Big Blog vs. Many Small Blogs
Jason Calacanis mentioned in his blog that aside from WIN blogs and Gawker blogs, there are no other top blogs out there, and even cited b5media as a well-funded network without a carrier blog anyone can name (well, maybe except for Problogger.net or the other acquired blogs including one of our very own editors here, Tony’s Deep Jives Interest).
b5media CEO Jeremy Wright blogs back and explains why his media network does not have top guns, adding the fact that their model is different from what Jason or Nick treaded on. The question of one big blog vs. a dozen smaller blogs was raised and Jeremy clarifies their business approach.
It is hard to compare a single popular blog against a score of medium-to-small blogs in a certain niche. However, business and operation-wise, the single popular blog approach will have some definite advantage.
- Technically, it’s easier to manage since there’s only one blog to take care of.
- Fewer bloggers needed to run it. If you have 15 small blogs, you need at least (or around) 15 bloggers to write for all of them. A single popular blog can have 3 or 4 doing rotations. That also means you have fewer people on the payroll.
- You have a single ad folio. Selling one huge blog to advertisers is easier than a group of smaller ones. You also attract bigger clients. How else can you get bigwigs like Intel, Microsoft or Apple to advertise on your blog?
- First to exclusives. Obviously, the popular blog will have more access to exclusives or scoops and the smaller ones will be left feeding off the news that the big one got (though this is not always the case). Remember the Engadget-Gizmodo traffic charts during iPhone day?
This is not to say that the b5media model is not a sound model. It’s an interesting one, IMO. The fact that they got funding for this idea is enough proof that there is promise in the community play model. It’s success will ultimately measured on how the community play can be cohesive enough to highlight the channel and not the individual blog. But, what if one of the blogs do become popular?
Frankly, I don’t think B5’s model is going to work. You can’t make enough money off these small blogs, and advertisers want to spend a lot of money and get a lot of reach–they are not interested in small audiences in large part (an exception being B2B publications).
Anyone can create 500 blogs in a month and say they have the biggest network, but what does it mean if Engadget, Autoblog, PerezHilton, or BoingBoing.net get more traffic in a single day/week than all B5 in a month/qtr/year!??!
The market for small niche blog is best left to individual bloggers running ads from Federated, BlogAds, TRibalFusion, and Google. There just isn’t a market in it for a network. Also, you invest the same amount in a small blog in many ways (tech, logo, design, sales, etc) than you do a large blog. Why would you put all that effort into a blog about one TV show!??! makes no sense… the TV show will go away at some point and the audience will have to learn another domain name. With TVSquad you’ll know that brand for 10-20-30 years I’m sure.
b5 media has great people, and I don’t mean to pick on them, but it’s the wrong model. I know this because I tried it back in the early days of WIN.
I’d much rather debate with Jason in person on this, as I’m sure it’d be a lively debate. Ultimately, though, only time will tell if the model works or not. So far, it appears to.
I’ve explained why we do what we do. If it doesn’t work, we’ll adapt and evolve. But until there are signals that it isn’t working (like advertisers not being interested), it’s simply too early to throw in the towel and do it someone else’s way. As long as we keep meeting or exceeding every one of our projections, we’ll keep moving along our blog, product, platform, syndication and partner release roadmaps :)
You make a good point of course. Businesses believe that if they can reach 1 million people a percentage is liable to stumble upon their product. But if I can generate 100 definite leads from only 500 eyeballs, my money is on the qualified leads and not the by accident leads.
I would say that Jeremy’s model is not the best for branding but for a business to get good qualified leads it is probably a great model.
Easy to talk about a big blog being better than many small ones when you have one. But doesn’t every blog start small and, if it’s any good, grow? It takes time to build a blog into something that can swallow little ones without noticing and time is what Jason has had. For all we know, some of the tiddler blogs of today will be the great sharks of tomorrow (and then their owners can wag their fingers at all the latecomers and tell them they need big blogs, not little ones). It’s an old, old story and only time will tell.