I read this story over the weekend on Tim O’Reilly’s blog, and this New York Times article sums it up well. According to VC Jeremy Liew, the traffic required to get a content site earning $50 million a year in ad revenue is impossibly high – around 200 milllion pageviews a month minimum for a highly targetted site and up to 4 billion a month for a general interest site. And let’s face it, could there be one thing, or genre or topic that 6,666,666 million people a day could reliably be interested in checking out?
But – if you and three of your friends would like to make a decent living, or you have visions of setting up a nicely narrowcasted blog network a la B5 media, that’s another matter. Making a nice living with low overhead is possible with the ad revenue from small, highly targetted sites, something that O’Reilly called a “lifestyle business”; in other words, you’ll never make a fortune, but you also won’t have to work for The Man, and can wear your pajamas all day.
I was in the process of writing a post on Liew’s “Three ways to build ..” post when I came across your blog and poked around. I like your thoughful approach and visual sensibility.
There has to be other revenue models for social media than advertising – which is the only revenue model Liew considers.
It seems to me that if you have a social site you have access to piles of aggregrated data that has value – for determinig trends, bland loyalties, product development interests etc. None of this need compromise the contributors or disclose their identies.
The issue in my mind is that social meda sites still think like old media believing that the value of a property is to assemble an audience and them sell mass or targeted ads to it.
Applying even a bit of data mining seems to produce someting that may be of much greater value to companies than advertisements – current timely market direction information.
Hi Peter, thank you for your kind words – and you raise an excellent point. Even if you want to take the “old media” approach and sell ads to an assembled audience, if you can deliver a group that is finely targetted and likely to be receptive, their value increases tremendously – as do the figures your rate card.
That’s without even considering some of the other options you suggest, which are benefits we see our clients receive every single day they continue to engage in the conversation with their market.