Monday, September 14, 2009

Ad Shift Throws Blogs a Business Lifeline

SAN FRANCISCO — Lisa Sugar began blogging about celebrity gossip in her spare time four years ago. Now she and her husband, Brian, have a little media empire called, sensibly enough, Sugar Inc., with 12 blogs, 11 million readers a month and advertisers like Chanel and Sony.

The dream of quitting the day job and making a living from blog revenue has proved to be far-fetched for most bloggers. But a few entrepreneurs, like the Sugars, have found success in blog networks.

Such networks put blogs on various topics under some form of central control, like a digital-era Condé Nast. Though they do not command nearly the same ad rates that glossy magazines do, they are attracting ad dollars while magazines are losing them.

Sugar’s ad revenue increased 20 percent in the first half of the year, and the company is on track to double its revenue and turn a profit this year, said Mr. Sugar, the company’s chief executive. Gawker Media, one of the earliest and biggest blog networks, reported that ad revenue was up 45 percent in the first half of this year.

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