A few days ago, a blog network named 451 Press took off the gloves and named itself the largest blog network in the world based on its sheer size of >300 blogs supposedly being updated daily. They’ve now surpassed b5media in terms of numbers, and I can only guess that the move was deliberate and that the number of blogs they publish means a great deal to them. Numbers are power. Numbers are something you can pull out of your pocket in a number fight and use against your opponent, because numbers never lie… sorta.
If I were running a publishing company with a traditional blog network model (pay writers to write for you, you own the sites and reap the ad revenue, rinse and repeat) I’m not so sure I’d be excited to brand my company the world’s largest blog network based on size. There’s nothing inherently wrong with having a large cache of sites at your disposal, but isn’t it easy to add more sites? The marginal cost of adding another blog is very low because you find a writer and pay them to start writing. You drop them into your default template with some colors switched out and away they go. You are now PREVIOUS_SIZE++.
But what about quality?
I’d say that the marginal cost of increasing the quality or popularity of your single blog is far higher than the marginal cost if increasing your network’s quantity. Like in the previous paragraph, increasing your quantity involves a particular routine — one that blog networks normally have down pat — but what about increasing quality? How does that happen? It’s not as easy as finding your next writer on the street and waiving some money in their face, quality takes both time and effort, two things that do not come quickly. Starting Blog #127 and going from 0 RSS subscribers to 100 RSS subscribers has an effort level of X and a timeline of Y. Moving Blog #127 out of the beginning stages and going from 100 RSS subscribers to 1000 RSS subscribers has an effort level of at least 5X and a timeline of at least 5Y. Starting and getting something going is not complicated, but continuing the upward trend and moving it higher is hard. Maybe that’s why it took 451 Press 300 blogs to make it to 10 million visitors per month because of this same pseudo-scientific formula from up above.
b5media is another traditional-type blog network, but they rank higher on the quality scale than 451 Press does because they’ve stopped adding “blogs every week” like 451 Press but seem to be working harder on the quality end of the spectrum instead of just increasing girth on the quantity end. In case you’re not aware, the celebrity news blog space is insane right now:
- Perez Hilton, one of the most popular celebrity sites on the web, supposedly pushes 26 million pageviews per week based on BlogAds numbers, oh and a premium Flash skyscraper ad for one month will cost over $52k.
It certainly takes more effort to raise a blog from nothing to 7 figure pageviews per week than to simply start 5 or 10 more blogs with no traffic. Celebrity blogs can attain high traffic figures quickly because they reach out to the younger mainstream audience, normally the types of people who are on your site every single day, commenting and participating. b5 has more than a few celebrity blogs, but one of their most popular has a singular focus on Lindsay Lohan one of the most searched for and popular celebs on the web. I’d guess that b5’s celebrity channel is doing so well that they could sink every single other blog they run, drop 2 more writers on each celebrity blog, and still boost revenue. Of course they’re not slacking off either, they write every single day….