Monday, April 18, 2011

The web economy. Who pays what?

When I learnt that The Huffington Post was sold for 315 million dollars, I smelled trouble. As I said in my blog posted on February 15, the many bloggers who have worked for free for years, for the sake of Ariana H. would not appreciate the sale of their contributions. Unfortunately for Ms Huffington, I was right. Some bloggers are starting a legal dispute that could last for a long time. French sites are not out of the loop either. A recent article from le Monde mentioned that at Rue 89, some bloggers were starting to ask for fees, considering they were contributing to the audience of this successful pure player. In fact, it seems obvious that the whole economy of information on the Web is changing again. Social networks and specially, Facebook, are used more and more to deliver pieces of news. So is Youtube. In cases like that, you cannot ask people to pay. Display advertising is a solution but will it be enough? As far as Facebook is concerned, its ads revenue is skyrocketing. It was 2 billion dollars last year. It will be 4 billions this year. In february, in the US, one third of display ads went to Facebook. Still, this income doesn't go to the providers but to the owners of Facebook. We are back to the Hufpost.

Same thing for the forums which are managed by a new population of professionals. They bring a lot of audience and many useful informations but are they really profitable? It is a well Known fact that they must be monitored permanently by the social managers who are employees of the sites.