20. Boing Boing
> Value:$7 million
What do pictures of people being scared in a haunted house, a field guide of legendary animals and mythical beasts of Tokyo, and self-driving cars of the 1960s have in common? They’re all the product of the mad geniuses behind Boing Boing. The blog evolved from a magazine founded by husband and wife team Mark Frauenfelder and Carla Sinclair focused on “comic books, cyberpunk science fiction, consciousness technology, curious phenomena,” and whatever else amused them. Advertising revenue is constrained by low CPMs and limited placement of ads on the page. The site’s traffic has been flat for a while, but the high number of Facebook likes and comments per article suggest a loyal readership.
> Value: $4.2 million
Named after the first city it covered, The Gothamist Network is a collection of blogs that feature the events and personalities that make the country’s biggest cities amusing to read about. Gossip, restaurant openings and local news are written for the city insider. While New York is the overwhelming favorite, SFist and Chicagoist appear to be growing in popularity. Ads are local, which means CPMs are not stellar.
> Value: $4 million
Judging by the tone of articles written about Breitbart.com’s founder, Andrew Breitbart, he is a pundit that conservative readers love and liberal readers love to hate. Breitbart.com’s early success appears to be closely tied its founder’s gift for being a lightning rod for public scandals invovling the bad behavior of liberal groups and politicians. Breitbart’s other sites, including Big Journalism, Big Government and Big Hollywood, have broken or drawn attention to stories including the ACORN prostitute-tax scandal.. According to critics, his talent for showcasing controversy has undermined his journalistic integrity. Many in the mainstream media point to his “selective editing” of a video of Shirleyl Sherrod, which made it appear the black former USDA employee held racist feelings towards white people. Declining audience and weak ad sales suggest that his exploits may be hurting his brand.
> Value: $3.7 million
Other than Kotaku and Joystiq, owned by Gawker and Aol respectively, Destructoid is the largest independent video game blog. Along with ModernMethod Network’s other properties, including Japanese anime blog Japanator, film blog Flixist and collectible toy-blog Tomopop, Destructoid has built a loyal readership that has grown since launching in 2006. Billing itself as “For Gamers. By Gamers,” the blog’s readers certainly are engaged, and comment regularly on posts. Though a niche industry, video game consoles, video game titles and retailers appear to be paying consistently to reach these readers.
24. Breaking Media
> Value: $3.5 million
Breaking Media is a collection of four websites: Above the Law, AltTransport, Deal Breaker, Fashionista. Based on audience size, Fashionista and Above The Law are successful. The others are very small. Above The Law is extremely popular with people in the legal community. The site is particularly well-known for its salary surveys. Fashionista is well-regarded because of its interviews with industry leaders and criticism of fashion brands and industry personalities. Breaking Media has a relatively large staff for a company with an audience of its size. It runs a modest amount of premium advertising.
25. 24/7 Wall St.
> Value: ???
Founded in 2006 by news service editor and trader Jon C. Ogg and former Financial World publisher and tech executive Douglas A. McIntyre, 24/7 Wall St. still operates with a small, but excellent staff. The site posts 15 to 20 stories a day, many of which are picked up by mainstream media, including Comcast, MSNBC, Yahoo!, and Aol. The site has profit margins that are at the high end compared to the other sites on this list.
-Douglas A. McIntyre, Ashley C. Allen, and Michael B. Sauter