone mentions them or reviews them. The people over at Marginal Revolution, for example, are always pointing out interesting things.

Honestly, in some ways, I'm just not sure how ads for products are supposed to work. Mostly I ignore them. I don't think I've ever been matched up with an ad where I looked at it, and thought it advertised a product I might like to buy. Is it just consciousness raising?

rsb said...

I guess I can not blame you for having a Pay Pal Button - why not see what happens.

lurker2209 said...

I like surveys. My little sister e-mails me the 'Which Harry Potter character are you?'-type ones. The do you floss question was so completely radom and unrelated to the others before and after it. That was funny.

But the alcohol part was anoying. I'll occasionally drink a glass of wine at a dinner party or go to a bar with friends and order a cranberry vodka, but I don't pay any attention at all to brands. But if you responded that you drank a type of alcohol occasionally, you had to indicate preferences.

Smilin' Jack said...

It's about advertising as a way to pay for the content. It's the way of the web.

It's also the way of broadcast TV. You're not one of those naughty people who Tivo through the commercials on American Idol, are you? The networks regard that as stealing.

Bryan said...

They asked about wine, but only listed "red" and "white". Plum wine and sake don't fit in those categories! How narrow-sighted of them.