I’ve been getting about 50 emails a day about Weblogs, Inc., a company I co-founded with my longtime friend Brian Alvey. Brian is one of the smartest people I’ve met in my life and we’ve known each other since high school, having worked on a number of projects together over the years (CyberSurfer magazine, Silicon Alley Reporter, VentureReporter.net and Meet The Makers to name a few).
Brian and I concieved of the Weblogs, Inc. idea at the Knicks game where they raised Patrick Ewing’s number to the rafters last year.
The concept of Weblogs, Inc. has attracted a ton of attention in the week since it launched and I thought I would take some time, as the Chairman, to give my perspective on it.
What is your role in Weblogs, Inc.?
I’m the co-founder and Brian’s partner on it. I have no day-to-day operational role in the company. Brian is the CEO and makes the daily decisions. I’m working full-time for Wicks Business running VentureReporter.net, the company they bought from me in April.
When is the Weblogs, Inc. IPO, and can I get friends and family stock?
You’re kidding right? Publishing companies have a hard enough time going public, let alone a weblog company. I mean, Nick Denton has the most successful blog in the space and he’s making less than $25,000 a year from it. Then again, Rafat Ali is making $70,000 a year off of PaidContent.org, so I wouldn’t say the space is a bust.
I hear you’ve raised, or are raising, a round of venture capital for Weblogs, Inc. Is this true?
Our policy is not to comment about such issues.
Do you think it is wrong to commercialize blogs?
The name of the company is Weblogs, INC. We have no interest in working for free and we think bloggers should be able to make their own minds up if they want to use blogging tools for profit, fun, or both.
This reminds me of the early days of the web. You remember when Hotwired.com and Netscape started posting banners and everyone started complaining that it was the death of the Internet? Well, that is what is happening now. A few people who were first to the Weblog space are upset that some people are planning to make money off it. Ironically, the person who has critized me the most Nick Denton is commericalizing blogs eight way to Sunday!
What is your deal with bloggers?
We’ve come up with what we think is a compelling option for bloggers who want to make money off of their blogs. Basically we are partnering with bloggers to create niche b2b blogs. We provide the business and administration (i.e. software, sales, accounting, etc.) and the blogger provides the blog entries. We split any profits that come after hard costs which we define as a) sales commissions (20-30%) and b) credit card fees (1.5-4%). The bloggers own all of their content and can leave our network at any time. We own the network and we get to keep a copy of the blogs in our archive should the blogger leave to start their own blog in the future.
Is this a good deal? Well, it you want to start a blog today, not spend any money doing it and start making money immediately, then yes. If you want to own your own brand, do all the business functions yourself and not work with anyone, then clearly no. If you have an existing blog and you’re looking to move to our platform you probably have to think about it because you’re giving up your domain and gaining a sales and opertational force.
The bottom line is that if the blogger is happy and makes money, we make money. If the blogger is not happy and doesn’t make money, neither do we. It is a partnership and that’s not for everyone. Plain and simple.
I heard you’re going to have 500 blogs, really?
Our goal is to launch a blog or two a week for the next year. On that pace we think we can get to 100 in about a year. If this all works having a couple of hundred in a couple of years doesn’t seem far-fetched.
How much money do you think a blog can make?
We think a b2b blog can make anywhere from $250 to $2,000 a week today. Now, this will vary by blog and industry obviously. Rafat claims to make $70,000 a year (or a little about $1,500 a week) and Nick Denton claims to make $24,000 a month on two blogs (or $12,000 each, which is $250 a week). We can’t guarantee this, but we are going to be giving bloggers the first $500 a month so that if the blog is low revenue they can at least make something before the 50-50% split comes into play.
How are you going to make money?
We have a number of revenue streams planned. You’ll see them on the sites as they are launched. None of them are radically different then what has been done on the Web previously.