Jason Calacanis Makes Money for Bloggers

Henry Copeland just lobbed a grenade in the direction of Jason Calacanis regarding Jason's recent inference of being the Michael Jordan of blogging. Henry is putting a $10k wager on the table that his company, BlogAds, has made more money for bloggers than Jason's former company, Weblogs, Inc., did. This is something of a silly bet and one that can't easily be proven, but I think Henry better get out his checkbook. As a blogger who directly benefits from BlogAds revenue and indirectly benefits from Weblogs, Inc. traffic, I'm throwing my hat in the Weblogs, Inc. ring.

BlogAds makes me money in the following ways:

  • An advertiser purchases a network ad buy through BlogAds and my site gets included in that buy
  • An advertiser clicks a link on my site to advertise in my BlogAds ad unit

If I had to rely on BlogAds to keep the lights on and put food on my kid's plate, I'd be out on the street, but they do help support my gadget habit. If I remove the BlogAds code from my site, I stop making money. I also don't get any kind of referral credit if someone clicks on my ad link and buys BlogAds across several sites (I also have no idea if I've ever made such a referral). I'm not knocking BlogAds, it has it's place in the blogosphere. The company is good at what it does.

Aside from whatever advertising dollars were generated directly on Weblogs, Inc. sites like Engadget, Autoblog, Joystiq, etc., the sites all indirectly contribute to the bottom line of hundreds (maybe thousands) of bloggers like me who get linked to by Weblogs, Inc. sites when we say something interesting (BlogAds also indirectly benefits from this relationship).

Weblogs, Inc indirectly makes me money in the following ways:

  • A link from Engadget typically doubles my daily traffic, which translates to more clicks on CPC ads
  • I get long term referral traffic on the topic linked, improving overall site traffic
  • I get long term relevance and better search ranking overall across search engines
  • More RSS and Email subscribers translate to longterm relationships

Weblogs, Inc. offers me a greater lifetime value in my indirect relationship with their sites. If I stop blogging today, I may still get a trickle of income from places they linked to me in the past. BlogAds can't ever hope to give me that.

I don't have a convenient way to compile all the referral traffic I've gotten since the inception of Weblogs, Inc. so I can't attempt to put a hard dollar figure on the company's overall value to my bottom line. Even in the most conservative of scenarios, I can safely estimate Weblogs, Inc. has contributed more than double what I've made through BlogAds. And assuming they don't unlink everything from the past several years, that number will keep accumulating over time.

I say all this at the risk of being blackballed from ever being included in another BlogAds network buy. It's worth saying because there's a bigger picture to the value the Weblogs, Inc. group brings to the table for bloggers than the company's own bottom line. Is Jason the Michael Jordan of blogging? I'd say he's more like the Phil Jackson to a Pete Rojas Michael Jordan in the basketball metaphor, but I'm not really a sports fan.