Blog network b5media is revamping their pay scheme, and that means a lot less money for the bloggers. More or less every blog within the network will see a drop in revenue because of this. TechCrunch broke the story by posting a memo from CEO Jeremy Wright, in which the following is key:
I’m sure by now you’ve run your blog through the system above and realized that (with a handful of exceptions), due to the change to Omniture as a stats package, your pay will go down. For some it will go down significantly. Obviously this isn’t the intent of the new pay system, it was just the flaw in the previous stats package. For the last two years, b5 has been effectively paying bloggers 2-3x more in traffic bonuses than they were actually getting. While, again, this isn’t a blogger’s fault, neither is the new pay system about “cutting pay”. Any reduction in pay is due almost exclusively to the reality of using an inaccurate pay system in the past vs an industry standard third-party audited system going forward.
Jeremy Wright has tried to respond to the post, but his comments are apparently getting caught in moderation, so he posted it on his blog for now. He points out the obvious culprit:
As an industry, as you know, blogging (or at least media style blogging) has had to evolve its analytics and stats. Gone are the days where one company can say they have 30MM pageviews/month another can say 50MM and another can say 70MM and they all be telling the truth when their actual traffic is actually the same.
It appears that b5media have been relying on AWStats for statistics, and paid accordingly. This surprises me, since it is very much old media, just as Webalizer and other server log based statistic programs are.
I can understand that it feels great to quote these stats, because they are always better than things collected by, say, Google Analytics or Sitemeter. However, advertisers won’t be basing their pageviews on statistics sent by AWStats, at least not media agencies that knows what they’re doing. They have their own trackers, and naturally, the only pageview that gets tracked is one that actually exists. AWStats will show more than that.
So while this revamp in payment on b5media’s behalf will indeed decrease revenue for the bloggers within the network, I really can’t get upset by it. Then again, I’m not losing any money since I’m not blogging for b5, and the ones that are might feel otherwise. In fact, we might see more than a few jump ship.
I’m looking forward to following this story, especially since blog networks seems to be in transition. As you probably know, Nick Denton’s Gawker blog network have cut their pay several times already, AOL closed some blogs, and Know More Media went out of business, so this is hardly the last we’ll see along these lines.
Expect more on this soon. Meanwhile, it would be interesting to hear from b5media bloggers. What do you think of the new pay scheme?
Thord Daniel Hedengren is a designer, writer, and blogger, and also the former editor of The Blog Herald. He used to be a hotshot in the gaming industry in Sweden, but sold everything and went International. Most recently he wrote a book called Smashing WordPress: Beyond the Blog, and does loads of kickass design.