Thursday, April 04, 2013

The Great Barter Mistake of Bloggers

I kick myself for not catching it before, but let me cite three bloggers:

Silvio Canto
Kerry Lutz

I've had dealings with all three and our dealings have revolved around our blogs.  And for those of you who are bloggers yourselves you know that blogging is an accidental career.  You don't set out and declare to the world,

"I'm going to be the best damn blogger the world has ever seen!!!!"

You don't "Major in Blogging" (though no doubt the worthless world of Academia will come up with a "Bachelors of Arts in Blogging" sometime soon). 

You also know once you start blogging any hope of having a "normal" or "real" career is shot.  You made yourself public.  You've stated your positions.  You DARED to exercise your 1st Amendment rights to free speech and thus Corporate/Employer America will have nothing to do with you. 

And therefore we congregate on teh interwebz, capitalizing on our freedom to do as we please, write books, plug our wares and do whatever we have to do to avoid "crawling back" to corporate America to grant us another 6 months of employment merely to recapitalize our personal balance sheet, only to tell them to f$ck off as we have too much self respect and dignity to tolerate their BS. 

But while we congregate we also scheme. And in scheming we make some observations.  Observations that help people stay afloat in the blogging world and independent of any employer or master.

And boy, did I come up with a doozy of an observation.

My observation today was one of needlessly paying taxes.  Usually you are approached or would like to approach a blogger with significant internet presence to help advertise your wares.  They usually say "$200 for a sidebar image" or "$100 for a post dedicated to your product" or "$25 and i'll mention you in the podcast." Payment is usually done by Paypal, check or some other electronically, and thus, taxable means.

But then Silvio made an interesting observation.

"Why don't you just plug my stuff and I plug yours?"

The simplicity is brilliance.

Not only does Silvio NOT have to pay taxes on the advertising I paid him, I don't have to pay taxes on advertising he's done for me.

In other words, the idea of charging a fellow blogger for advertising is stupid.  We merely make a transaction recordable and thereby TAXABLE and let Uncle Sam and Step-Mom State in on our business.  Instead, bloggers should use their cache as currency and merely agree to help support, prop, advertise and promote other bloggers.  i.e.-traffic is currency, and a non-taxable one at that.

So before you think about approaching another blogger and saying, "Hey, how much to advertise on your site?"

Why not approach and say, "Hey, I'll plug yours if you plug mine."

Not only would it save us taxes, it would piss off Barry.


Scott said...

Let's say you pay Roosh $20 to advertise your blog and he pays you 20$ to advertise his blog. You have $20 in revenue and $20 in expenses making your net income $0 with an effective tax rate of 0%.

S.Lynn said...

I was under the impression that you had to pay taxes on "comparable value" for bartered items. No?

Anonymous said...

Beware of "imputed income"....

Anonymous said...

Savings in taxes would be overshadowed by the increased complexity of filing and assessing the proper tax to pay. There is apparently more than a little confusion in the mess of law, regulatory dictat, and tax court precedent regarding the value of services provided or received through barter transactions. If you get through and feel you have a better understanding, rather then worse, then you are cleverer than I am. If not, then you understand why most people are -ahem- negligent, perhaps, in their record keeping.

Vigilante R said...

Meh. Too many negative ninnies in the comments. If the government is going to go so far as to prevent bloggers from linking to fellow bloggers... well then. *throws hands up*

Cappy has a point. And for smaller bloggers, hyping other's blogs is the best way to boost traffic. Frankly, I'd rather have the traffic than the cash from selling ads to other bloggers.
Now, selling ads to those who make products, that's a different story.
Not to mention writing books, developing products, etc

As for Scott's point, (as clarified by anonymous), the $200 I make from an ad might not be offset by $100 I'd pay for ads of my own.

dannyfrom504 said...

oh stop. i already asked you to whore out my site. lol.

Anonymous said...

You can also accept payments in bitcoins to stay off the grid

Southern Man said...

This is great when done between peers. However, as much as I'd love to trade ad spots, somehow I doubt that Southern Man's daily hit rate compares to yours. Oh, wait, I don't even have ad spots. I guess I'll just click on yours instead.

Jose Romero said...

Sounds like a great idea! Any scheme that keeps Sam out of my pockets is always a good thing! Please continue!

Anonymous said...

If you pay for roughly as much advertising as you sell on your own site, then the two will cancel themselves out on your Schedule C.

Bartered ads wouldn't have any "imputed income" or taxable value either since it's not an employment benefit and not a profit from the business of the blog.

Ras Al Ghul said...

"Not only does Silvio NOT have to pay taxes on the advertising I paid him, I don't have to pay taxes on advertising he's done for me."

Audit coming in 3, 2, 1 . . .

Uncle Elmer said...

"Corporate/Employer America"

What some are referring to as "Encorpera".

Steve Adams said...

Yeah, I think Scott got this right.

Anonymous said...

.....Or you could just use bitcoins instead of paypal.

Made Men said...

Awesome post cappy. Glad to know that this corner of the web is based on reason and reciprocity. Expect a link coming your way soon.