This post was guest blogged by Mike Henry of the Beijing Olympic Games 2008 blog.
Around 2005 I read about a blogger who made a lot of money blogging the Athens Olympics. It gave me an idea to register a domain and start my own blog for the Beijing Olympics, three years away.
At the time I was working a regular 9-5 job building my internet income. I was trying to make money from different sites and the Olympic site was just one of many sites I started at the time. I lived in China for a year in 1999, so I was interested more in how the Olympics would affect China, more so than the sporting side of things.
I finally got fed up with my job at the end of 2006 and decided to spend a year traveling around South East Asia while living off the money from my websites. Around mid 2007, I thought about paying someone to write for my Beijing Olympic blog, then I thought why not just travel to China and check things out for myself. I was enjoying the beach in Langkawi, Malaysia at the time so it was kind of hard to leave.
I traveled to Shenzhen, Shanghai and Beijing. I found a nice apartment for around US$500 a month and spent the next 3 months exploring Beijing, writing the blog, visiting the new stadiums and going to some of the Olympic test events. It was an amazing experience. It had been 10 years since I was last in Beijing and the city had changed so much. I think people going to China for the first time for the Olympics are in for a shock, because the image of China often shown in the media is far from the reality. China does have its problems like many countries, but I don’t think the country deserves all of the negative publicity it usually gets from the western media.
Working on the internet in China
Working on the internet in China is not easy. Many news sites are blocked and when George Bush met the Dalai Lama last year many popular US sites like Google and Yahoo were redirected to Chinese sites like baidu.com – a popular search engine in China. Facebook and YouTube were also down for at least a week. I was using these sites to promote my blog, so it was a difficult time and I felt like going home.
Back in China to blog the Olympics
I just arrived back in China now with around 150 days to go until the Olympics. I am going from Shenzhen to Guangzhuo, Guilin, Yangshuo, Fenghuang, Chengdu, Xian and finally on to Beijing where I will stay for the Olympics in August.
In the past two weeks there has been a bus hijacking and an attempted plane hijack. I say this not because I think China is unsafe, but I think definitely I will be in for an exciting time following the Beijing Olympics.
Making money from the site
The site is in the process of being redesigned. I am planning on making money from Adsense, affiliate programs and from companies advertising directly on the site. It is hard to say if I will make a lot of money from the site, but I think just being able to experience the Olympics in China will be an experience I will never forget.
* Editor Note: I posted this from the Aberdeen Center Mall. It’s not traveling 8000KM to blog but it is at least 8KM. – JC