Blogging 1.0 (continued)

Possibly my most popular post ever was one called Blogging 1.0.

It got 20 trackbacks and god only knows how many more links.

It was a long missive about the early experiments in "citizen’s media" like Geocities and About.com.

I wrote it about five months ago in early February.

So much has happened in the ensuing five months that its time to return to this topic.

First, About.com was purchased by The New York Times Company for $410 million in late February. I blogged about that deal at the time and I think it was a very smart move for the Times to make.

But more importantly, Blogging 2.0 has developed to the point that the $410 million that The New York Times paid for About.com is going to look really cheap in a few years.

Take Weblogs Inc for example.  Everyone knows Jason Calacanis and he certainly is a controversial figure.  But how can you not be impressed with what he’s built on a Blogging 2.0 platform in less than two years.

Just one of his blogs, Engadget.com, does about the same traffic as Slashdot.com does.  Here are the Alexa stats:

Engadget_vs_slashdot

That’s just one of his blogs.

Then there’s his blog on cars, Autoblog.  How does it compare to the websites of Motortrend and Popular Mechanics?  Glad you asked.  Here are the Alexa stats on that:

Autoblog

That’s just one more of his blogs.

This Blogging 2.0 model is really really powerful.  It takes between $25k and $50k to launch one of Weblogs’ blogs.

Jason is not alone. Nick Denton is doing the same thing with Gawker Media.  In fact, Nick invented this model.  Jason paid him the ultimate compliment by copying it pretty much verbatim.

And the Gawker Media properties have similar action.

Here is Gawker vs MetroNew York (the New York Magazine site). It’s not even a contest.

Gawker

And here is Defamer vs Variety.com.

Defamer

I talked to Nick and Jason this week about the ways they monetize these sites.  Although they do "sell" advertising, most of the action is in ad networks and related "automated" ways they monetize their content.  There are probably 50 or more advertising services vendors of one sort or another knocking on their doors to get their ad systems onto the Weblogs and Gawker properties.

This puts them in a position of incredible leverage, both with the vendors, and with their businesses.  The money just rolls in.  The traffic keeps going up.  And profits start flowing.  Soon they will be big profits.

When is a major media company, other than The New York Times, going
to wake up and realize that they need some of this Blogging 2.0 mojo? 

If they do it soon, they might be able to pay less than the $410
million that The New York Times paid to get its Blogging 2.0 platform.

If they wait, these businesses are going to sell for a lot more than About.com sold for.  Meanwhile, Scott Meyer and his team at About.com are going to reinvent About.com to look like these businesses.  It’s where the action is in online publishing today.

The scalability and leverage of the Blogging 2.0 publishing model is really mind blowing.