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Blogging Stories – How Blogs Change Lives

Posted By Darren Rowse 30th of September 2005 Chitika eMiniMalls, Pro Blogging News 0 Comments

I just spoke to a reader of ProBlogger on the phone who left a comment on the Chitika Mini-Malls Review that totally knocked me off my feet.

Rachel (not her real name – she is wanting to protect her niche and not go public) has been reading ProBlogger for the past few months and has slowly built her blog earnings up from nothing to $40 per day through Adsense. That was until yesterday when she started using mini-malls. I’ll let her explain in her own words in her comment (used with permission):


I put these (the mini-malls) on my blog after reading this review a day ago and today I’ve earned just under $150 from them in a day! I know this will probably go down a little when my readers get used to them but it’s amazing!!!

Adsense was only earning me $40 a day previously!

Thankyou SOOO much for this review Darren. You have just changed my life.

I cannot express to you what this means to me. if the $150 per day continues I will be able to go off welfare payments at last and should be able to put my two little kids into some non 2nd hand clothes for the first time in their lives.

I’m a single mum and never considered being able to earn this type of money. I am so grateful to this blog Darren, you were the one who got me up to $40 a day, but this is is unbelievable. I’m trying not to count all my chickens before they hatch, but wow.

thankyou so much Darren’

I’m blown away. Not by the figures – or even by the success of the mini-malls – but by the ability of blogging to have this kind of an impact upon someone’s life. This is one of the main the reasons I started ProBlogger – because I saw potential for ordinary people like myself (and Rachel) to find a voice in an area they learn and talk about and to find ways to build an income stream around it.

I doubt Rachel will ever be a millionaire blogger – in fact she has told me that she only wants to do it to a part time level because she wants to spend significant time being a mum to her kids – but the great thing is that she’s taking it to a level that meets some of the dreams she has for her family. She’s someone who a year ago was in a low place and wondering how they’d get by who now has some hope.

I suspect we’ll see more and more stories like this in the coming months and years. They might not be stories that make it into papers or magazines about what the big networks are doing – but they are stories that matter in the lives of individuals and their families.

In my mind they are the stories that really do matter.

I’d love to hear your stories if you have them of how blogging has and is making a difference in your life. Feel free to share them in comments below either with your name attached or anonymously. If you leave an email address it won’t be public but I’ll see it.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. Wow…what a wonderful story!

    As you know well, I have experienced firsthand some of the amazing things that blogging can do for people. Thanks for giving us this peek into another great story about the power of blogging. Lori & I are wishing her the best :D

  2. Darren,
    Because of your advice on ProBlogger, your insight and wisdom (does that sound like sucking up or being thankful?), my focus in my career is changing toward the Blogging ‘movement’.

    I have been brainstorming and creating ‘Blog Plans’, utilizing information learned from you (ProBlogger), and I know that those Blogs and projects will become successful.

    I have been testing some of these theories, ideas, and proven ways on two of my Blogs, and the revenue stream began to change with immediate notice! At first, I was able to buy a couple of candy bars with my AdSense revenue (not really since I needed to make enough for them to send it to me!), but now I can buy a couple of cases! I don’t really buy candy bars, but the analogy just shows that you make a difference.

    My Wife has even opened her eyes about Blogging, which she told me back in 2003 when I started that, “You are wasting your time with that little journal thingy”. But you know, I have had two book offers from one Blog, and written a few ePapers based on that same one and another.

    In short, I have created a growing (soon to grow more) revenue stream, and the Six Figure Blogging is looking mighty good on the horizon!

    Thank you Darren, you are a great teacher!

    J Christian Connett, CPM

  3. Congratulations to ‘Rachael’ and also to Darren for encouraging everyone here.
    I learned of Chitika a while ago but never gave them serious consideration until now!

