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Selling a Blog – Interview with Duncan Riley from Blog Herald

BlogheraldBig in blog news this week is the sale of BlogHerald (no official word that it’s sold yet but it looks like final negotiations are taking place). The price is said to be in excess of over $72,000 (USD). BlogHerald’s owner is Duncan Riley (a partner of mine at b5media) so I shot him a request for an interview as the subject is so relevant to this blog.

Having never sold a blog of my own I’m fascinated by the process and so started by asking Duncan:

Why are you Selling BlogHerald?
A number of reasons. Firstly Ive identified that there is now a perception that I have a conflict of interesting writing about blog networks when I’m an owner of one. Whether this is fair or not I guess doesn’t come into it because the perception is there, despite me having written the blog for 3 years. Also becoming a full time Problogger back in December means I can always do with the money :-) The capital from the sale will fund my mortgage for atleast the next 12 months and allow me to finish off my house whilst building up income from other blogs and from b5media.

One of the biggest topics of discussion around this sale is regarding the ‘secrecy’ and the strategy of not publically announcing the name of the blog being sold – Why did you do it this way? What were the pros and cons of this move in retrospect?

I don’t think it was so much a secret: certainly those who asked for the information from Jeremy (who were interested in bidding) where provided the details commercial in confidence. Although there has naturally been a fair bit of talk about the sale imagine how much more there would have been if The Blog Herald had been named from day one? Basically I didn’t want a circus around the sale, and from a marketing perspective I believe a full public sale may have been detrimental to the brand.

Why did you use a broker (Jeremy) in this case and has it been worthwhile doing so?
Jeremy’s got the runs on the board as far as blog sales go, and for memory I think he was the first person to have ever sold a blog as well (a few years ago with Ensight). He’s got a lot of contacts in the industry + he’s in North America as well. Sure, in terms of blogging being in Australia isn’t a restriction for me, but in terms of being able to talk to people, broker deals…as you’d know the time difference works against us. I’d note its also why I think the blog will go on to bigger and better things in the future as well. Being in North America provides to new owner/ owners a lot of advantages in being able to actually talk to people in the industry when reporting on blog news, as well as attend things like blogging conferences and similar, things I’ve never been able to do.

In terms of it being worthwhile using Jeremy? I’d happily recommend him to others, he really know’s what he’s doing and he’s got contacts I simply don’t have.

Many people ask me how to value a blog – what factors did you weigh up when deciding upon an asking price?
This was in many ways the hardest part. Naturally I value it even more highly than what it sold for :-) I couldn’t give you an absolute way of calculating the value of a blog, but you’d be looking at things like
- profit of the blog and potential profit
- how long the blog has been going
- traffic
- PR and links inwards, and its place overall in the blogosphere
How you put a value on those things is another matter. We had 3 bids all pretty close to the same amount in terms of dollars so others have priced it in a similar fashion which is a positive. Because the market for sellling blogs is still very small its impossible to benchmark these things as well but I’d expect as the market grows this will change over time.

What will you do with the time freed up by not having Blog Herald (assuming you’re not continuing with it long term)?

I will be contributing for the time being, the exact length of time however hasn’t been finalised, although its likely to be a couple of months at this stage.

b5media has really become my full time job sine I went “pro” in December and I intend on using a lot of the extra time working in building up b5media.

I also would like to spend a little bit more time posting more regularly to my personal blog. Occasionally it will include blogging related topic but I’d like to explore tech and politics as well. Literally a free form blog of my thoughts and ideas. I also might pursue a couple of new projects, whether these are in b5media or outside of it has yet to be decided, but I always enjoy taking on new challenges.

If you were starting Blog Herald again today how would you do it differently?
That’s difficult to answer because I wouldn’t start The Blog Herald in 2006, its a lot more harder today to get your voice heard in the blogosphere and build up loyal readers and wide readership than it was in 2002-03 when your starting from scratch. In 2002 there was nothing around like the Blog Herald in terms of blog news, and whilst there are a few sites today covering similar area’s (Bloggers Blog comes to mind) and a few different imitators have come and gone, there really still isn’t a lot of other sites like it, in terms of the brand being stronger than the person (except of course for the uber-multi author blogs), for example when most people think of Problogger they think of you, Micro Persuasion Steve Rubel. Certainly whilst a lot of people who read Problogger would associate me with The Blog Herald, try searching a blog search engine for my name v The Blog Herald, and The Blog Herald will win out by a country mile. It was always meant to be this way, I wanted to build a brand, not me personally.

‘Do you want to buy ProBlogger.net now? I hear you might have some spare cash!’
Given the price equation of The Blog Herald equated to Problogger I’m probably about 75k US short :-)

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Dread says:

    Excellent news. I love to hear commentary on blog sales, the last one with Yaro buying one was very interesting, of course this is on a far bigger scale. Its going to be interesting when the buyer is announced.

  2. Andrew says:

    I would be interested to know the P/E of the sale.

    Presumably the buyers think they are getting decent value out of the purchase. But so did people buying tech stocks in 1999.

    Gosh it just seems like a lot of money for the few times I have had a look at the site, well done with the sale though!

