Top Kindle Sports Blogs

My focus with this list is sports blogs outside the major networks (except for Bill Simmons). These are the best independent sports blogs available in the Kindle Store based on reviews and sales -

  1. Bill Simmons’ Page 2 Blog. Probably the best sports writer out there.  

    Bill Simmons ESPN Page 2

    Bill Simmons ESPN Page 2

  2. Braves Journal – An Atlanta Braves Blog. Follow Nate McLouth’s new adventures.  
  3. Hoops Addict – Get your basketball fix. Would really like to see Paul Shirley and Gilbert Arenas in the Kindle Store. Dwight Howard too.
  4. Baseball Musings – A good baseball blog. Surpsiring that Lookout Landing and USS Mariner aren’t better sellers given that there are probably a ton of Seattle Kindle owners. Shouldn’t Amazon employees by themselves be enough to get 1 or more Seattle Mariners blogs onto the Top 25? 
  5. Brooklyn Mets Fan – Ummm. Not much to say. Losing Reyes and Putz really hurts their season.

Blogs from the Big Networks

If you’re looking for blogs published by -

  1. ESPN
  2. SportsBlogs Nation Blogs.  
  3. Most Valuable Network Blogs 

You can click on the links above to get there.

Join a network, sports bloggers

If you’re a sports blogger, joining one of SBN or MVN is recommended. They really help get you traffic and now even sites like Yahoo Sports are turning to sports blog networks for additional news items (and thus creating huge traffic for them).

Finally, recommend Project Prospect and John Sickels’ Prospects Blog if you’re into prospects.

10 Top Rated, Bestselling Kindle Blogs

Wanted to compile a list of blogs that are -

  1. Not part of the big blogging conglomerates.  
  2. Well reviewed so we know the Kindle editions are good.  
  3. Selling well so we know people are also voting for them with their wallets.

Here they are (the first 7 are in the Top 100) -

  1. BlogCritics.org Books – The only books blog in the Top 100 (rather surprising consider it is the Kindle). Plus it’s just $0.99.
  2. Duct Tape Marketing – A blog about small business marketing ideas.  On the web it’s one of the top 25,000 sites in the world (pretty impressive for a blog).
  3. Financial Armageddon – A really good blog. An example snippet -

    FOURTEEN months ago, former King County Executive Ron Sims made an odd statement. People were wondering if the economy was in a recession. Sims said he thought it was, because the volume of garbage was down, and that meant people were buying fewer new things — and throwing away fewer old things.

  4. Cool Tools – DIY, useful gadgets, exciting inventions, and a wide variety of “cool” stuff.  
  5. Cognitive Daily – A cognitive psychology blog.  
  6. Accidental Hedonist. One of the best Blog Images I’ve seen.

    Accidental Hedonist doing it right with a beautiful main page

    Accidental Hedonist doing it right with a beautiful main page

  7. BoyGeniusReport –  A perfect example of how online, even more than in software, your employees are literally your key resource. Boy Genius left Engadget and now has his own successful blog. And he’s even occasionally getting to scoops (like Kindle 2 leaked images) before Engadget.
  8. Will be updated – If your blog is selling well, and getting good reviews (atleast 2 reviews and atleast 4 star rating) let me know.  
  9. Ditto. 
  10. Ditto.

A Short Note on Discoverability

Lots of the blogs in the Top 100 have just a couple reviews. Some have none.

There’s no way to tell what is an actual good blog and what sucks. There’s no way to indicate what blog gets 100K people a month, and what gets a few hundred. As opposed to Kindle Books which no longer have associate commissions, subscriptions still do – so developers, this is an opportunity waiting to be seized.

Surprise – a blogger likes the Kindle Publishing for Blogs program

There have been so many negative posts about the Kindle Publishing for Blogs initiative by Amazon, mostly centering around -

  1. How Amazon gets 70% of the subscription amount. 
  2. How Kindle users would never subscribe to blogs that are free online.

That I’d begun to feel these bloggers were signing up to the program themselves just to overwhelm it and cause it to break down so that Amazon could no longer steal 70% of their subscription fees (never mind that some portion of the 70% gets eaten up by hosting, maintenance, and bandwidth costs).

