Darren Rowse is a Melbourne-based man who started life as a church preacher, but is now better
known to his followers as the Pro-Blogger. He claims to make a six-figure income from blogging, including from a
site
that tells everybody how he does
it. He is also one of the proprietors and
founders of the B5media blog network, which is a
cross between a giant chat room and a nascent new media magazine production
house.

In the last few weeks Rowse has been
running a group writing project in which bloggers from around the world have
written in with their suggestions for how to make money and build audiences
from writing online. There have been
more than 80 submissions and they make fascinating reading for anyone wondering
what the future of this medium might be.

These aren’t self-indulgent wannabes
speaking to themselves, nor serious minded fourth estate types bewailing the failures
of mainstream media. They are popular,
semi-professional and aiming to make real money from their content. Some of the hints would apply just as much to
traditional magazines as to the web, and among the better-known there are
signs of bloggers’ ethics developing, such as this contribution: “Be true to yourself and honest to
your readers. You might feel like embellishing a little, or maybe even
flat out lying at times if you run out of things to say, but it will only hurt
you in the long run. The integrity of the information presented is paramount to
the success of any website.”

Sometimes the bloggers seem to be
reinventing the lessons old media editors learned long ago (such as “if
you got a long, serious post then balance it with something light”) but
other things seem to be new. For example: “The best
blogging has a community feel and you have to keep talking to maintain that
community.”

Most striking is the constant emphasis on
relationships, allowing the personality of the writer to show, and having
“values”. Objectivity is no
part of this world, but integrity is. Read and
reflect.