b5media’s Changes to Blogger Pay: Right, Fair and Still a Sweet Deal

b5media logoOver 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.

Recommended Reading

For more details, I recommend you read Jeremy Wright’s blog post in response to the TechCrunch story.


b5media: One of the Canadian New Media Awards Finalists!

b5media and Canadian New Media Awards logos

b5media, the company for whom I am Nerd Wrangler, is one of the finalists for the Canadian New Media Awards’ “Most Promising Company of the Year”. The announcement was made at the nextMEDIA conference, which took place this weekend in Banff.

We’re up against the esteemed competition, FileMobile and Viigo. According to the Canadian New Media Awards site, the winners will be announced at their gala in October.

My congratulations to my coworkers! I knew that working at b5 was going to be special.


b5media is Looking for a New Director of Technology

Wild-haired guy surrounded by old computers

Farewell, Aaron

Aaron BrazellIt’s official: Aaron Brazell, the Director of Technology for b5media (where I hold the title of Nerd Wrangler), is leaving to pursue other projects. When he joined the company, it was a startup literally operating out of a garage and running on shared hosting. We’re now a blog network of over 300 blogs with a total of 10 million unique pageviews per month. I’ve worked with him for a mere three weeks — and one of those was spent at the South by Southwest Interactive conference — but he’s a solid guy, and his skills are evident in his work and the high regard in which he is held.

Here’s an excerpt from his “farewell” post in his blog, Technosailor:

It’s been a great ride, but now it’s time to look forward and explore new territory. Recently, through my interactions with so many wonderful people in the DC technology community, the PodCamp community, the larger social media, business and technology communities, my appetite for something new and challenging has been overwhelming. I’ve had several conversations with Jeremy Wright, our CEO, over the past months exploring this stuff and he has been amazingly supportive, as has the rest of the b5media team.

An exact date has not been set, as I want to make sure a replacement is found and brought up to speed, however it will probably be within the next couple of months.


Uncle Sam: I want you for b5media

With Aaron’s departure comes a job opening for a new Director of Technology. Could it be you?

Here are some points on the position:

  • You must either live in or be willing to relocate to Toronto. If you have to relocate, b5 will cover the relocation costs.
  • We’re looking for an intermediate- to senior-level developer who’s worked on customer-facing web applications and properties.
  • Our systems run on the LAMP stack and WordPress.
  • b5media is a startup, so you’d have to be comfortable working in a startup environment. We work hard, but we play hard too!
  • We’re a blog network, so we need someone who’s passionate about blogging.
  • You’ll be leading a team of techies working both locally (in Toronto) as well as remotely.
  • Super-duper bonus: you’ll also be working closely with me, as I’m the tech project manager!

Here’s what Jeremy Wright, b5’s CEO, has to say:

End of the day, we hire smart people who like to have fun and really want to build great stuff that tens of millions of people are going to see. The challenges for this year are significant, but so is the opportunity. In fact, by this time next year, this individual will be leading a team of 15-20 folk building some of the most widely used tools in the blogging world.

If you’ve got questions about the job or b5, feel free to email me, but I also strongly recommend that you also email Jeremy (after all, he’s the CEO). We’re looking to fill this position as quickly as possible — if you think you’re our Director of Technology, let us know!