Rick Bruner comments on Blogspot/NYTimes revenue

Since I have comments turned off right now, Rick Bruner was kind enough to email his thoughts on my link to his NYT and Blogspot post.
Take it away, Rick:
Susan: Blogspot is probably monetized at less than $1 a page, while the
NYTimes is probably monetized at $20 or so a page.
Rick: “I presume you mean CPM not actually per page (view). I wonder if NYT
actually averages $20 CPM (they do still insist on serving
pop-unders), but let me not argue that point.
But as for Blogspot being unprofitable and untargeted, I wonder how
you come to those conclusions. Let’s take those one at a time. As for
unprofitable, do you have any basis for that claim? Blogspot is the
free web hosting service of Blogger, which is owned, of course, by
Google (bought in 1993, I believe, off the top of my head). Google is,
needless to say, highly profitable, and as far as I know they don’t
break out revenue for the Blogger division separately in their SEC
filings. So whether it’s unprofitable or not is Google’s CFO’s to know
and ours to speculate about. (This is all based on my assumptions; I’m
on deadline tonight, hence procrastinating, so I’m not looking any of
this up.)
Anyway, Google does now serve AdSense ads against all Blogspot blogs,
so there is real revenue there. And I don’t know exactly the size of
the Blogger staff, but it is an automated service, whereas the
NYTimes.com is a highly staff-intensive service, with lots of original
editorial and design overhead compared to Blogger. Were I have to
guess, I’d say Blogger probably has a staff of 20-30, while I have
been in the NYTimes’s offices and would peg it well over 100 (probably
more like 200-400). I do know that NYTimes.com is profitable (I noted
that in their SEC filings a few quarters ago), but I’d be surprised if
the premise of your economic hold true. Specificially, even with the
higher revenue NYT.com may or may not be getting at the moment, the
much lower overhead of Blogger is a strategic advantage; when Blogger
reaches a certain critical mass, I exect it would be capable of a
significantly higher profit margin due to its greater ability to
scale. And if you look at that Alexa chart, it looks like it’s just
now hitting he proverbial hockey stick curve.
As for targeting, true, the NYT.com has an awesome audience
demographic. But the, blog readers are a pretty favorable audience in
their own right, as a recent BlogAds survey illustrates.
Moreover, if you want to talk about niche targeting, there is no
comparison: you want to reach PR professionals, for example? Good luck
pinpointing that audience on NYT.com. On blogs? No problem.
Besides, Google’s whole point in buying Blogger (presumably) was to
target blog readers in great detail via its contextual targeting
system AdSense.
You want targeting? Don’t underestimate blogs for a minute.
Thanks, Rick. What I actually meant was that the combined revenue per page was $20 or more–not the CPM.–that’s definitely a higher page value than Blogspot, even with the greatly diminished staffing costs Blogger incurs.
I agree that someday blogs can make great money with targeted ads; right now, I don’t see agencies jumping in, nor do I see most blogging platforms doing anything to win new business, with the except of a couple of publishers we are all aware of.
Of course, in the future, everything will change–doesn’t it always.