Surely, given that bloggers and other content creators like newspapers are making so much money online, getting their content on the Kindle would hold little value.

Wait a minute … no … that’s not right.

99% of Bloggers are making next to nothing online.

If we leave out the top 1% of bloggers and the top 10% of affiliate marketers (who’re making a lot), and Google (who’re making perhaps even more) we’re left with the vast majority of people who are adding value to the Internet and, because they are not specialists at monetizing, getting nothing in return.

Amazon is providing a channel for these bloggers to get value back, and they ought to see it and admit it.

Kindle Publishing for Blogs lets you make money – directly

Think about it – almost every online monetization channel is indirect i.e. if you can sell product x; if you can get your readers to visit our site; if you can endorse our product.

Your readers are coming to you for Reason X, and almost every currently existing monetization model depends on you upselling something else or advertising to them. With the KP4B program you can make money off of what attracts users to your blog in the first place i.e. your content.

And you can cut out the middlemen i.e. the advertisers, companies selling products, search engines, marketers, and so forth.

In direct contrast to complaints that Amazon shouldn’t get 70% and complaints about how its not going to work, every blogger is signing up for the program. There are now 4,400 blogs available on the Kindle.

Its because bloggers at some level are beginning to get it. They’re beginning to see how its a win-win situation.

Geek MBA Blog does a simple analysis (just suspend belief and go with it) -

Let’s say that you can attract 5% of the overall Kindle user base, which is 50,000. The total monthly revenue from your blog would be $100,000. Amazon will get $70,000 while you get $30,000. You get paid at a rate of $0.6/user.

Note: He also talks about an established blogger who gets about $0.2/unique user AFTER years of hard work and after monetizing his blog to ridiculous amounts.

Here’s the most important part of the analysis – for every kindle subscriber you can attract and retain, you get 60 cents per user, per month. Without trying to get that user to buy something else.

Kindle Publishing for Blogs lets you focus on Your Core Competency

Note: Consider the model in terms of when there will be tens of millions of Kindle users (whether it be through Kindles or iPhones or Blackberrys). You have to look at it from the long term perspective.

Every Kindle user you get to subscribe to your blog gives you 60 cents a month. You already have the RSS feed so thats zero cost. You already blog and you already have your web presence. You just add a new channel that lets you get paid for your work.

Get a thousand subscribers and that’s $600 a month. You don’t have to worry about finding an affiliate program, getting advertisers, running Google Ads, asking for donations.

You get paid for your core competency i.e. the value of your expertise and/or the value of what you write. And even more importantly –  

You can focus on your core competency – writing/creating content you’re passionate about (and hopefully an expert at).

Closing Thoughts

Kindle Publishing for Blogs is a good, good step by Amazon. Sooner or later bloggers are going to realize that letting them get paid for something that they’re currently giving away for free online doesn’t make Amazon the enemy. Discoverability is an entirely different problem and hopefully that gets sorted out soon.

Charging for Kindle Blogs is a good thing

This is not a contrarian argument. Neither is it me playing devil’s advocate. There’s a very clear argument for why letting bloggers earn from their kindle blog subscriptions is a good thing.

The Current Contribution to Reward Relationship

The Internet has a very strong ethos of ‘free’. This is taken to the point where certain things are automatically categorized as ‘should be free’. In particular – 

On the Internet, music, software, music videos, movies, news and content are expected to be free. The Internet creates this magical belief that all this content should be free because there are other means to monetize (advertisements, concerts for musicians, DVD sales and theater tickets for movies, etc.).   

On the surface this seems a rather altruistic viewpoint – surely, having everything free helps everyone.

The truth, however, is that anyone who creates something that helps people is creating value and is entitled to profit from it. Advocates of free don’t really have the right to ask people to work for free.

Just as royalty in the middle ages used ‘the divine right of kings’ to claim disproportionate wealth and status, this magical ‘everything on the Internet should be free’ belief is stealing money from content creators and lining the pockets of other people. 

