I received an email tip via Performancing today about some key b5media personalities having to leave the network–one of the bigger blog/new media networks today, in terms of content and contributorship. Foremost of these is AboutWeblogs.com founder and b5media “co-founder” Shai Coggins. In a blog post today, Shai explains the circumstances behind her leaving b5.
Even with the fresh injection of funding, the economic times aren’t cooperating.
So, it all ended with another Skype chat. Well, sort of. On the 14th of January 2009, I used Skype to pay for the call to the b5 conference line – where the company COO and CEO broke the news to me.
Times are tough.
And that’s how it ends.
I’m not sure I am at liberty to quote or discuss the actual contents of the email, as it appears to be privileged communication between Jeremy Wright and his fellow b5’ers. But it appears that this move was due to some belt-tightening measures that the company has had to do in line with its trimming of costs, refocusing of strategies and exploring of new opportunities.
I know these are tough times, and I guess new media outfits are as vulnerable to the economic downturn as everyone else. Does this signal that monetization that is based on CPM (cost per impression, which is prevalent among big blog networks) models is suffering? Or perhaps this is an all-encompassing phenomenon, after all, which includes other business models like cost-per-click, sponsorship and the like.
Are we facing a “bubble” of sorts, about to burst at a moment’s notice?
For one, I think other business models like subscription and consultancy are still thriving (or surviving?), as is the case with some of the brands I manage for Splashpress Media. There is only so much that you can earn from a “free” mode of content delivery. But premium services, when marketed well, could still do well in an environment like this. Take for instance premium themes and premium theme clubs, which have grown in popularity of late.
One thing’s for sure in these troubled times. Times are surely tough, but people can be tougher, in our ability to change, adapt, and improvise. I’m with Shai in quoting Gregory Peck: Tough times don’t last, but tough people do.