Competitors of PodTech that I love, er, going to the Content Mall

Ever go to a content mall? Well, there sure are a lot of them being built. It’s where the VC’s are seeing some potential cash, at least in part because that’s what Jason Calacanis did when he built Weblogs Inc. and sold that to AOL for somewhere around $25 million. Get 100 or so niche bloggers (I’m focusing on videobloggers and podcasters) together, lash them together with links, hire a sales team to sell advertising, and build value through a good community, both inside and outside the firewall.

First, a disclaimer. I’m a content mall builder. But, when you are doing something you should stop and appreciate the great work your competitors are doing, right?

So, who else is building content malls?

Let’s start with Leo Laporte. He is kicking a** and taking no prisoners. I’m listening to this Inside the Net show right now. Oh, OK, I must admit I’m a Laportean at heart (I helped run his chat room back when he was on KGO AM radio back in the mid 90s before he joined TechTV). Leo already has nine “stores” in his content mall. Including Paul Thurrott on Windows and Denise Howlett on Law. Great stuff and a HIGHLY engaged audience. When I was on TWiT dozens of people called or emailed me, that’s the only time that’s ever happened when I’ve been on someone’s show (even being on the BBC didn’t bring that kind of reaction).

Now, let’s head over to PodShow. Adam Curry’s network. Patrick loves Dawn and Drew. But they have tons of great shows including Geek Brief TV, Gillmor Gang, and are actively hiring more content producers. They have $23 million in venture, so are actively spending it trying to build bigger audiences so their salespeople will have more inventory to sell.

B5 Media. Jeremy Wright’s network. More than 100 bloggers. Doing a great job. Lots of bloggers I respect. Key features of their network? They are paying people to blog and also have built a private community that rocks and rolls (they have a gold medal swimmer, a few scientists, and some of the best bloggers out there). They just picked up some venture capital from Rick Segal and Co.

Federated Media Publishing. This is John Battelle’s company — which is so busy he’s turning down new bloggers — and is a bit different in that he’s not trying to get exclusive employees like some of the other malls, but partners with A list bloggers like Boing Boing, Tech Crunch, and 85 others and sells ads for them on a CPM basis. Some of the bloggers I’ve talked to are very happy. They are getting up to $16 CPM (dollars per thousand page views) out of which FM takes 40%. All content malls take a percentage, it’s just I know FM’s, not sure what the others take.

Gawker Media. This is Nick Denton’s content mall. I don’t know much about Nick, although I know they produce Valleywag and Gizmodo, two popular blogs that I read a lot.

ZDNet Blogs. Dan Farber has signed up a great group of tech bloggers for ZDNet. As I understand it, they get paid for each post they make and also have incentives for traffic and comment posts.

Other up and comers in the content mall business?

Om Malik, with his GigaOm network. Mike Arrington with the growing “TechCrunch.”

Revision3, which produces Diggnation, which has hundreds of thousands of viewers a show.

Do these content malls matter? Not to most users. But they do link to each other more often, which helps, and they can group together enough audience to sell to advertisers and sponsors (you and I can’t walk into the ad buying group at a car company, but many of these content malls can).

So, how does PodTech compete? That’s for the market to decide, but by the end of next year we’ll be judged a few different ways against these competitors:

1) Audiences. (Which comes from serving niches well — Calacanis had gadget blogs, auto blogs, parenting blogs, etc etc).
2) Revenues. (Revenues follow audiences for the most part, but some audiences are more monetizeable than others — the business guy in me would rather have a blog focused on real estate than world peace, for instance, because more advertisers are willing to pay more money for real estate-focused audiences).
3) Brand quality. (If you ask 1,000 participants in these content malls what they think of each, the answer demonstrates brand quality, also what bloggers and other influentials say based on blog searches).
4) Engagement. Ze Frank, for instance, has signed up tens of thousands of people for his ORG (which is a club of other ZeFrank viewers). That demonstrates engagement. Also, how many people follow a link to other sites. Does economic or adoption activity happen for sponsors/advertisers or just by getting mentioned?

So far PodTech has had pretty good success in hiring interesting people and in building the Vloggies, which got TONS of respect and response from the blog and videoblog world (Leo Laporte mentioned it tonight, for instance).

The next six months are going to be very important ones. We’re signing up TONS of new content partners. It’ll be interesting to see if we can finish up the technology-focused part of our content mall and get some key stores in other areas like movies, sports, lifestyle, built up.

Either way, the content mall expansion projects are underway at all these companies. What do you think and who is most likely to get the advertising and sponsorship revenues and respect of the community?

Who else has a content mall under development? (I’m talking about new companies, not older ones like Yahoo or Washington Post, etc).

And, yes, we’re looking for great “stores” to join our “mall.” My email is robertscoble@hotmail.com if you’re interested.

If you’re a blogger/podcaster/videocaster, are you thinking of joining a content mall? If so, how are you going to decide between all of us?

