Not everyone can run a profitable blog. Of the 133 million blogs identified by Technorati last September, the majority were labors of love, not real businesses.
But Israeli startup Triond says it has figured out a way to enable more hobbyist bloggers to make a living as paid writers. The company has started a service that functions as a publisher and distributor for writers, a kind of middleman that is the equivalent of an old-world book publisher.
With Triond, bloggers no longer post to their own blogs. Rather, they submit stories to Triond’s network of 30 blogs and publishing partners. Those sites already have considerable traffic on vertical topics, such as pets or cars. The editors of those sites choose which posts they want to accept. They don’t pay for the posts. Rather, Triond wraps the posts with an ad, which the sites publish. The publishers take the post with the Triond ad and put it on a web page, which has its own ads.
Then Triond shares half the revenue of the Triond ads with the blogger, who makes more money from an ad of a well-trafficked site than the blogger would make from 100 percent of the ad revenue from a low-trafficked site. The stories appear on sites such as Notecook, Sportales, or Telewatcher. The publisher keeps all of the ad revenue from the publisher ads that are on the web page.
Essentially, Triond is reinserting a middleman into the process that cut out the middleman before. That’s because there can be real value added by publishers, editors and marketers in this context, said Shahar Solomianik, chief executive of Triond in Tel Aviv.
“Some bloggers find if they eliminate the publisher, they are all alone,” he said. “They then have to learn new skills, like viral marketing.”
In this way, bloggers get to focus on just writing. So far, more than 100,000 bloggers have registered with Triond, whose 30 company-owned web sites draw three million monthly unique visitors.
The bloggers can still get a page with all of their posts. The page archives the blogger’s stories, but the links for each story on the archive page go to whatever site published the story. Triond was started in June 2006 by Solomianik, Udi Oz, and Oren Solomianik. The company now has nine employees and raised $1.5 million in funding from Israeli venture firm Giza. They expect to raise a round in the fall.
Rivals include other aggregators of content such as Associated Content and Helium. Over time, Solomianik says the company will create and sign up more publishing partners for its network. As traffic grows, so will the amounts of the checks that the company sends to bloggers.
Richard Irving, a partner at Pond Ventures, said he liked the Triond business because many competent bloggers have no obvious outlet besides their own sites, so aggregating these into verticals makes sense. He also said that the use of publisher partners is also important, so that no single site monopolizes the voice of the independent bloggert.