Perhaps another sign of the blogosphere’s evolution is the growing number of blogs being put up for sale. The Blog Herald, for example, changed hands twice last year; Aaron Brazell just put his personal blog, Technosailor, on the block, while b5media is approached on a fairly regular basis by people looking to sell their blogs. According to a story by Frank Barnako, about 400 blogs a month are being sold via auction through SitePoint. BlogCatalog, for example, recently sold for $40,0000 (here’s the SitePoint listing).
It’s an interesting marketplace because many blogs are personal vehicles so the “value” has much to do with the person writing the blog as much as the traffic and content. For blog buyers, the issue is whether the brand is strong enough so does the audience stick around if the original writer moves on. If TechCrunch, for example, is sold, would it keep most of its readers if Michael Arrington, who for all intents and purposes is TechCrunch, was no longer involved?
Given the personal nature of blogs, putting a value on them has to be a challenging exercise. Do you rely on traffic, unique visitors, RSS subscribers or advertising revenue? If you rely on ad revenue, do you use a ROI formula based on the number of months to get your purchase costs back? BlogCatalog, for example, makes $1750 a month from advertising – giving it a sales to monthly ad revenue ratio of about 23 times.
But what about a site such as Technosailor that comes with no revenue (it belongs to b5) but a page rank of 6, a top-2600 ranking within Technorati, 3,250 inbound Google links and a top-rank ranking in Google, Yahoo and Ask for the search term “myspace blogs”? How much is Technosailor worth if you believe it has lots of revenue potential.
Of course, the value of blogs has much to do with their focus and industry. A site focused on a hot area such as video may be worth more than someone who writes a personal blog about a particular topic. In any event, the blog market will probably heat up this year as the blogosphere becomes more mainstream and “enterprising” entrepreneurs try to capitalize on the “value” – perceived or not – of their blogs.
Update: Technosailor received a bid of $23,500 but it was later withdrawn when Aaron Brazell, Technosailor’s owner, couldn’t get a few final details worked out. So, it’s back on the block with a start price of $7,500.