What David Freedlander’s Report on Blogs Left Out — Google
Pam has already touched on David Freedlander’s piece about the decline of independent blogs 10 years down the road. There are many things that are true in his long piece, but he somehow doesn’t manage to ask the rather obvious question — where’s the money?
The fashionable explanation is that “Twitter and Facebook have passed them by.” Hogwash. There has certainly been a consolidation of blogs for survival at places like Daily Kos and Firedoglake, but that means traffic has gone up, and not down. If it was still possible to keep blogs afloat, news outlets (blogs and otherwise) wouldn’t be dropping like flies.
The reason increasing numbers of blogs can’t keep the lights on is simple – Google. As I wrote on Bytegeist recently, news advertising revenues (both online and off) have tanked since 2000, and that money is going straight to Google, who passes pennies on to news outlets for every dollar they receive. Every news outlet from the New York Times on down is struggling in its wake. Because Google has eliminated the competition by crushing it or swallowing it up with nary an antitrust peep from the FTC, news outlets (including blogs) are forced to take whatever they want to give.
Premium advertising has historically gone for between $8 and $12 per CPM (thousand impressions) at online news sites, and Google charges similar rates. But last month at the height of election advertising, when ad revenues used to be at their highest and provide the money that political news sites would live on for the rest of the year, Google passed on a mere .42 cents per CPM to FDL and many other outlets.