The Twenty-Five Most Valuable Blogs in America – 2010

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3. Drudge Report.

Valuation: $50 million.

Drudge would be worth more but its value is highly dependent on the fate of founder Matt Drudge. The site’s unique visitors are higher than last year, up about 30% to 13 million. That may improve as the midterm elections near. Drudge posts its own figures for visitors on its homepage, but the numbers are ridiculously high. The quality of the site’s advertising has risen and CPM per page should be $6 this year. Based on 24/7 Wall St.’s pageview estimates, Drudge revenue in 2010 will be nearly $13 million. The company is very inexpensive to run, and our estimates put operating income at $6.5 million after sales costs are taken into account.

4. PopSugar Media.

Valuation: $40 million.

The family of sites for young women has about 14 million unique visitors a month. Household income of the people who go to these sites is relatively low. The company is one of the more likely M&A targets on this list because it delivers a large audience, is only moderately dependent on its founders and is inexpensive to operate. PopSugar has more than 12 major branded sites, several of which target visitors outside the US. Our estimated CPM per page is $8. Revenue based on 24/7 Wall St. pageview estimates is $11.5 million. Sugar Inc. has full-time and part-time staff of close to 100. Operating profit is nearly $3 million.

5. MacRumors.

Valuation: $37 million.

The leading site on all things Apple, this property has significantly improved the quality of its adverting from last year. The site has 7 million unique visitors. CPM per page is up to $10. Revenue is $9 million. The company has less than a dozen full-time employees and freelance writers. NetShelter Technology sells the site’s advertising inventory. Operating profit is $2.5 million.

6. Cheezburger Network.

Valuation: $35 million.

A collection of sites best known for IcanhasCheezburger? The properties focus on oddball humor for the “X” and “Y” generations. The company also owns Fail Blog which is a collection of picture and videos of people in the midst of failing at things and of things that are themselves failures. The network has 11.8 million unique visitors and 110 million pageviews. The sites have a CPM per page of $8 and revenue of $10.5 million. The company is constantly starting new sites which it keeps or kills quickly based on traffic. Operating profit of $4 million.

7. Perez Hilton.

Valuation: $32 million.

The celebrity news site, which is an increasingly crowded field dominated by large media companies, has 6 million unique visitors a month. Advertising is sold by the BlogAds network. CPMs remain low, as was true last year, but the number of premium ads is up and our CPM estimate per page is now $8. Revenue for the site is $5.4 million. Perez Hilton has an extremely small editorial staff and nearly no general and administrative costs. Operating income before what the owner takes out of the business is over $2.2 million. The site’s value is dependent to a large extent on its founder.

8. SB Nation Network.

Valuation: $30 million.

A network of blogs which covers nearly 300 teams and other sports related topics. The content is created by paid editorial staff and large fan groups, which keeps its operating costs low. Nearly 8 million unique visitors. Ninety million pageviews driven by a rabid fan base. Revenue of $5.4 million and $3.3 million in operating income due to employee count of about 30 compared to the huge number of sites under its management. Company proves the maxim that “sports are fundamentally local.”

9. Funnyordie.

Valuation: $24 million.

A site that aggregates humor videos, based on whether viewers think they are funny or should be killed – a cross between Reddit and YouTube. Founded by a number of well-known comedians including Will Ferrell, the site says “Funny Or Die has offices in Japan, Madagascar and Bahn, nine full-time lobbyists in Washington and an elite private security force consisting of four hundred soldiers and six attack helicopters.” The site has more than 11 million unique visitors and 40 million pageviews. CPMs of $14 push ad revenue to $6.7 million. Staff of 35 or so and operating profit of $3.4 million. The value of this site depends heavily on the celebrities involved.

10. Mashable.

Valuation: $20 million.

Pageviews of 40 million and a high CPM of $15. Revenue of $7.2 million. Staff and freelance contributors are close to 30. Operating profit is $1.4 million. The company claims it is “one of the top 10 blogs worldwide.” Metrics say otherwise. Company success is heavily dependent on celebrefounder, Pete Cashmore, who was named one the Forbes Top 25 Web Celebrities.