The value of many of the most high-powered U.S. blogs, according to our analysis of the top 25 most valuable blogs
at 24/7 Wall St.,
has increased in the past year, as the economy continued to improve and advertisers became willing to pay more to reach audiences online.
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Readership at most of the blogs on this list has increased. Some of them have been around for five years or longer, and their competition has either fallen by the wayside or been unable to gain significant market share.
All of the blogs or blog networks on this list are private companies. None are owned or run by larger media companies or any other businesses that do not have the blog or blog network as their primary operation. Last year, we ranked TechCrunch as the fifth most valuable blog, with a value of $32 million. Based on recent media reports, AOL acquired the blog for between $25 million and $40 million.
We estimated blog audience sizes by considering several audience-measurement sources, not all of which apply every blog on our list. Additional factors in blog valuations include the revenue from the advertising units that sites run, based on estimated costs per impression (CPMs) and the number of ads that are run on each page. We also include blog-audience growth rates and operating costs, including staff, IT, overhead, marketing, and PR. Revenue from blog companies' related businesses, such as conferences, are also taken into account.
One of the most important measurements of value is whether a blog is large enough, or has enough unique visitors, to have a significant "moat" around it -- that is, difficult to capture market share from. Moats rely on editorial quality, sources, original content, established advertising bases, and access to capital -- all of which make it harder for other companies to create meaningful competition. Moats are not as wide if the owner or founder of a blog is essential to the blog's success.
The extent to which a blog relies on controversial content was also weighed. Political blogs, for example -- many of which tend to be polarizing -- have limited the number of potential acquirers. Other blogs publish controversial content that would also limit the potential pool of buyers, and accordingly suppresses value.
See the full list of the 25 most valuable blogs in America at 24/7 Wall St.