A while ago, highly respected blogger jaybarkerfan posted a mess of relics for a buck each (plus $2 flat shipping). Me and Junior Junkie called dibs on a few, but that was all the action he got.
It kinda seems like trying to make money off your card blog is taboo. I know the few times I've broached the subject of selling cards on Baseball Card Breakdown, I've been met with the deafening sound of crickets. In a perfect world, we'd all buy cards from each other once in a while and help fund our card buying habits with the proceeds. But I suppose the grim reality is there aren't a ton of blog readers out there, and if you seriously want to sell a card at a fair market price, you have to suck up the fees that come with eBay or COMC.
I like helping my fellow bloggers when I can, and in addition to shooting $5 jaybarkerfan's way, I've also gone out and won an eBay auction or two from Judson at My Cardboard Habit a while back, not to mention signing up for some blogger-run group breaks that honestly I wasn't super excited about seeing as I'm not really a team collector, but it's fun to get involved. I'm not trying to guilt-trip anyone. I know times are tough and a lot of collectors out there have a narrow focus on what they'll spend money on.
With my recent kick of making hardcopy customs, I've been toying with the idea of "releasing" my own little set of cards. Just like a tiny print run of like a dozen or so total sets. It'd fulfill a dream of mine to make my own set. But would anybody be willing to pay money for it? Maybe a few guys would be down to trade a few cards for it, but spending money is another thing completely. I'm thinking like $20 for a "blaster" of about 20 customs, or $40 for a "factory set" of about 50 cards and a "hit" or two. Would anybody be willing to "pre-order" something like that? Probably not. And that's cool. After supplies and postage (and time and effort), it's not like I'd been reaping much profit, but it'd be fun to do, none the less.
It'd sure be the dream for us card bloggers if we could monetize our blogs, and even if not bringing in enough to live off (rent, groceries, etc), at least enough to help fund our hobby purchases would be nice. But even the top card blog out there, Night Owl Cards, doesn't seem to profit at all besides the occasional generous card package from a happy reader. Some blogs have ads embedded at the top or in the sidebar or whatever; I'd be curious to know if they actually bring in more than a couple bucks a month with ad revenue. Personally I'd rather keep banner ads off my blog, though if that works for them, God bless 'em. The closest I have to that is my Amazon link down on the sidebar. With the holiday shopping season here, please allow me kindly request you consider using that link when going to Amazon to shop. I get something like 4% credit on all sales made in a session after clicking on that link. I've got one aunt who is sweet enough to use my link when she buys expensive photography equipment and the like, and I've earned a nice chunk of credit through such purchases of hers.
Speaking of Amazon, I couldn't really think of much to ask for Christmas this year besides maybe a nicer printer for making hardcopy customs, so I've shared my Amazon wishlist loaded with various hobby boxes and blasters. Sure the prices are higher than you can find on eBay or the big online card retailers, but I'm sure my family will appreciate the one-click convenience of Amazon. And I'd be much more excited ripping open a box of cards than a pair of socks or a shirt or whatever.
But back to financial gain from card blogging.. Once in a while a blog will even get a free hobby box from a card manufacturer in exchange for a "review" blog post. Man.. I'd love to get in on that action! Are you reading, Topps, Panini, Upper Deck, Leaf, Whomever? Get in touch about sending me a free box and I'll post a nice, honest review of it for my few dozen readers.
So what was I talking about? Oh yeah, I bought a few cards from jaybarkerfan; here they are:
Five bucks paypaled got me these 3 requested cards:
Buster Posey 2013 Topps Manufactured Topps Rookie Patch
Khalil Greene 2008 Topps jersey relic
Carlos Delgado 08 Timeline jersey relic
And, as Wes is notoriously generous, it should come as no surprise I was fortunate enough to receive several unannounced bonus cards in the package!
A terrific trio of Gwynns. The one of the left is #'d 700/1000, the one on the right 225/250.
The gold parallel /2008 of that same Khalil card from earlier. Nice.
And a "gem mint 10" Griffey!
Great cards! Thanks, man!
After postage that ran him $3.14, Wes' profit for all these cards was under two bucks total. Ouch, that makes me feel bad! I hope I pull a sweet Josh Donaldson parallel to send him one of these days to balance out that karma.
But yeah, this all underscores that selling cards on your blog is not a lucrative endeavor. Well, I mean, you can earn lots of admiration and cards in return, but finding monetary profit is elusive.
So for some "blog talk", what do you guys think? Have you fellow bloggers made any money off your blog? What do you think when other bloggers try to sell cards or put up advertisements? Does it bug you, or is it their God given right for the pursuit of financial happiness?
Is there a "Phase 2" that can make card-blogging profitable, or should we just accept that this will forever be a labor of love we pour our time and energy into without getting anything out of it other than satisfaction of a job well done, a bit of social interaction, and an occasional sweet trade package from an appreciative reader?
I remember reading a blog a few weeks ago (sorry, can't remember the name) where the guy was soliciting for writers to contribute to his blog, and he said something like, "I can't afford to pay you anything right now, but as soon as I start making money off the blog, which I hope will be soon, I'll definitely give you a cut." And he was being serious.
I couldn't help but chuckle at that. Other than maybe a couple bucks per month on ad revenue if you sellout and put up obnoxious banner ads (and still have high quality content to bring in loyal readers in spite of the ads), I can't imagine a card blog ever making real money.
That'd be nice, though. I'd love to do this for a living!