March 08, 2004
Nick Denton: “No one's going to get rich off blogging”
New York magazine's NewYorkMetro.com talked to Jason Calacanis about Weblogs, Inc., and the inevitable comparison and competition with Nick Denton, the blog-emperor who owns Gizmodo, Gawker, and Fleshbot (possibly not safe for work).
Denton is quoted in the story as saying that no one will be getting rich off weblogs, but my anecdotal evidence suggests otherwise. I've been making enough money off roughly 1,000 page views a day to more than cover a car payment, and Denton's sites must draw many times the traffic of my couple of weblogs. Maybe he means “nobody but Nick Denton will get rich off weblogging.”
I don't read magazines nearly as much as I used to, and most of that information now comes through the web, so it logically follows that advertisers trying to reach me would now be better served by the web.
Calacanis is setting things up so that webloggers (at least the stars, like Rojas) have an ownership stake in their projects, where Denton takes a more traditional publishing attitude: My press, my profits.
Long term, I think the friction-free press on the web is going to drive things toward Calacanis' model, and away from Denton's.
I also envision the neighborhood paper/advertiser will eventually be replaced by weblogs. The neighbor papers are at a number of disadvantages to weblogs:
1) They're expensive to print, which means they have to be dominated by advertising, and need lots of stories to counterbalance the ads. Since the staff is typically tiny, you get a lot of press releases or thinly disguised press releases.
2) They have to be delivered. The delivery person/people have to be paid, and they deliver to people who immediately throw the paper away.
3) They have to print even when there's essentially nothing going on.
Neighborhoods are just a special case of the special-purpose categories that weblogs are doing a very good job of covering (and uncovering).
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