“In America today, there are almost as many people making their living as bloggers as there are lawyers,” begins Mark Penn’s dubious article for the Wall Street Journal, which suggests that nearly 2 million bloggers make money from their work, and for nearly half a million, it is their primary source of income.
Over at Virginia Quarterly Review, Waldo Jaquith takes issue with Penn’s sources as well as his math: “The mind reels at how an apparently-bright guy could write such a fundamentally inaccurate article and get it published in a major U.S. daily.”
Jaquith reports that Penn gleaned his “almost 2 million” paid bloggers from the website blogwordexpo.com, which promotes a blogger conference and thus has a vested interest in building the blogging hype. Yet, even their claim is muted compared to Penn’s.
“1.7 million American adults list making money as one of the reasons they blog,” the website states.
“That’s not to say that they make money,” Jaquith points out, “just that they want to make money. Many people write novels because they want to be rich, but that doesn’t mean that all aspiring novelists are wealthy. So we can see that claim—one of the pillars of Penn’s article—is totally invented.”