Role of advertisers in blogs.
February 24, 2005 12:30 PM   Subscribe

It appears that Cheap Tickets is no longer the major sponsor of the weblog Gridskipper. While this may be due to many things (ie-content, low stats), do you foresee a future in which major blogs will regularly attract major sponsors to the extent that staff members could be hired, and millions could be made?
posted by bamassippi to Computers & Internet (4 answers total)
Foresee? Gawker (which owns the Gridskipper site you mentioned) and Weblogs, Inc. have been doing this for a while. At least they're doing the staff hiring. Dunno about the millions part.

A high-traffic weblog is no different from any other high-traffic website. The owner can cash in on the hits through advertising.

As I write this, I'm a bit confused about what exactly you're asking now. As written, the answer is "yes, if you can convince advertisers to deliver the millions". Were you interested in anything further?
posted by turbodog at 12:53 PM on February 24, 2005

Here's a very relevant article from that addresses your question and goes a bit further. Its a pretty interesting topic that I think has started to reach its tipping point.
posted by pwally at 1:08 PM on February 24, 2005

do you foresee a future in which major blogs will regularly attract major sponsors

Um, that's the present, kid. Look at what Gawker Media are doing: Nick began with Gawker, Gizmodo, and Wonkette as topical blogs designed around the needs of media buyers (the people who go out and look for places to put ads). They've expanded to sponsored blogs with Gridskipper and Lifehacker (Sony, which reportedly pays $25K a month for the privilege). There are other firms in this space such as Weblogs Inc.

I don't think personal blogs will "regularly" attract major sponsors, although quite a few (e.g. Instapundit) are doing pretty darn well with just a mix of Blogads and Adsense. I don't think that sponsorship and personal blogging go well together, though I wouldn't rule it out entirely -- many artists in the past have survived through the blessings of patrons.'

It's more likely, though, that these sponsors will create the blogs themselves, and companies such as Gawker will have more of a consultation or contractual role, perhaps even entirely invisible to the public. Right now Gawker is acting like a magazine empire, hawking its titles on each other. That's an advantage, now, but future Sonys might well prefer to "own" their blogs.

to the extent that staff members could be hired

Nick Denton runs Gawker; all his blogs have editors which he hired. Most of them have participated to some extent in the shaping of the blog, e.g. Ana Marie Cox and Denton cooked up her bookish sexpot persona for obvious reasons. There isn't any "staff" such as research assistants, that I've read, although there may be an in-house tech person or two.

and millions could be made?

Well, Nick pays his people freelance writer wages, as I understand it. e.g. Fleshbot was originally advertised as a $1000/mo position (no idea whether that's still true), essentially a part-time job. Cox gets an expense account to wine and dine sources and hit parties. There's also swag.

Millions? Well, content isn't usually that lucrative; ask anybody in the music or movie businesses. One or two people end up that lucky. Right now, for blogs, that's Glenn Reynolds -- who some sources claim makes a six-figure income just from the blog, nice on top of an academic salary. And Reynolds isn't even a content creator (at his main blog); he's (in)famously of the "linker" style of blog, which is what has made him successful.

That said, I wouldn't be surprised if someone using the broad blogging form eventually hits it even bigger -- but they'd likely be in some popular entertainment realm, such as a comic strip, serial fiction, music or moblogging. The money, though, is likely to be not in the blog itself but in the ancillary revenue streams such as licensing, book and movie contracts, speaking engagements, and so on. A few people actually jump-started their careers by affecting a "rock star persona" on their blog. And we've seen various book contracts (e.g. jennsylvania).
posted by dhartung at 11:05 PM on February 24, 2005

The New York Times bought for $410 million a few days ago, and all the guide sites are powered by Movable Type, which makes them blogs in my mind. For Primedia, millions have been made.
posted by anildash at 1:18 AM on February 26, 2005

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