Why Blog Networks Failed

I wanted to weigh in on the whole Why Blog Networks Died conversation. I feel a bit of gratitude is owed to Paul Scrivens by me. Yes, I’m sucking it up and saying thank you. He taught me a lot through the years. We don’t always agree. However I think he’s spot on here. You have to develop one big site and slowly branch out. The long tail is great if you arent creating the content however.

b5media and 9rules have had their clashes and I think a lot of that is because each of them wanted to be the next big thing in the blog network space. Now they are both evolving. 9rules having gone the way of a bloggers community, and b5 having gone the way of the long tail machine.

While 9rules doesn’t pay their bloggers. B5 pays their bloggers using an algorithm like this “$100 a month plus $1.50 for every 1,000 pageviews“. Using this algorithm 901am would be making $1250 dollars this month. Minus the fact that I don’t pay my bloggers using any scale like this,that’s pretty cheap. In fact so cheap that you could be making more if you started your own blogs, hosted them yourselves and spent a lot of time networking within various communities. Don’t get me wrong, I’m friends with a handful of b5ers I just think they should look at ways of progressing their model a bit more to reward bloggers.

Luckily 9rules has no promises of rewarding their bloggers so I can’t say much about them concerning monetization. The reason the blog network space is largely void of leadership is because of the lack of good monetization. Likewise the reason its void of monetization is because of a lack of leadership.

My advice to anyone wanting to start a blog network: Start with one big site and branch out nice and slowly.

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  1. You know as well as I do that the pay system is what’s in place for our non-brand blog properties. Anything with more than 500K pages/month is open to all kinds of new advertising and sponsorship opportunities.

    But you know this.

    You also know that a blogger earnin 3.50$CPM is doing incredibly, incredibly well. And if an ad program existed that guaranteed even 1CPM that they’d be flooded with requests.

    I’ve written a full response at http://www.ensight.org.

  2. Well Business Logs may not get a lot of traffic (about 1200 pageviews per day, on average) but it makes a little bit of money from Text Link Ads to the tune of $800/month. I don’t run AdSense and I stopped approving AdBrite ads awhile ago, so it could be making more, but oh well.

    If it was immediately made a b5media property, using the payscale listed here, I’d be paid $100 + $54, so $154 would be my new payment. $800 vs $154?

    Jeremy, when you reply to these important issues on your personal site instead of your company’s site, it makes me think that someone else is pulling the strings over at b5media. Why not put this issue in front of the people who care about it the most? Why isn’t this going on the b5 blog?

  3. Mike, that’s great that you’re earning that much. But that’s the exception, not the rule.

    Also, I put it on my personal blog for the same reason Scrivs put it on his personal blog: it’s his personal opinion, not the company’s voice.

    My personal blog is where I think out loud. Which is what this is :) Another post coming up in a few seconds, just tidying it up now.

    Besides, my personal blog has a far larger reader base than the b5 blog. Just like Nick Denton, Jason Calacanis and every other blog network CEO writes on their personal blog when they’re musing.

    It’s just natural :)

  4. Also, Mike, we should talk at SXSW about increasing your earnings. I’m pretty confident we could at least double those for you. Your blog is worth more than 800$/month.

  5. Wait a minute – 1000 pageviews per day or month? Either way, someone is getting good :)

  6. Haha, yeah I definitely could earn more, no doubt about that. I don’t think I’ve approved a new AdBrite ad in like 3 months :)

  7. “Start with one big site and branch out nice and slowly.”

    That’s what she said. Er, that’s what we’re doing.

  8. I think Blog Networks also have the problem of losing their talent due to not paying them top dollar. I did read that once a blogger reaches the 500K page view mark they usually decide it’s time to leave the nest because they would rather work for themselves. This is difficult for blog network owners, and frankly difficult for us pro bloggers and companies providing pro blogging services. Many blogger come to me and tell me they are ready to be Darren Rowse and earn six figures. I usually tell them to talk to Darren….sorry Darren….but none of them have come back.

  9. Here’s a question that maybe D. Krug & Co. can answer.

    When a site passes 500K pageviews per month, no, when a site passes 1 million page views per month, what should the site owner do to expand his advertising revenue? Right now all I know about are blogads, TLA and AdSense and make about $1300/month.

    I’d love to double that but I’m just not sure of my options.

    It might be good for you to do a post or two for bloggers who suddenly find themselves massively successful and not knowing how to capitalize on that success.

  10. Ryan, drop me an email or, if you’re at SXSW let’s chat. I’m sure we can work with you to increase that pretty substantially, pretty quickly.

    Honestly. I’m pretty confident (I’d be totally confident if I knew your actual stats) we can double that in 6 months.

  11. Ryan
    at 1million page views a month, presuming you’re not getting good money for the traffic already, I’d recommend dropping John Batelle a line at FM Publishing, some great rates there for good traffic.

  12. Duncan has not been paid for this endorsement.

  13. rofl…..thanks Jim. Actually I’ve never spoken to Batelle, and I’ve never so much as had 1 thing to do with FM, but I have talked to some people working with FM and they’ve all had great things to say about the setup and rates. I’d suspect it wouldn’t be that easy to get in, but 1 million pages would have to at least get you a look in.

  14. You sell something of course.

  15. Ryan said, “When a site passes 500K pageviews per month, no, when a site passes 1 million page views per month, what should the site owner do to expand his advertising revenue? Right now all I know about are blogads, TLA and AdSense and make about $1300/month. ”

    The three things you mentioned should be your fillers, bringing maybe 25% of your revenue. You should be selling your own sponsorships ala Techcrunch to bring in the vast majority of your income, and fill the rest with the other stuff you mentioned and a few other ideas.

    Or go to FM and have them do it for your cut. Depends on how much work you want to do.

    It’s not that hard to sell your own ads man. If you have that many views, you can easily go out and find advertisers. Just go to some big blogs in your niche and see who advertises, and contact them directly and let them know they can pay less by cutting out FM :)

    Sorry, it’s true. Just a bit of leg work for a bigger profit. Throw up a simple ad server and spend an hour a week managing it. Don’t let anyone let you think it’s that hard, if you only have one site and a handful of ads.

    Frankly, I’ve been hearing that many large publishers have been cutting out Google and going straight to the advertisers as well. If you’re not selling CPC, you don’t have to worry about fraud. Most any advertiser would love to cut out the middle man and go direct for a savings.

  16. Hey,
    I love what you’e doing!
    Don’t ever change and best of luck.

    Raymon W.

  17. OK, I get more than 500K page views a month, but the problem is that I am the highest trafficked blog in my specific genre. Any advice on what to do now?

  18. Looks Like Dallas is in trouble!
    Phoenix might end up blowing them all away.

    PHX vs. Det. Hmmm..Could be interesting?

  19. I’m not quite understanding what all
    this is supposed to be about?
    Must be me or something…

  20. How green is the grass on the other side of the fence?
    Not much. Don’t believe it I tell you.

  21. Hey,
    Really nice site you got here.
    I’ll come back more often and check it out.

  22. Interesting Post.
    I’d never heard that before.


  23. This one makes sence “One’s first step in wisdom is to kuesstion everything – and one’s last is to come to terms with everything.”

  24. I’ve been pretty stressed lately. This site helps to ease the anxiety! ;-)

    Thanks a lot and take care of yourself.

    Mrs. McNamara


  1. [...] It’s been an interesting week of criticism of b5media. We’ve been criticized for everything from selling a site that we never sold (the blogger was confused), to buying a site at a discount and turning a profit almost instantly, to our entire industry failing, to now not paying our bloggers enough. [...]

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