Fake Steve Jobs Totally Gives Up on Blogging

Getting rich by blogging is "another high-tech fairy tale," writes Dan Lyons in Newsweek. He should know — he tried and failed, with nothing to show for his blogging career but 20 extra pounds.

That's how Lyons tells the story:

For two years I was obsessed with trying to turn a blog into a business. I posted 10 or 20 items a day to my site, The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs, rarely taking a break. I blogged from cabs, using my BlackBerry. I blogged in the middle of the night, having awakened with an idea. I rationalized this insane behavior by telling myself that at the end of this rainbow I would find a huge pot of gold. But reality kept interfering with this fantasy. My first epiphany occurred in August 2007, when The New York Times ran a story revealing my identity, which until then I'd kept secret. On that day more than 500,000 people hit my site-by far the biggest day I'd ever had-and through Google's AdSense program I earned about a hundred bucks. Over the course of that entire month, in which my site was visited by 1.5 million people, I earned a whopping total of $1,039.81. Soon after this I struck an advertising deal that paid better wages. But I never made enough to quit my day job. Eventually I shut down-not for financial reasons, but because Steve Jobs appeared to be in poor health. I walked away feeling burned out and weighing 20 pounds more than when I started. I also came away with a sneaking suspicion that while blogs can do many wonderful things, generating huge amounts of money isn't one of them.

But wait a second: How did Lyons come to be able to relate this tale in the hallowed pages of Newsweek? Oh, right — it surely had more to do with his blog and his brilliantly sarcastic Fake Steve Jobs persona, not the unnoticed pieces he churned out as a senior editor at Forbes. And then there was the book deal which resulted in Option$: The Secret Life of Steve Jobs. Lyons may not have made money directly from his blog, but he had a fair bit of success off of it. Admitting that would ruin a perfectly good column — and call into question his decision to stop blogging.