There was an old joke in the internet's early middle ages, back when "Web 2.0" used to be a new phrase:
Web 2.0: You make the content, they make the money.
Food bloggers are learning this for real right now. All bloggers are.
Spend a few minutes on the Get Off My Internets site and you'll see dozens of food and lifestyle bloggers of all stripes launching GoFundMe and Kickstarter campaigns, as the standard blogging income mechanisms of advertising, Amazon links and sponsored posts produce less (and less consistent) income. One particularly high-profile example: Gluten Free Girl, at one point one of the most widely read food bloggers out there, just took a part time job to supplement her income.
Yes. It's true.
Bloggers simply aren't making the kind of money they used to. And nowhere is this more true than in food blogging. The question is: why?
Here's why. There are zero--absolutely zero--barriers to entry. Literally anybody can start a blog. And for a while there it seemed like everybody did.
Don't get me wrong, the fact that anybody can start a blog is one of the best things about blogging. It just also happens to be the worst thing about the business of blogging.
And as circular as it sounds, when a profitable marketplace is easy to enter, people enter it. And then more people enter it, and then more, and then more... until the economics are destroyed by too many people having entered it and competed away all the profits. We are well past this point in food blogging.
Worse, most of us (and this includes me) don't really treat what we're doing like a business, making a bad competitive environment even worse. My income from Casual Kitchen these days is perhaps one-tenth (a tenth!) of what it was at peak, which was back in 2010-2011. Admittedly, I am vastly undermonetizing this site, and over time I've eliminated quite a lot of the advertising and other monetization programs I used to use in the past. Maybe this is a mistake and maybe I'm needlessly leaving money on the table, I don't know.
It's a strange business, this blogging. In theory, content over the internet scales nearly perfectly. It costs me nothing, literally zero, to add an incremental reader, or for that matter to add ten times or one hundred times the readers I have. And more readers mean (theoretically at least) more income. So the business "should work" as long as there's low or non-existent competition for those incremental readers. And, likewise, low or non-existent competition for advertisers, sponsors and keyword buyers who will pay for access to those readers. Like I said above, we are well past this point today.
The lack of barriers to entry is the key. I don't mean to be negative or to bring anybody down. But these worsening economics of food blogging? They are here to stay.
 In an upcoming post I'll talk more about how bloggers like Gluten Free Girl and Vani The Food Babe managed to garner enormous pageview stats in spite of (or better said, because of) things like recipe errors, bad writing, and horrendously unrigorous thinking.
 This is foundational insight for investors too. You want to avoid investing in companies with low or no barriers to entry, and focus on investing in companies with high barriers to entry. Warren Buffett uses the phrase “moats” to describe this: he tells anyone who will listen to seek out companies with wide moats about their business.
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