I know I just linked to a bunch of Marco's work, but yesterday's announcement will send a small shockwave through the online world:
The cost of saving my sponsorships is too high for my tolerance and the nature of this site, so I’ve decided to stop selling them.
Regardless of money, I’ll continue writing this site for the same reasons, and at the same frequency, that I always have: I love writing, and I must write. This is a creative outlet first and a business second.
In some weird, geeky way, writers like John, Jim, Jason, Shawn and Marco are role models. They changed the way people view online writing and have created an avenue for self-publishers to shine. Each niche has its own highly influential persona and every aspiring self-publisher looks up to the most popular person in their field. Anything those influencers say or do has an impact on the rest of the field.
With that said, if Marco can't make a standardized revenue stream work, what does that say for the rest of the tech-publishing field? Looking at his specific situation — and I say this knowing very little — there are definitely other revenue streams that can keep Marco.org viable.
But what precedent does this set?
As The Newsprint continues to grow, I have envisioned ways in which sponsorships could become part of a miniscule revenue plan. I have done some math and tried to determine what prices I could theoretically charge. And I began researching other publisher methods to deliver sponsorships.
Now I'll reconsider. Just like every advertiser will be reconsidering their sponsorship dollars.
Maybe Marco.org click-through numbers are random and he doesn't represent a larger trend. But I'd be willing to bet this is true beyond the scope of Marco.org.
I hope I'm dreadfully wrong.