UPDATE: I totally forgot the most excellent GearLive Media (headed by Andru Edwards) and the Podcast Network (headed by Cameron Reilly).

Comments

  1. [...] I was viewing the items that came in overnight in the last 4 to 5 hours since I slept, and this one here by Scobleizer caught my eye. I think it pretty much validates why IBN is here, and why we are doing this. Give it a read, and if you are a blogger that is looking to take it up a level, contact us! [...]

  2. [...] One of the issues with being outside of Silicon Valley is not keeping up with the cutting edge lingo. Robert Scoble is primarily a tech blogger but also VP of a videoblogger content company, PodTech.net.   He just posted an interesting article about “content malls”.  You can read the full article but his approach is basically to “get 100 or so niche bloggers, [videobloggers, and/or podcasters] together, lash them together with links, hire a sales team to sell advertising, and build value through a good community, both inside and outside the firewall.” [...]

  3. Did I stretch your meaning, or did you imply you’ll be having a blog wing on your mall? If so, is this something new? Will the blogs be related to podcasting or vlogging, or not necessarily?

  4. Did I stretch your meaning, or did you imply you’ll be having a blog wing on your mall? If so, is this something new? Will the blogs be related to podcasting or vlogging, or not necessarily?

  5. My friends and I have a “content mall”, Oratos Media .

    We have a blog about tech news (web 2.0, gadgets) – Gizbuzz.co.uk

    a blog about media (podcasting, vlogging, filmmaking) – YouMakeMedia.com

    a blog about open source (tutorials, news, reviews) – FOSSwire.com

    a podcast about technology geared toward developers (news, interviews with folks like Josh Jones from Dreamhost or Chris Pearson, designer of Text Link Ads) – PodDev.comitar.com

    We’re kinda new at the whole idea of a network/Content Mall but we’re excited about what it can do for the sites in general.

  6. My friends and I have a “content mall”, Oratos Media .

    We have a blog about tech news (web 2.0, gadgets) – Gizbuzz.co.uk

    a blog about media (podcasting, vlogging, filmmaking) – YouMakeMedia.com

    a blog about open source (tutorials, news, reviews) – FOSSwire.com

    a podcast about technology geared toward developers (news, interviews with folks like Josh Jones from Dreamhost or Chris Pearson, designer of Text Link Ads) – PodDev.comitar.com

    We’re kinda new at the whole idea of a network/Content Mall but we’re excited about what it can do for the sites in general.

  7. It is clear that ‘content malls’ bring in huge benefits for the sites within a mall. They can work together and link to each other to boost PR.

    But what benefit is there for the visitors? Shopping malls bring benefit by sharing a physical space with various stores. After going shopping for clothes I can buy some electronics without having to drive to another place. Very comfortable.

    But when visiting a fashion weblog part of a content mall I can go to the technology weblog of that mall just as fast as I can go to any other techblog. I won’t visit the technology weblog because it belongs to a certain group, but rather because I like it in spite of being part of that group.

  8. It is clear that ‘content malls’ bring in huge benefits for the sites within a mall. They can work together and link to each other to boost PR.

    But what benefit is there for the visitors? Shopping malls bring benefit by sharing a physical space with various stores. After going shopping for clothes I can buy some electronics without having to drive to another place. Very comfortable.

    But when visiting a fashion weblog part of a content mall I can go to the technology weblog of that mall just as fast as I can go to any other techblog. I won’t visit the technology weblog because it belongs to a certain group, but rather because I like it in spite of being part of that group.

  9. Jeroen,

    By joining a network a blogger/podcaster/videoblogger will probably be able to get paid much more than if he/she tries to do it on his/her own.

    That money might let them quit their jobs (that’s what happened to GeekBrief.TV, for instance) which will enable that person to produce even more content for you. Or, maybe, afford better equipment. Or, maybe be able to afford a trip to more industry conferences where they’ll be able to bring you more news and information.

  10. Jeroen,

    By joining a network a blogger/podcaster/videoblogger will probably be able to get paid much more than if he/she tries to do it on his/her own.

    That money might let them quit their jobs (that’s what happened to GeekBrief.TV, for instance) which will enable that person to produce even more content for you. Or, maybe, afford better equipment. Or, maybe be able to afford a trip to more industry conferences where they’ll be able to bring you more news and information.

  11. And of course, there is Gear Live Media, where we have a tight network of about 20 blogs, and three video blogs (with that number hopefully doubling soon).

    Robert, I sent you an email yesterday or the day before. Get back to me ;)

  12. And of course, there is Gear Live Media, where we have a tight network of about 20 blogs, and three video blogs (with that number hopefully doubling soon).

    Robert, I sent you an email yesterday or the day before. Get back to me ;)

  13. [...] Robert Scoble, my future colleague is reaching out to bloggers, podcasters, and videobloggers to join the Podtech content mall.  He breaks down the various content malls already in existence.  A content mall is the network of content providers, individual stores are the content creators.  Here’s what’s coming: “The next six months are going to be very important ones. We’re signing up TONS of new content partners. It’ll be interesting to see if we can finish up the technology-focused part of our content mall and get some key stores in other areas like movies, sports, lifestyle, built up.” [...]

