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Just How Much is the Conversation Worth?
I’ve written before about the new comment replacement services including IntenseDebate and the new social sharing service FriendFeed before. After one of my posts, Robert Scoble noted that he had a discussion with an "a-list blog" and that the blogger wasn’t willing to replace the comments with any of the new tools because of what he would lose in terms of monetization.
While blogs that aren’t trying to earn direct revenue don’t care as much about losing the pageviews and the impressions, blogs that are revenue-driven enterprises do. As a variety of blogs move out of the typical blog layer and into the new mainstream media layer, the ability to earn revenue becomes even more important.
Even just a switch to Ajaxy-comments where the page doesn’t reload can cost a blog major yearly revenue.
I wanted to share some thoughts on just how much a large blog could be earning with their comments and the community that participates in the blog. Here’s some simple math (I am lowballing the numbers):
10 posts a day
70 comments per post on average
700 comments per day
x 365 days
255,500 additional pageviews per year or "250 additional cpm’s"
a large blog will typically generate an average of $10/cpm
$2,500 additional net revenue per year
The $2,500 figure seems pretty trivial right? Now let’s push the math one step further – remember that when a person comments, they will typically want to come back, refresh the post to see if anyone has replied. My estimates here:
– the users who submitted the 700 comments per day will reload the story at least one additional time after commenting – this leads to another $2,500 additional net revenue per year
Last step in the equation - how many people visiting the blog will reload the page a number of times to view and/or interact with the comments – on sites with major trollage, this number can be astronomical. Using our numbers above, I estimate that this could be a minimum of $25,000-75,000 per year. Again this is most likely a bare minimum and for large blogs with controversial content, this dollar figure could be way higher.
At the end of the day, a large blog could easily be generating more than $100,000 a year in commenting revenue alone. In fact, I’d argue that the pageviews coming from comments could be larger on many stories than those pageviews only attempting to read the story.
Now do you see why the large blogs aren’t so willing to give their comments away to FriendFeed or IntenseDebate?