  4. […] You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your ownsite. […]

  5. Terrific stuff. Makes me want to get my act together, blogging-wise.

  6. Blogging Changing Lives

    Via Problogger, a story of how blogging can impoact lives. By updating an ad format, a blogger increased her daily income by nearly 400% whoch has the potential to really change her life (coming off benefits, etc). So here’s a…

  7. Nice to see positive feedback and a moderate success story. Makes you feel all warm inside when you read snippets like that. The power of the web, the accessability for all, and the low cost of starting up your own blog are all positive things.

    The fact that someone is doing something proactive to improve their standard of living is also a great thing to hear about.

  8. Oh, I need to read this blog more. Never heard of mini-malls before… Anyway, good luck Rachel!

  9. Great personal interest story! It should be in the papers.

    I’m testing these eMiniMalls too and everywhere I place them, they outperform adsense ads.

  10. Really odd: my experience with MiniMall has been dismal – low ctr, low money, really pathetic – not even 5% of adsense.

    I didn’t expect this at all. Those ads seem very attractive, reasonably targetted – why the poor performance..

    Just must be one of those things – my readers like text ads, I guess. I’ll let ’em run a few more days to see..

  11. pcunix – I suspect that the issue is that your blog isn’t on a topic that seems to relate to their products. I looked at a number of posts and while you have positioned them very well the ads just are not relevant to your posts. As a result google just might work best for you.

    Give it another day or two maybe – or perhaps try to pick a product or two that you can target that you think might appeal?

  12. I think you probably looked at the website I attached to my name – but I’m running these on three other sites too, and they do seem very well targetted on the other sites. Ads I see are quite relevant.

    I am going to give them a few more days, and we’ll see. I’m just puzzled because to me, these look like they SHOULD be doing much better than they are.

    On my main site I rotate ads on a percentage basis between google, yahoo and the minimalls. I was gave them 2,868 out of 16,712 page views over the past two days or about 17%, and they generated only 7% of the total income. So they performed at about 40% of Google and Yahoo combined, which isn’t too good. I gave Yahoo 23% of those page views, and it made 19% of the money – so while Adsense is still better than Yahoo, it isn’t by a lot, and every now and then Yahoo has a big spike that makes it better.

    I’ll give them some more pages over the next few days and we’ll see how they do.

  13. Thomas says: 10/01/2005 at 3:35 am

    Your article regarding Chitika boosted my earnings quite significantly. I can’t tell a lot about it but it looks this combined with AdSense and few other programs will finally put me in the six figure club.


  14. This is the true power of blogging – not only being able to share your ideas but to enrich your life on different levels.

  15. Inefficient Markets…

    Andrew Goodman posts about how inefficiently offline marketing is sold.

  16. What a boost for this single mother!

  17. […] I’ve been getting quite a few excited emails from readers who have signed up for the Chitika eMiniMalls that I reviewed last week. There has been a lot of positive feedback so far from those who I’ve referred over to the program with some people earning some significant dollars from it so far (including ‘Rachel‘). There have also been a few (less) emails from bloggers who have failed to see them as effective. […]

  18. I’ve signed on to try it, thanks to Darren’s review here.
    Time will tell……
    I’ll post later to inform how it stacks up against the Big G ads.
    Only complaint so far is that the various options are very vaguely explained.
    For example- how to choose the best keywords to add into the code.

    How do we know what genres their advertisers cover?

  19. This sounds pretty impressive. I’ll certainly check it out for my blog. Thanks!

  20. I’ve signed up also. How long does it generally take to get a response?

  21. I’d love to be able to do this, Yahoo! had their Yahoo Partner Network and Google has AdSense, which one is better?

  22. Oh, geez, I was with you on Rachel’s success story up until her statement, “…I will be able to go off welfare payments at last and should be able to put my two little kids into some non 2nd hand clothes for the first time in their lives.” If Rachel is on welfare (and lives in the U.S.), how can she afford a computer and connection?

    As a skeptic, the above and the fact that Rachel doesn’t want her blog known, makes me wonder about the legitimacy of your site. How can I be sure this is not a scam?