  14. Interesting idea, this “content mall”. It looks like the gains to a blogger are a bigger audience and links. Maybe also, an editor to help improve writing and focus on a consistent voice. But what do they lose? Autonomy? Blogging about whatever they want? Integrity?

  15. Interesting idea, this “content mall”. It looks like the gains to a blogger are a bigger audience and links. Maybe also, an editor to help improve writing and focus on a consistent voice. But what do they lose? Autonomy? Blogging about whatever they want? Integrity?

  16. Andru: yikes. I keep screwing things up. I fixed that link. Thanks!

    Amyloo: we just hired a few bloggers this week, so yes, I’d expect to see more blogs from us in the future.

    Webomatica: many of the “content mall builders” aren’t asking anything in terms of the content and FM Media even lets you turn down advertising that you don’t like.

    For a videoblogger or a podcaster, joining a network can also meet technical and equipment help (PodTech is looking to build a video editing team, for instance, which will help you improve the quality of your videos).

  17. Andru: yikes. I keep screwing things up. I fixed that link. Thanks!

    Amyloo: we just hired a few bloggers this week, so yes, I’d expect to see more blogs from us in the future.

    Webomatica: many of the “content mall builders” aren’t asking anything in terms of the content and FM Media even lets you turn down advertising that you don’t like.

    For a videoblogger or a podcaster, joining a network can also meet technical and equipment help (PodTech is looking to build a video editing team, for instance, which will help you improve the quality of your videos).

  18. You missed Blubrry. We’ve currently got over a hundred podcasters running three separate ad campaigns with more to come. And we have the authority to negotiate ad deals for more than 800 podcasts who are a part of our community.

  19. You missed Blubrry. We’ve currently got over a hundred podcasters running three separate ad campaigns with more to come. And we have the authority to negotiate ad deals for more than 800 podcasts who are a part of our community.

  20. Robert, thanks for the mention… albeit no actual link or use of my name… for everyone who is wondering – I am the Olympic gold medal winning swimmer Robert mentioned with b5media above. Hope all is well in PodTech land. Enjoyed meeting you in person at BBS. Take care.

  21. Robert, thanks for the mention… albeit no actual link or use of my name… for everyone who is wondering – I am the Olympic gold medal winning swimmer Robert mentioned with b5media above. Hope all is well in PodTech land. Enjoyed meeting you in person at BBS. Take care.

  22. Apparently other than Battelle and ZDNet all these “malls” want to be the exclusive distributor of the content. Yet they want to take 60% of the ad revenues (after cost tricks). Huh? New day, old model. Does PBS take 60% of Charlie Rose’s sponships? Instead you should be offering a Google-like relationship, whereby the content producers can add their content anywhere, and may the best audience draw dictate who wins. Does Google say, only post your ads here exclusively? No. Advertisers are free to buy ads where they want. Content producers should be free to join any network, with a relationship that is fair and open. Otherwise hire the content people outright, give them helath insurance, and compete in the old media model. You want to keep all the dough while someone else does all the work. Take a hike. It’s still the Web, guys … no such thing as exclusive. Drop the exclusive and be happy with a 25% cut (a sales commission, which is what it is).

  23. Apparently other than Battelle and ZDNet all these “malls” want to be the exclusive distributor of the content. Yet they want to take 60% of the ad revenues (after cost tricks). Huh? New day, old model. Does PBS take 60% of Charlie Rose’s sponships? Instead you should be offering a Google-like relationship, whereby the content producers can add their content anywhere, and may the best audience draw dictate who wins. Does Google say, only post your ads here exclusively? No. Advertisers are free to buy ads where they want. Content producers should be free to join any network, with a relationship that is fair and open. Otherwise hire the content people outright, give them helath insurance, and compete in the old media model. You want to keep all the dough while someone else does all the work. Take a hike. It’s still the Web, guys … no such thing as exclusive. Drop the exclusive and be happy with a 25% cut (a sales commission, which is what it is).

  24. [...] Robert Scoble over at PodTech is building a content mall, where he’s trying to sign up top blogs in order to get a better advertising story and thus more revenue in for the bloggers. All in all a nice thought. But it does remind me of free agents from sports, who break out in order to make more for themselves. [...]

  25. How does this model work? Do they license your content on an exclusive basis or can you choose to distribute here and everywhere else?

  26. How does this model work? Do they license your content on an exclusive basis or can you choose to distribute here and everywhere else?

  27. [...] Robert Scoble was kind enough to mention b5media in a post looking at “content malls”. We prefer to call ourselves a “global new media company” or “the world’s third-largest blogging network”…:)…..but I’m not about to quibble at all if Scoble wants to give us some blog love. Subscribe to RSS headline updates from: Powered by FeedBurner [...]