Blogonomics: Blodget’s Shopping List

At the end Daniel Roth’s profile of Henry Blodget and Alley Insider, he reveals that Blodget and his main shareholder, Kevin Ryan, might want to go shopping:

Blodget is broadening beyond tech to get ready for what he sees as a coming shakeout in the news-blog industry. He says he might even start making acquisitions if the price is right. Ryan’s suite of companies has raised $50 million in the past few years, possibly enough to buy out some other interesting small blogs.

Possibly enough? I’ll say: I doubt there’s a small blog in existence, interesting or otherwise, which wouldn’t be for sale for that kind of money.

But frankly I’m not sure that there are really enough for-profit news blogs for them even to count as an industry. Certainly when it comes to blogs which would fit with Alley Insider’s financial focus, I can think of very few outside the tech space which even have employees: Seeking Alpha, Dealbreaker, maybe Housing Wire and a handful of others.

For much less than $50 million, Blodget and Ryan could do something slightly more interesting, I think, than buying up news blogs. They could start approaching small one-person shops like Abnormal Returns, Naked Capitalism, or Footnoted, and offer to pay them for the privilege of hosting the blog, selling ads on it, and incorporating it into the Alley Insider network alongside blogs such as Clusterstock. The rights to the blog entries would have to be worked out, but my guess is that a model with both Alley Insider and the individual blogger having such rights could reasonably easily be put together.

Blodget and Ryan have shown that they’re great at getting traffic, both organically, through putting up good content, and also by doing deals with Yahoo. It makes sense that they’re now hungry to start beefing up their inventory to a point at which big media buyers will be very interested in them. Any one small blog might not move the needle very much, but if they put together a well-curated shopping list, they could come up with something great.

There might be some difficulty in persuading advertisers to take out ad buys across a range of disparate blogs — in which case the content from the various properties might need to be aggregated somehow, without losing the different blogs’ identities. But the result could be a formidable rival to Seeking Alpha, especially among bloggers who would love to make some money directly from their blogging.

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