Over at TechCrunch, Mike Arrington posted an article titled Big Blogger Pay Cuts At b5Media. As a recent ex-b5er (I’m the former Technical Project Manager), I thought I’d provide a former insider’s perspective:
- b5media paid bloggers based on pageview statistics drawn from AWStats, which produces its results by analyzing the the server log files.
- In b5’s experience, AWStats reported pageview counts that were significantly inflated — I’m talking numbers that were sometimes two-thirds higher than reality — and this was confirmed when AWStats’ results were compared with those reported by SiteMeter, a package we believe is far more accurate.
- b5 recently made the switch to Omniture’s web analytics package, which delivers more accurate pageview statistics and can do the kinds of detailed analysis that the company needs.
- As a trusted third party, Omniture provides results that can be trusted by:
- The bloggers. Unlike AWStats, which is run by b5 and based on data on b5’s servers, Omniture’s data is collected and processes by a neutral third party with a solid industry reputation.
- Advertisers. Just as TV ad buyers look at ratings and newspaper and magazine ad buyers look at circulation, blog advertisers look at pageview stats, and they need to be able to trust the numbers we provide them.
- b5’s investors. They use the size of the readership as a metric for the company’s performance, and like advertisers, they need to be able to trust the stats.
Simply put, up till now, b5 has been paying bloggers based on inaccurate, inflated pageview counts. If you’re a b5 blogger and your pay drops as a result of the switch to Omniture, you’re not getting ripped off; it just means that the system no longer makes errors in your favour. It was a nice ride, but it had to end sometime.
Even under the new pay structure, blogging under the b5 umbrella is a pretty sweet deal. A guaranteed minimum CPM of $4? That’s awesome compared to the alternatives out there. Consider my personal blog, The Adventures of Accordion Guy in the 21st Century, which has been averaging about 200,000 pageviews a month (outperforming most of b5’s blogs) and has had over 2 million pageviews this year according to StatCounter. I do a big happy dance when my CPM makes that rare climb over $1.10. $4? Sign me up!
To summarize, I believe that b5media’s new pay system for bloggers is both the right thing for the company and fair to its bloggers. I stand behind CEO Jeremy Wright and the rest of the b5 team in their decision.
For more details, I recommend you read Jeremy Wright’s blog post in response to the TechCrunch story.