  3. Technically…doesn’t Duncan already own a piece of ProBlogger?

  4. Blaine: Not really. The b5media founders didn’t give up any ownership of their blogs when we brought them into b5. A portion of the income does go to b5, but ownership stays with the original founder.

  5. Dave Starr says:

    I’m not a long-time Blog Herald reader. But I have had it in my sight picture for several months now. I offer this observation strictly in the interest of giving some insight int how the ‘rest of us’ (the non-insiders)see this transaction.

    First, I think the “it’s a secret/It’s no secret”, kabuki play over the past week or so has been silly. It’s perfectly acceptable and understandable for someone to conduct a sale. especially a large one, by private treaty. It’s equally acceptable to open such a sale to public auction, if that were in the party’s best interest.

    However the transparent buzz-boost charade of having a private sale yet posting messages in the vein of ‘it’s secret but you guys who know what site is for sale, hurry and get your bids in now’ rankles on some … the tone of the transaction did not give the picture of forthright dealing. In short .. make it secret or open.

    Secondly, and I say this while offering Duncan congratulations on making the sale happen … if one is in the mood to sell a non-trivial blog such as Blog Herald it would be smart to make the effort to treat it as if it were a house for sale … mow the yard, touch up the paint, fix the loose shutter, etc. It’s been very apparent that little or no effort was going into Blog herald certainly since sometime in December last. Makes one wonder what the property might have commanded had it been in tuned up form.

    Just some thoughts, best regards
    Dave

  6. Rob says:

    Dave – I think you might have missed part of the point of the sale..

    You can give a house a higher “potential” value by saying that a little renovation and cleaning up and it’s value will sky-rocket. If you do the work yourself – then it’s obvious to everyone what the result is… and what the end value is.

    Leaving it un-done allows the new owner a possibility the income/etc can still go up significantly from what it is..

  7. It’s obvious to me that the world is changing fast. I would have liked to know from Duncan, when starting his blog did he envision at that time that he was creating a valuable, sellable comodity. I’ve been saying for years now that one day the banking community will recognize your Page Rank and traffic as goodwill on your balance sheet just like your mailing list.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Interesting to note the unexpected sale of Duncan Riley’s Blog Herald – which was privately auctioned off by his business partner Jeremy Wright (Presisdent of b5media) for a rumoured 72 big ones. Talk is abuzz on the blogosphere on the sale – here, here, here, here and here. [...]

  2. [...] Darren Rowse interviews Duncan Riley here No Tags Popularity: unranked [...]

  3. [...] Darren asks Duncan “Why are you Selling BlogHerald?” and part of Duncan’s reply was “there is now a perception that I have a conflict of interest writing about blog networks when I’m an owner of one.” [...]

  4. [...] Aqui está uma boa entrevista de Darren Rowse ao (ainda) responsável pelo The Blog Herald. 17 Janeiro 2006 | :: Link permanente [...]

  5. [...] Porquê só três questões? Em primeiro lugar, porque Darren Rowse já publicou uma entrevista que cobre quase todos os tópicos. Em segundo, porque Riley deve estar afogado em e-mails semelhantes. Achei que fazendo só três perguntas, tinha mais hipóteses de obter uma resposta. [...]

  6. [...] Wer das ganze Interview lesen will, findet dies hier: Selling a Blog – Interview with Duncan Riley from Blog Herald [...]

  7. Interview with Duncan about selling Blog Herald

    After it was made public that Duncan Riley is selling The Blog Herald, and I saw others interviewing him, I thought it would be nice to hear him out on selling and buying blogs. So I droppped him some questions, and he kindly responded.
    Site Sales Blog…

  8. LatinoPundit says:

    Univision For Sale

    I wonder what a blog would go for if sold? Headline story. Update: Here is a blog up for $72,000!…

  9. [...] Blog Tips at ProBlogger: Make Money Online Professional Blogger …It is a leader in field of consumer electronics and gadgets and a blog that is widely regarded as one of the most successful money making blogs going around … [...]

  10. [...] Make Money Online with ProBlogger Blog Tips Professional Blogger …It is a leader in field of consumer electronics and gadgets and a blog that is widely regarded as one of the most successful money making blogs going around … [...]

  11. [...] You can read an Interview by Darren Rowse over at ProBlogger to hear Duncan’s reasoning for the sale. You can also read a post from Duncan on The Blog Herald explaining to his readers. [...]

  12. [...] You can read an Interview by Darren Rowse over at ProBlogger to hear Duncan’s reasoning for the sale. You can also read a post from Duncan on The Blog Herald explaining to his readers. Back to Webpage Articles Go to the Working at Home on the Internet Blog [...]

  13. [...] Selling a Blog – Interview with Duncan Riley – an interview that I did with Duncan after the sale of Blog Herald. [...]

  14. [...] Selling a Blog – Interview with Duncan Riley – an interview that I did with Duncan after the sale of Blog Herald. [...]

  15. [...] Selling a Blog – Interview with Duncan Riley – an interview that I did with Duncan after the sale of Blog Herald. [...]

  16. [...] Selling a Blog – Interview with Duncan Riley – an interview that I did with Duncan after the sale of Blog Herald. [...]