Money Money Money
Every man has his price, so goes the saying. Money talks, bullshit walks. There's a line in Carlito's Way
where a mobster is bemoaning the fact that so many soldiers have turned into stool pigeons--"This country will corrupt anything, even the Mafia". Then there's the episode from The Simpsons
where Homer is pricing home security systems after there's a little rioting in Springfield. After learning how expensive it is Homer throws the guy out of his house.
"But Mr. Simpson, you can't put a price on your family's safety!" the salesman says.
"I didn't think so either," Homer says, "But, here we are". And he slams the door.
I'm pretty sure no one started blogging for the money. Those who did are either already professional writers or crazy people. But lately there have been opportunities for bloggers to make a few bucks. You could sign up with Google's AdSense program and make six, even seven cents a day. You could get sponsors like the good people you see linked to on the right.
Or you could sell your blog to some corporate monolith looking to buy into the newest publishing medium. A month or so ago AOL bought Weblogs Inc, a company started just two years ago that was a network of blogs. The price was between $25 and $40 million bucks, a nice little pile.
A nice enough pile that it caught the attention of all sorts of folks who wondered if this might help set the parameters of what a blog is "worth". If bloggers are ever to make money it would help if advertisers or investors had even a faint idea of what kind of return they might enjoy.
So a writer named Tristan Louis did some digging and crunched some numbers according to Technorati's rating of the blogs AOL bought and wrote an article
about what kind of traffic AOL was getting for it's money. It makes for an interesting read.
And then a gentleman named Dane Carlson took that info and built a calculator
that tells you how much your blog is worth according to how AOL valued Weblogs sites. Plug in your URL, hit the button, and out spits a number.
Now, there are some other variables in play here, to be sure. Louis' article mentions the fact that Weblogs had some proprietary software that AOL might have been interested in, and that would of course skew the price. And as I played with the calculator I saw that there were sites I know get more traffic than I do who were valued far below mine (though traffic isn't the sole, or biggest, driver of value). I mentioned the site to Bill
who also had his doubts about the accuracy of the calculator's algorithm.
Still, it's all good clean greedy fun. The first time I put my URL in, and it spat this back to me I nearly sprained my eyebrows, they went up so fast:
My blog is worth more than my house
? Well, no. Because--and this is the part of capitalism that I positively HATE--a item is worth only what another person is willing to pay for it. Just because an autographed, game-worn Mario Lemieux jersey may fetch two grand on eBay doesn't mean I should expect two dimes in exchange for the T-shirt I wore to volleyball last night. That I believe it should be worth a lot more than the $7.99 I paid for it doesn't amount to a hill of beans.
Nor does it mean this humble blog is worth $151K. Though...if you DO think it's worth that much, please, PLEASE drop me a line and we'll talk some turkey. Hey, if you pay me in cash...5% discount!