AOL pays anywhere from $15 million to $25 million for Weblogs Inc., a network of 85 sites. What does this mean, exactly, you hoo blogger?
PaidContent.org reports that Weblogs annual revenue may be about $2 million a year. AOL’s purchase price – many multiples above the gross revenue — is a big bet on the future of blogs.
Weblogs properties, such as Engadget, aren’t worth millions of dollars alone. The value is in the network. The Network.
Weblogs is a top-down network, as I understand it — most of the blogs were created after the company was formed. Weblogs Inc. solicited ideas for blogs on its Web site.
Will this sale prompt established bloggers to form bottom-up networks — merge existing blogs and build them out?
Will AOL rivals buy up the rights to independent blogs and assemble networks that way?
Or will media firms clone the best concepts and ideas generated by independent bloggers and assemble fresh brands?
Regardless, this sale moves blogging solidly into version 2.0. The 1.0 version was the great awakening thanks to the presidential election. Now that blogs have readers, the commercialization begins on a large scale.
And if I were to place bets on the next big move among bloggers, it will be in the direction of collaboration, consolidation — more intensive traffic building strategies which take more people — and networks. If the value is in the network, bloggers with a taste for profits will build networks.
Sometimes, when companies are bought the new owners sell off divisions to unpack value for shareholders. But in the case of Weblogs, the message here is that the sum is worth more than parts.