The Economist looks at how blog publishers are faring online. They first look at personal journals online, and then at:
“The second main kind of blogs are, in effect, niche magazines that choose to publish in a blog format.”
Jason Calacanis, who runs Weblogs Inc, calls the best of these blogs:
“…the most profitable media business today…”
He should know, last year he sold his company to AOL, but has recently decided to leave AOL.
The Economist then looks at a third kind of blog:
“In the old days, we used to be called newsletter publishers,” says Om Malik, a technology writer who quit his job at Business 2.0 magazine in June to work full-time on his blog, GigaOm. He has hired two other writers, and his blog now attracts about 50,000 readers a day, generating “tens of thousands” in monthly revenues. Costs, including salaries, are around $20,000 a month.”
The success of these blogs is due to an “ecosystem of support,” tools provided by blogging networks that allow small blogs who attract a large audience, to scale quickly.
John Battelle, former Wired and Industry Standard heads explains why blogs are so much more compelling than print media:
“…the cost of acquiring an audience was “stupendous”—at Wired it was about $100 per subscriber. The cost of building a readership for a blog, by contrast, is nil.”
Steve Rubel warns lone bloggers with stars in their eyes of six figure salaries from their blogging. These cases do exist, but they are few and far between.
I think the more compelling question here is not whether an individual can suddenly earn six figures via blogging – but whether traditional publishing organizations could be dramatically more successful by pursuing a blogging model, rather than a print model with their website as an ancillary feature.