Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

How Much Is Your Favorite Blog Worth? Less Than It Was a Year Ago (Maybe).

old-printing-pressWhat happens to the value of blogs when advertising craters and big media companies go into a tailspin? They go down, obviously. Except when they don’t.

That’s the lesson you can learn by perusing 24/7 Wall St.’s list of the 25 most valuable blogs and comparing it to the version the two-man publication put together a year ago. Editor Douglas A. MacIntyre has given sharp haircuts to many of the Web publications he assessed last March. But not all of them.

MacIntyre thinks TechCrunch, for instance, is now worth about $25 million; last year he pegged the tech blog’s value at $36 million. Web 2.0 chronicler Mashable has taken a 75 percent drop, from $10 million to $2.5 million.

But MacIntyre also thinks that the uber-aggregator Huffington Post is now worth $90 million, up from $70 million a year ago, even though the site’s political coverage doesn’t have the same appeal it had last fall. And he thinks the most valuable company on his list, Nick Denton’s Gawker Media, is now worth $170 million even though (or perhaps because) Denton has been consolidating his list of titles. Last spring, MacIntyre thought Gawker was worth $150 million.

Since every one of these blogs is a small operation that provides little to no visibility into its financials, every one of these valuations is, at best, an educated guess. And it’s easy to pick nits or arguments with any one of MacIntyre’s valuations. But then again, those arguments are sort of the point of a list like this.

And it’s hard to argue with his overall thesis: The same advertising woes that have caused problems for Yahoo (YHOO), the New York Times and nearly every other big media company are being felt by the little guys too. Maybe even more so since many of the little guys were hoping that the big guys would snap them up, as Condé Nast did with Ars Technica and the Guardian Media Group did with PaidContent last year. Hard to argue that we’ll see deals like these in 2009.

Here’s MacIntyre’s top 10: You can see the full list here.

1.  Gawker Media: $170 million. Last year: $150 million.

2.  Huffington Post: $90 million. Last year: $70 million.

3.  The Drudge Report: $48 million. Last year: $10 million.

4.  Perez Hilton: $32 million. Last year: $48 million.

5.  Sugar, Inc.: $27 million. Last year: Not listed.

6.  TechCrunch. $25 million. Last year: $36 million.

7.  MacRumors. $21 million. Last year: $85 million

8.  SeekingAlpha. $11 million. Last year: $15 million

9.  GigaOm: $9.5 million. Last year: $8.4 million

10. Politico: $8.7 million. Last year: Not listed.

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald