Tell us a little about this deal and what it means for b5media?
So the deal is fairly basic at this point. We’re launching some blogs with a company called VIP Fan Clubs. We bring great writers and good traffic to the table, and they bring some really passionate fans to the table. We’re hopeful that ultimately what will happen is that the two communities will engage one another and feed one another.
Fundamentally we believe this is important for the blog network industry. We don’t want to say this is going to shift the entire industry, because it’s not. But it’s a really interesting experiment, and one we want to see play out.
Do you see future co-branded blog opportunities like this for b5media?
Definitely. I believe that the more we can provide value in terms of content and traffic, the more major companies will see that it’s a no-brainer decision. Free content. Free management. Free technology. Free support. All they have to do is provide permission, access and reciprocal advertising. It really is a low-key kind of partnership and is definitely something we want to see increase and improve.
Can you shed some light into what the next six months will bring for
the b5media network?
Ha. Well, there are a number of things we’re looking at doing. Internally, we see the 3 key priorities over the next 6 months as community, advertising and platform. I don’t really want to get too much more into the items, for fear of giving away where we’re going, but we do believe that we need to engage, participate in and create communities; that we need to provide greater advertising value; and that our platform needs to be more scaleable, more managed and more integrated.
Many are proclaiming the coming death of blog networks before the
year’s out – what’s your thoughts about this?
While anything is possible, it’s certainly not something that we’re seeing. I’m not going to say where we’re at stats-wise, but it’s certainly at a healthy level.
Realistically, we’ve been saying for 4-6 months that there was consolidation, failure and innovation coming to the industry. There are still more than 100 blog networks out there. And there is a growing valley between the “haves” and “have-nots” in the blog network industry.
So, yes, lots of shakeups coming. Lots of consolidation. Lots of failures. Lots of new ideas.
That’s different than proclaiming the death of an industry. I think some watchers are seeing this coming change and calling it death, but really it’s just a healthy part of all cycles. All industries go wide, then the best players survive and thrive. Typically, though, there are only 2-5 “big” companies and a dozen small ones.
Playing as a small one can work, but the reality is that there simply isn’t enough space in any industry for hundreds of companies to succeed, survive and thrive.
Obviously we’d like b5media to be one of those companies that do survive and thrive, but ultimately it will be down to great strategy and kickass execution. So let’s see where the industry is at in a year, and see which strategy, and which execution style really works.
Care to comment on your venture capital aspirations for b5media?
Sure! Our VC aspirations are to get 100M$ and to return that 100x to our investors ;-) Too bad aspirations are different than reality!
Thanks to Jeremy and the b5media gang for taking the time for this interview!
Matt Craven is the former editor & publisher of The Blog Herald. Currently, Matt is the co-founder of Bryghtpath LLC, a consulting practice located in Woodbury, Minnesota. Matt's presently looking for new blogging gigs. Ping him at matt (at) bryghtpath dot com. You can follow him on Twitter.