Friday, April 29

BoingBoing and John Battelle - the numbers and the back story

BoingBoing is supposedly now pulling in $40k a month. Not bad for four bloggers considering it was ad revenue free 12 months ago. Especially when you consider it hasn't pissed any of us readers off.

Also included in the excellent article on Business 2.0 is the back story on Nick Denton, his Gawker media and how Peter Rojos split off and joined Jason Calacanis' Weblogs, Inc. and Engadget.

Article: Business 2.0 :: Online Article :: Media Uncovered :: Can Blogging Ever Become Big Business?

"Battelle, best known as the founder of the late, lamented Industry Standard (like seemingly everyone else who ever worked at a new-economy publication, he contributes to this magazine now), is sloooowly pulling the wraps off his next media venture.

Dubbed FM Publishing, it's his personal attempt at building a blog confederacy. (The 'FM' actually stands for 'Federated Media.') But unlike Denton, who publishes only the blogs he finds personally interesting, or Calacanis, who follows the trails of Google (GOOG) AdWords wherever they might lead him, Battelle intends to partner only with bloggers who have decided that their blogs are worth owning and who also already have viable business models.

His plan is to offer himself as a publisher-as-service to blogging entities. He'd aggregate traffic, sell category-specific advertising against the sites in the FM network, and handle the back-end business and tech issues. He's done much of this for BoingBoing, where he's been acting as 'band manager,' as he puts it, for more than a year to generate cash from the site. Calacanis, who is definitely a rising-tide-lifts-all-boats type, offered, via e-mail, this rosy summary of Battelle's accomplishments there: 'John did an amazing job over the past six months taking BoingBoing from ad/revenue-free to ad/revenue-filled without upsetting the user base or the four bloggers. I understand it makes $40k a month and is growing ... so $500,000 a year across five folks is a nice living ... if John can do that 10 more times he has a very powerful business.' (Battelle says, 'We don't talk about numbers, but they are in the right range, if a bit high.') BoingBoing has already signed up as FM Publishing's first client, provided Battelle can get his company off the ground.

What's interesting about Battelle's approach is his stated intention to keep his mitts off everyone's intellectual property. 'I am definitely not saying 'Turn everything over to me,'' he says. Bloggers keep their sites. What's even more interesting is that Battelle -- who is blogging the entire prelaunch experience for public consumption at -- is looking for seed funding from strategic investors, and that he's open to the idea of selling out someday. Taken together, Battelle's philosophy and his business plan signal that 1) blogs are valuable enough to be worth owning, and 2) he's inviting the mainstream media to decide what 'enough' means in the case of ventures as small as his own."

Via: Real money on BoingBoing, at least nothing to sneeze at

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