24/7 Wall St has a post
(hat tip Silicon Valley Insider
) asking who is going to buy the big blogs.
Take Huffington. According to research firm Compete, it has an audience almost as large as the online version of the Philadelphia Inquirer. As a part of a larger newspaper organization like The New York Times (NYT) or Washington Post (WPO), that audience could probably be much bigger. NYT and WPO need a Huffington or two. Their internet revenues are under 10% of their total and not growing fast enough to keep up with falling print sales. Huffington has raised $10 million in VC money. What is it worth? $100 million. Maybe more. Worth it for The Times or The Post. With the trouble that are in, yes.
The big tech blogs are even larger than Huffington.
According to internet measurement service, TechCrunch has an audience about a third of CNet (CNET). And CNet is in bad shape. It's blog business has not caught on. In early 2006, its shares were $16. Now they trade at under $8. Do they need a way to improve their reach and image with the online tech crowd?
The $100 million evaluation may be steep - even fairy tale steep
- but there's no question the major media companies will start looking to acquire the big blogs. Technically, they already have started. TreeHugger
, which ranks 17th on the Technorati 100
, recently sold
for an estimated $10 million so the higher ranked and higher trafficked Huffington Post
sites should be able to sell for over $10 million. Some traffic may be lost if there is no talent movement
as part of the deal. If the blog's founder(s) do not continue to blog following a sale people might lose interest in the bog. There is also the risk that a blog may not be as interesting once it is no longer independent. But popular blogs have constant traffic, large numbers of feed subscribers, tens of thousands of inbound links and large archives of content. At some point it will be easier for the big media companies to just buy the wheel rather than try to reinvent it.