What are the biggest blogs worth? 247 Wall Street gives it a shot

Valuing a blog isn’t always the easiest exercise (see our previous post here on valuations). Valuing blogs at the top of the market are harder again, because top brands don’t follow traditional multiples. Harder still: valuing the top 25 blogs without hard data like revenue and actual traffic for a list.

24/7 Wall Street though has given it a shot for the second year in a row.

The biggest changes over the last twelve months

  • Gawker Media’s valuation up from $150m to $170m
  • TechCrunch down from $36m to $25m
  • Huffington Post now second most valuable, up from $70m to $90m, but priced significantly lower that the funding valuation of $250m.

I won’t revisit the full list, you can read it here.

What’s of interest to me is how the calculations were made. Multiples given to sites were priced at between 3x yearly revenue and 12x (for GigaOm), although notably down from a range of sites being priced with a 15x multiple last year; a reflection on the broader economic climate. There is a premium with top tier blogs that go beyond standard multiples related to brand in particular, so higher multiples aren’t unfair, although I’d suggest in this case are a little high. The lower end of the market tends to work in monthly multiples (it’s how I’ve always dealt with buying and selling sites), so a 12x yearly multiple would be a 144x monthly multiple. It’s not impossible, but even when the market was pumping, even higher end sales in the $100k-$1m mark rarely did 40x monthly, although I recall the odd site at around 75-80x monthly. The valuation difference of course is between acquisition cost and sale cost. If any of these sites were put on the market, they’d fight to get some of these multiples, but an in-demand site being acquired might.

Where the list may be flawed is the base CPM’s used to calculate the valuations. None of the figures on the list are unreasonable, if the post had been written in November of December 2008. But in February, the ad market is crashing, and $15-$20 CPM per page is a big ask in this market. Not impossible, but unlikely given some of the quick analysis I did on some of the sites mentioned. I’d think that $3 CPM per page at a base, ramping up to $10 CPM per page for the more niche sites is more likely with the odd exception, although naturally there’s no way to confirm that.