Mindy Roberts is a single mother living in San Jose. When she's not busy raising her three children, she's busy talking about the experience.
"My children are well aware I've been underemployed for some time and they know I don't have an outside job," said Roberts.
Mindy is one of a growing number of mommy bloggers, finding an audience online for their adventures in parenting. Her site, themommyblog.net, has had eight million hits and 1,200 members. Because of that, big companies are showering her with cash and perks.
Target sponsors a regular chat, and Johnson & Johnson recently treated her to a VIP trip.
"The company will fly you out, put in you up a five-star hotel. They took us to a secret lab where all of their things are going to be developed, hoping we're going to talk about that," said Roberts.
Companies send Mindy books, bikes, snacks -- hoping to get a good mention on her blog. Ad agencies say parenting blogs are exploding. There are many moms with time to blog, the craving to interact with other grownups, and the desire to make some extra cash.
Many blogs display ads, some do product reviews; still others actually link visitors to sites where you can buy those products. Ad sales company Federated Media says bloggers they represent make anywhere from a few hundred dollars a month, like Mindy -- which is considered pretty successful -- to hundreds of thousands of dollars a year for the break-out superstars.
"What I think is in a lot people's heads is you can sit on a couch in your pajamas and make a million blogging -- that never was true. You have to have a personality, have a particular angle, look at the world in a different way than your competitors," said Matt Dipietro of Federated Media.
Mindy says her angle is to say what's on her mind -- even or perhaps especially when it's not politically correct..
"People say you're supposed to love your baby from the instant you set eyes on it and that's just not true for so many people, and they're ashamed to admit that. But if I get on, I'm like, take thething away I want a sandwich!" said Roberts.
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