swedish teenager making millions off her blog?

A journalist from Bergens Tidende called me this morning to talk about blogs, and in particular, fashion blogs and the money they can make off advertising. It seems there’s a Swedish blogger who makes “millions” of kroner off her blog. At least, Dagens NÊringsliv thinks she makes millions. She won’t actually say what she makes, but admits to spending “10,000 kroner a month shopping”.

Anyway, the blog, which is apparently one of the most popular in Sweden, is called Blondinbella (blonde bella) and is written by Isabella Lˆwengrip, a seventeen year old high school student who started blogging to recruit members to the political party Moderatarne – but she discovered readers were far more interested in reading about what she was wearing. According to Dagens NÊringsliv, the larger part of her income is not from the advertisements from big brandnames, but from covert product placement – she’s paid to write positive reviews about products. And she doesn’t mention this to her readers – nor does she think it’s dishonest. That’s not likely to go down too well – remember the debates about PayPerPost that led to their requiring bloggers to disclose that they were being paid?

The “earning millions” on her blog may be more a journalist’s over-hasty hype than reality. An article in Expressen that appears to be the source states that the blogging business was “valued as worth millions” by an accountant, thus allowing them to create an aksjeselskap (a stock based company) without having the required 100,000 kroner in cash. (En revisor v‰rderade bloggen till flera miljoner, och det r‰ckte som s‰kerhet.) Johan Kinnander, a board member of Lˆwengrip’s blog company previously with Swedish Google, states in the interview that he doubts that the blog is really worth that much. Since then, a journalist estimated that she makes five million kroner a year on ads. She does have 200,000 readers a week, apparently – and that’s the same as some newspaper sites, which must terrify the newspapers. Regardless, the blog does appear to be one of the most popular in Sweden. According to Lˆwengrip herself, that’s because she “cares about her readers and doesn’t scare them away with a site that looks like a homepage from the 1990s”, and because she’s open and shares stories and photos from her life – unlike Swedish politicians.

26. June 2008 by Jill
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