The Blog Market - ROI?

“I’m not being evil by questioning this one - I’m being a businessman”

Can anyone explain to me the ROI of buying a blog? No that’s not a fair question, what I mean is from a business perspective if I were to outlay what I consider a large amount of cash - not that I would - to buy an established blog with advertising, how would I recoup that large amount? Stylegala, for example, earns US$2500 per month but at $30,000 its quite a leap of faith before I’d make my money back. I’m only using Stylegala as a generic example and its price is considerably lower than some purchases in this area so this is in no way an attack on its institution. Standardistas and probloggers stand back behind the line and be civil.

Because I’m not being evil by questioning this one - I’m being a businessman. Math tells me if all things being equal and it continued at the current earnings it would take a year to recoup my $30,000 but that’s not necessarily going to be the case. Different management, a slight shift in taste of selection, not being a part of the seller’s relationships, overheads of hosting and providing ongoing content - in short you could find a substantial loss. After all these are only websites. Do you buy credibility? More similar blogs come into the arena every day so you have to be sure you can retain that differentiating X factor that keeps people visiting - and convert it to cash or kind. By kind I mean other tangible and non-tangible business benefits.

Lets use another example - Duncan Riley’s Blog Herald. I’m not sure of the going price his Weblog Empire went for but one stitch that made Blog Herald was Duncan. Today is my first visit back there in a while. So my point is you not only have to buy the product but you have to continue “as if” the original owners were there. And users aren’t necessarily going to pretend you’re Duncan either (insert one of Duncan’s abusive tantrums, rinse and repeat). Being on top is one thing, any business - or boxer for that matter - will tell you staying on top is another thing entirely.

Imagine if Steve Rubel sold Micro Persuasion?!

Could we reproduce his knowledge, credibility and persona? I doubt it. Many of these blogs are the personalities that shaped them and not “just” a website.

I thought ‘The Bubble’ taught us one thing above all others - bricks and mortar need to be behind these business moves. I’m seeing more and more Web 2.0 Companies getting multi-million dollar backing as well, which is kind of worrying.

So, out of interest, if anyone can explain to me from a business perspective why exactly it would be good to invest large sums in someone else’s blog then I’d be eager to listen. Not to blind evangalistic rhetoric but to the real business reasons why “someone else’s” blog is the way to go.

[Now feel free to shoot me, electrocute me or pulverise me senseless with a pillowcase of D sized batteries for daring to ask the sacred cow questions of blogging - where do I stop and my blog begin? What is a blog worth to someone else - really?]

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