7. Seeking Alpha
> Value: $45 million
Seeking Alpha has one of the most original business models among the sites on 24/7’s list. The investing site aggregates over 200 posts a day from nearly 400 regular bloggers around the world on subjects ranging from corporate earnings to mutual funds and ETFs. The content from these authors was free to SA for years. The company has begun to pay the authors modest amounts in the last year, still keeping its cost of content extremely low. The breadth of the content helps the site draw hundreds of thousands of investors. Seeking Alpha carries a moderate amount of brokerage and financial service advertising, which has relatively high CPMs. Founder David Jackson is not very visible and the site has a large staff, so founder risk is low.
8. Cheezburger Network
> Value: $41 million
Cheezburger is perhaps the best example of a site that responds quickly to the changing tastes of the Internet. It began as a site based around pictures of cats with silly phrases attached. Today, the network identifies new Internet touchstones, known as Internet memes, and quickly builds a site around them. Content is driven by user submissions and editorial selection — a business with low costs. Paying for bloggers is cheap. We suspect paying people to identify funny pictures is even cheaper. Though revenue is limited by a low CPM, its large scale makes this a good business.
> Value: $39 million
Pete Cashmore and his site’s prolific bloggers are the evangelists of social media. Founded only a few years ago out of his parents’ home in Scotland, Cashmore has turned Mashable into the most influential blog on the intersection of social media and business. Because of the subject matter it covers, Mashable often gains traffic from sites like Twitter and Facebook. The impressive lineup from premium advertisers reflects well on the site. Similarly, its successful number of conferences may be an even better indicator. According to a recent article in the New York Times, the blog does not rely on outside investors for financing, and instead has “financed its expansion […] by steadily increasing revenue and carefully managing expenses.” That goes a long way to improve valuation.
> Value: $32 million
Om Malik is one of the original tech bloggers who was able to turn his writing into a large business. The original site, started in 2006, was rudimentary, with only several posts a day, mostly by Malik himself. The advantage was that Malik had been a tech journalist for years and knew the business and many of its characters intimately. He was part of the original Forbes.com editorial team in 1997. In recent years, GigaOm has added sites and new features, including sections on broadband, Apple, cloud computing, and video. According to Malik, together the GigaOm channels have over 4 million monthly readers. The company also runs several profitable conferences. It also has a business that is rare among blogs. It has premium research products that start at $199 a year. These are created by a network of over 80 experts.
11. Perez Hilton
> Value: $29 million
Perez Hilton is a mainstay of the online gossip world. This is particularly impressive because the blog competes with People.com, Us, TMZ, and dozens of other celebrity sites. Hilton still has an impressive 9 million visitors a month. The site’s founder, Perez Hilton, is somewhat of a celebrity of his own. He appears regularly on television and at celebrity events. He is known as a blogger who often writes negatively about celebrities, a practice mainstream media sites avoid because they do not want to alienate them. The site’s forerunner, PageSixSixSix.com, was named “Hollywood’s Most-Hated Website” by The Insider, the TV gossip program. The major cost to run Perez Hilton is its ad sales agent.
12. Funny Or Die
> Value: $27 million
Founded by Will Ferrell and comedy writer/producer Adam Mcay, Funny Or Die is a successful, professionally-backed site dedicated to short-form comedy video. Though it has not had a huge viral success since “The Landlady”, the site’s audience has steadily risen. The site now generates nearly 10 million viewers a month. The blog has launched satellite sites, though none have been nearly as successful as Funny Or Die. In 2010, it inked a deal with HBO, allowing the channel to broadcast a new 30-minute sketch comedy show, “Funny Or Die Presents.” While the site’s display advertising is not impressive, its video ads certainly are.
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