SFChronicle: Blogs can be businesses

The San Francisco Chronicle has a story about blogs as businesses, featuring comments from Mike Arrington of TechCrunch, Lisa Stone of BlogHer, Jon Callaghan of True Ventures (which is an investor in Om Malik’s GigaOm.com), Nick Denton of Gawker, John Battelle of Federated Media and Brian Sugar of PopSugar.com — the latter being one of the most successful blog networks, but not one that gets mentioned much because it’s mostly aimed at women.

Although there isn’t a huge amount in the story that we haven’t read in previous profiles of Mike and other professional bloggers (including one in BusinessWeek, which featured the infamous photo of Mike lighting a cigar with $100 bills), there are a few tidbits, including the fact that TechCrunch now has a full-time staff of eight, it and various related blogs get 1.2 million visitors a month and the company makes about $240,000 in revenue per month. According to Mike, he has also walked away from four venture capital deals because:

“Every time we almost did a round (of financing), we grew so fast the terms didn’t make sense anymore.”

Nick Denton Of Gawker.com, meanwhile, does his typical modest-mouse routine, in which he argues that blogs really aren’t that great and while a few people might be scratching out a living he doesn’t see it amounting to much:

“A few self-sustaining blog media businesses do seem to have emerged… but they’re still minuscule by the standards of traditional media. And none have weathered a downturn. So it would be unwise to sound too triumphant.”

But my favourite quote of all goes to Brian Sugar, who has turned a blog he started with his wife into a network of 11 covering everything from fashion to health, with a staff of 56 people and five million visitors a month. Sequoia has invested $10-million and NBC has put in $5-million. Does Sugar want to sell? No. Why? “This may be a weird answer,” he said, “but I’m having way too much fun.”


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