The New York Times in its weekly What’s Online picked up the hotly debated issue of Eyeballs versus Revenues, as sparked by my Business 2.0 story, Return of the Monetized Eyeballs, and Jason Calacanis’ reaction to it. (Here is what Jason has to say in depth.)
I have abstained from saying anything because Erick Schonfeld did a great job over on the Business 2.0 blog, explaining the issues.
The value of an advertising-based Website is directly related to the size and quality of the audience it can attract. And barring the Weblogs of the world and other private companies giving us their revenue figure, we are stuck with measuring what we can: eyeballs and acquisition prices.
There were others like Ian Bell, and David Newberger , and my editor on the story, Andy Raskin weighed in. Like Jason a whole bunch of people disagreed. Regardless of what you might think of a “box item” in a much larger story, which I urge you to read, it is clear that the content, and by extension, eyeballs are back.
Jeremy Wright says, “There should be dozens of metrics used in any deal (whether it’s thousands of dollars or millions). Eyeballs will be one of those, just like revenues, just like visibility, just like overall growth.”
10 thoughts on “Eyeballs and Revenue Debate”
While it’s perfectly logical to expect you to see “eyeballs” are far more valuable than they really are given the popularity of your own blog, it was remarkably refreshing to see Jason’s post particularly coming from someone who is far better equipped than most of us to speak on what variables are most relevant in driving M&A activity in the internet space at this juncture.
thanks for your comment. i think jasonC and rest of the folks glommed on to one little aspect of the story, and did not read the whole piece.
i think if you read the piece, i clearly make the points
1. not all page views are equal.
2. what are the metrics that folks are looking at from an investment perspective. these include organic growth, stickiness and potential trajectories.
3. brand and how it is important.
4. also revenues are key here, and revenue making potential.
5. lastly, it is the truth that online ads are back, and as a result the demand for eyeballs.
JasonC is entitled to his opinion. I respect that! Also, $38 figure was an aggregate. Jason’s company was valued at $10, which is inline with his own estimates. the aggregate numbers are coming from deals that include big payday for MySpace.
I read the article, and I read JasonC’s response, but there’s one thing that seems to be pretty obvious to me: eyeballs are directly related to revenue and expected revenue. Or, maybe I am missing something there.
Yes, every content system – be it blogs, newspapers, magazines, television, radio or Websites – are dependent on traffic, or eyeballs. That is one of the easier ways to set advertising rates, and why the recent ABC scandals have hit magazines and newspapers so hard.
But what, if anything, can these eyeballs/readers of blogs/Websites truly say about the market segments they belong to? That’s another thing that is most absent from all of these deals: the solid knowledge about who is doing what with the ads they see. At least with Arbitron and the Nielsen’s, we have an idea of demographics, one that is shared with the public by the radio conglomerates and the television broadcasters.
But, isn’t the more interesting thing that’s being ignored is that advertising is cyclical?
There is a Google Bubble, they get most of their cash from selling stock not advertising.
I kind of think that buying some other guys traffic (or gals) is a bad idea. This blog has depth because of the writer. I’d rather see a million blogs by single authors than one blog by a million people. It’s the old too many cooks spoil the soup thing. It seems like blogging is becoming more corporate and centralized, which seems to be opposed to what blogging is all about. Then there is the ongoing debate about corporate blogging and Christmas vs. holiday. Whatever.
Popups were a bad idea driven by the idea that if enough people could develop a bad idea, everybody could get wealthy and nobody in particular could be held responsible for the bad idea. Presto, popup blocking was born. I don’t happen to enjoy flash websites. There are tons of flash websites for the weary eyeballs of cyberspace. Personally I don’t want anything moving on the screen unless I tell it to move. I’m too busy for sites with all kinds of fancy programming and animations trying to direct me to something else or some form of entertainment advertising. If you click on something and all of a sudden all hell breaks loose, you know it has more than one person behind it. It’s must be group-think.
Right now there is a Google word ad covering half of the post comment button here. I’m not sure if that is caused by a single person or a group of you, but it shouldn’t be that way. Just so you know. Ad code tends to creep all over the place, while a single opinion gets stiffled in endless debate about how to count what or whatever.
Gigaom was worth $1,253,843.34 when I checked.
Once this thing goes Web to-oh, that $1,253,843.34 could see high eyeball growth. I could imagine a big company buying this blog for $30,000,000.00. If you hold out until Web five-oh, you might get enough to buy Hawaii or a nice chunk of it. Best of luck!