  23. Good to have some healthy scepticism Nancy – however all I can say is that it’s a true story.

    I know of numerous bloggers who started their blogs on free internet connections via libraries, neighbourhood/community houses/centres and friends/families etc. I’m not sure how Rachel does it to be honest but these days many people have net access – I’ve even seen a few blogs run by homeless people.

    Rachel didn’t want the attention because she was worried about privacy issues and a little scared of people copying her site which would mean extra competition.

    You’ll find that some bloggers are very concerned that people don’t find out how much they earn from their blogs because no sooner than they do than many others start up the same sorts of blog and make it harder to do well with due to the competition.

  24. Well, having internet access is really easy. For almost anyone, and just for you to know, I am writing from Brazil, where the disparities are WAY bigger than any 1st-world country (basically, you have some filthy rich people, a lot of middle class people and a lot of really poor ppl).

    Anyway, I just don’t know. I write very well, in Portuguese and English and provide interesting content. My posts on a gadget blog are some of the most commented, the bog is very popular but the only one who makes money there is the owner.

    But I just cannot seem to earn money from blogs. Not with adsense, chitika, even finding niches (playstation 2 blog in Brazil, which appears first on brazilian google, an english blog about obscure mac freewares, both with good traffic for beginning sites) while I see people with really, really stupid sites, poor language skills, content (lame tests, emoticon repositories, etcetera) and ugly themes living off their websites.

    I am not condemning these people, I just think it has become a very competitive market and sometimes it feels you are just not ‘born’ for it.

    Not that living off a blog has ever been my objective (I write blogs since 2000, but only last year I began with niche sites, before it was only personal and very varied stuff), since I am a doctor. But I have been obliged to move back to my parents’ house and I barely get out of home since 2005 due to a disease. So this is my objective for now.

    I’m not moaning – I’ve gone past that stage after 3 months of my current ‘useless’ lifestyle – just wanna say that there must be a thousand people, talented or not, who work hard on blogging and fail for each succesful story like Rachel’s.

    BTW I love this blog, not for the tips because I’ve read most of them invarious sources, but I like the way you write. Congrats!

  25. WOW wonderful story…


  26. Kim…

    Looks like your page was heavily hit by spam…

  27. Bridget says: 05/29/2007 at 4:58 am

    Hi Darren
    I’ve been reading this site for the past two weeks now as I alloted some serious time on two blogs I have started this year.

    Posts like this, your tips and your earnings statement REALLY inspire me to learn more and optimise, optimise, optimise as much as I can in my free time.

    The comain name from my email address on this comment is a blog about a particular, non-product related subject. It’s basically the only highly niche subject that I could say I have an interest in and personal expeience with.

    I had a look at the eMiniMalls sample keywords and categories and most of them seem to relate heavily to products. Could you please advise if they would have suitable ads for the topic on which I am blogging?

    You’re doing the wider web community a fantastic service – even someone with over 8 years experience as a web developer (like myself) can learn new tricks!


  28. that’s so inspiring and what got me the most is that she can afford to buy her children new clothes instead of hand me down.. what a feeling of accomplishment that will be for her. Although I totally believe in recycling including clothes (I write an Eco-friendly blog) this is a momentous occasion to be celebrated!

  29. […] Blogging Stories – How Blogs Change Lives – the story of a reader […]

  30. I too thought it was a little strange that someone on welfare had even thought of becoming a blogger, but what makes me believe the story is that Darren talked to her on the phone, which makes it a lot harder to fake it.

    As for being a scam, well, no one is asking you for money. Certainly we need to remember that “your mileage may vary,” but I’ve found Darren’s posts and the reader comments to be balanced in pointing out where eMiniMalls have worked well, and where they haven’t. Every blog is different, and only testing and tracking will show what works for you.

  31. Very inspiring story, Darren. Good for Rachel and I wish her all the best. As for me, I’ll give Chikita eMiniMalls a try on some of my blogs/websites and see how it goes. Thanks for the great tips and advice and keep ’em coming!

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