If you’re a blogger or a content creator …

Surely what you create has some value and is adding something to people’s lives.

Contrast three situations (just a simple example) -

  1. You run a content site and run no ads and no affiliate accounts and don’t monetize your site in any way.

    You might not be making money off of your content – However, Google, companies that sell any products you write about, the company that owns or hosts your blog, and numerous other entities benefit from the value you provide.

  2. You run a content site and make money off of ads etc. 

    You are basically making money off of a combination of indirect means. The ads and affiliate income subsidize your content. This is better than getting no value for your content – However, it is still not optimal.

  3. You sell your content – either as subscriptions, or some other direct to customer agreement.

    This is in some ways a very straightforward exchange. Its also the most immune to bias and ulterior motives. If your earnings are based directly on helping customers then the likelihood of you doing what’s best for them is highest.

Basically, based on what option you choose, you’re either making other people rich or creating a win-win situation. The Internet is dangerous because it tends to push all content creators in the direction of giving away all their content and making money off of other unreliable channels.

Look beyond Free and the cracks show up

The model of ‘free content’ fails because there is a very real cost to content creation -

  1. When a blogger writes a blog post that’s a few hours of his life gone forever.   
  2. The model of free says – Give away your content. Work for years and years. Hope ad revenue and other streams of income will eventually reach a point where they pay the bills.  
  3. What the model of free does not disclose is that lots of bigger, smarter companies are going to be making money based off of your content from day 1.

When a big company buys in to the model of free, it leads to rather interesting situations -

  1. Even entities as big as Wikipedia have had to do collections of donations to keep going.  
  2. Facebook has had to go for numerous rounds of financing and had to try out all sorts of member privacy violating measures to try and monetize.
  3. YouTube still isn’t making money for Google.  

If even the geniuses at Google can pay $1.65 billion for YouTube and still not figure out how to make money off of ‘free content’ it’s worth considering our own chances.

Which brings us to …

$2 a month for a blog subscription is not such a bad thing.

A very rough break-up of the $2 someone spends is -

  1. $.70 to the blog author.  
  2. $.30 to $0.70 to Sprint for wireless delivery bandwidth.   
  3. Remaining to Amazon for facilitating everything.

Perhaps the price ought to be cut to $1 a month. However, asking for free is a bit unfair. Even on the Internet, free is not a sustainable model.

Amazon can’t do free because there are costs associated with bandwidth and maintaining Amazon.com.

As a blogger you should not do free because you’re finally getting paid for the content you provide. By not monetizing your content you’re underselling yourself (of course, if your blog is a means to build your brand and/or a following, then it doesn’t apply to you). 

For readers who want free blogs

You’re entitled to expect it, and thanks to the Internet, free blogs aren’t going away anytime soon.

However, having this avenue of income saves bloggers from doing ridiculous things like asking for donations or asking you to click on Google Ads or putting up banner ads that detract from reading the blog.

The concept of free and the mistake of giving away content for free has killed newspapers. Quality content has associated costs – sooner or later we’re going to have to wake up to that fact.

Amazon is establishing a new paradigm that might seem strange because we’ve gotten trained to expect free content. However, its rather similar to someone doing a job expecting to get paid. If a blogger is doing a good job, then there’s nothing wrong with him trying to make it his profession and earn an honest income from it.

Publish Your Blog for Kindle users – Kindle Publishing for Blogs

Amazon has just launched Kindle Publishing for Blogs which lets absolutely anyone publish their blog for the Kindle. It’s in Beta right now.

Sure that number of blogs available will balloon from 1,500 to tens of thousands now that the lengthy approval process has been removed.

The entire process took just 15 minutes. You do need a screenshot of your blog, and an image as a masthead (which is what will show up on the Kindle when people read your blog). It says that the blog will be live in 48 to 72 hrs.

Kindle Publishing for Blogs launches

Kindle Publishing for Blogs launches

This is much, much better than the slow manual approval process that was happening earlier.

It seems that if you choose daily updates or multiple updates a day options your blog gets priced at $1.99.

So go ahead and add your blog.  The Kindle 2 Review Blog is now up at Amazon.

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