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Three ways to build an online media business to $50m in revenue February 26, 2007

Posted by jeremyliew in advertising, Consumer internet, Digital Media, Entrepreneur, Internet, start-up, startups, user generated content, VC, Venture Capital, web 2.0.
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As a venture capitalist, I’m interested in investing in companies that could be big one day, that could get to at least $50m in revenue.

Here are three ways to get to $50m in revenue as an online media business; indulge me in some math:

1. Be a site with a broad reach (say general social networking, communications, news). At large scale, without a great deal of targeting possible, a startup’s “run of site” or “run of network” advertising might be able to get to the $1 RPM range (Revenue per thousand impressions, including CPM, CPC, and CPA models). To get to $50m in revenue you would need 50 billion pageviews in a year, or just over 4 billion per month. According to Comscore, Bebo had the 10th most Pageviews in the US in Janurary 1007, with 3.4bn, so you would need to be bigger than that.

2. Be a site with demographic targeting (say a Latino portal, or a sports site (targeted at men) or a social network targeted at baby boomers). Although in TV and in magazines, demographic targeting can generate double digit CPMs, online at scale, RPMs tend to be in the low single digit range. Lets assume a $5 RPM. To get to $50m in revenue you would need 10 billion pageviews in a year, or just over 800 million per month. According to Comscore, Microsoft had the 22nd most Pageviews in the US in January 2007, with 792 million, so you would need to be bigger than that. [Microsoft isn't a demographically targeted site - i just use it as a comparison point for overall traffic size.]

3. Be a site with endemic advertising opportunities (say a site about movies that movie studios will want to advertise on, or a site about cars that auto manufacturers will want to advertise on, or a site about travel that hotels and airlines and online travel agencies will want to advertise on). If you have a highly targeted audience that is interested in buying a specific product, you can command RPM’s well into the double digits. Lets assume a $20 RPM. To get to $50m in revenue you would need 2.5 billion pageviews in a year, or just over 200 million per month. According to Comscore, Adelphia.com had the 125th most Pageviews in the US in January 2007, with 198 million, so you would need to be bigger than that. [Adelphia isn't an endemically targeted site - i just use it as a comparison point for overall traffic size.]

Admittedly, all these Comscore #s are US only, and all businesses will have international traffic as well, but the principle still holds.

Which do you think is easiest?

UPDATE: If you liked this post you will likely like my prior post on why new forms of advertising are hard

UPDATE II: To all new visitors, if you like what you read, subscribe to the Lightspeed Venture Partners blog RSS feed. Its at the bottom of the Right Hand Side column. We post 2-3 times per week on topics including consumer internet, web 2.0, lead gen, ecommerce, startups and venture capital.

UPDATE III: I’ve posted more on the difficulties in building a media business to $50m in revenues here.

Comments»

1. Brian Provost - February 26, 2007

To be honest, those RPM rates are terrible. If an investment isn’t doing$50 RPM plus, it’s a bad market, it probably isn’t defensible, and their ad product sucks ass.

Reminds me of the old racing saying, “The only way to make a small fortune in motorsports is to start with a large one.”

So, I think I go with Option #4…build a portfolio of high margin properties to get to the big audience #’s. THAT is defensible, profitable, and more likely to be able to roll out more aggressive ad products for the higher RPM rate.

2. TropicalSEO - February 26, 2007

3 without a doubt, if you’re a small guy without leveraging substantial offline assets/reach. (i.e., maybe a family of magazines could go after #2)

To beat 200M pageviews you’re going to have to have a mix of killer content / tools to get tons of traffic in, and then leverage that with a killer user-generated content model. (e.g., tripadvisor)

3. lawrence coburn - February 26, 2007

The easiest? Yikes, none of these look particularly easy. As you point out, getting to $50M in revenue with RPMs in the $1 range requires a boatload of traffic. To me, generating this kind of traffic with the number of competing, quality social media plays is the most daunting – especially for a venture that is just starting. Maybe it’s not impossible, but at this stage of the game, it’s pretty damn close.

Regardless what your target audience is (everbody, a certain demographic, a vertical), there are a couple of other factors that I think might give a better chance to getting your business to $50M:

– The ability to partition your content into targeted, advertising-friendly blocks. Wikia has this, MySpace does not.
– An SEO friendly, keyword oriented structure.
– Content that will induce a regular inflow of organic inbound links. I’m thinking of both widgets and linkbaity stuff here – video, unique content, current events, etc.
– Somehwere to start from – a mailing list, an old domain, a forum acquisition, etc.
– Fast servers. From my experience, having a fast site can tack on an additional 15% to pageviews per visit.

4. Ted Rheingold - February 26, 2007

>Which do you think is easiest?

Being the advertising network that the type 1 sites use for their “run of networks” ads ;>

5. Michael Hoffman - February 27, 2007

Maybe it was a rhetorical question. No easy choices there. I think the easiest way to get to the $50 million is to build some additional revenue streams. Add to your advertising a premium membership option that’s attractive and maybe you can get there faster. I certainly wouldn’t invest in any company in any of the above categories today that didn’t have something more to offer on the revenue side.

6. Jeff Y - February 28, 2007

I think this shows the problems with B2C ad model startups. Very very few will be able to ever get this large. B2C internet content may be popular in the VC community right now, but it will definitely swing back to B2B, where you can focus customer acquisition on a core demographic, create recurring revenue streams and build barriers to entry. We are seeing this with internet B2B in finance, CRM, search and real estate.

7. Rockwell - February 28, 2007

“To be honest, those RPM rates are terrible. If an investment isn’t doing $50 RPM plus, it’s a bad market, it probably isn’t defensible, and their ad product sucks ass.”

I’d be curious to hear the name of one online business that does $50 RPMs on display advertising at scale.

I think the lesson here is that trying to achieve large returns on online media businesses is currently a losing proposition. From what I’ve seen, the trend is towards greater compartmentalization – instead of people hanging out on MySpace, they’re hanging out on sites that are explicitly geared towards their interests. Unfortunately for VCs, most of these sites don’t require much in the way of capital to get started.

Side note: Adelphia’s probably not a good example for #3, since most of that traffic is start page traffic for their customers, i.e. low-CPM portal traffic.

8. Rockwell - February 28, 2007

“I think the lesson here is that trying to achieve large returns on online media businesses is currently a losing proposition.”

Sorry, I meant to say that it’s a losing proposition for VCs.

9. Jim Greer - February 28, 2007

Nice analysis, and Michael makes a good point. Pogo.com is probably around $70m now, and during the time I was there it went from a low RPM site to one with a huge subscription business (and now a growing microtransaction one too).

It also boosted its RPMs with in-game sponsorship deals.

We’ll be doing all of these with Kongregate (http://kongregate.com). In terms of ads we’re somewhere between #1 and #2. Maybe 1.5

10. Sean Ammirati - February 28, 2007

Jeremy, I agree with Brian. It is actually quite easy (if your audience is well targeted) to beat $20 RPM. However, this tends to be more B2B type audiences. For example, I’d guess Reed Elsevier doesn’t have any sites selling even run of site ads for double-digit RPM numbers. That said, I think we’re going to discover more ‘consumer’ like audienceses that command those RPM rates soon. For example, what about an audience of well-read influential tech pundits? I’d pay more than $100 RPM for those impressions. Just need to match the impression with the intent. Ultimately, this is really what Google has done as John Battelle says “create a database of intentions” ;)

11. Jeff Jordan - February 28, 2007

I’ll jump on Michael’s bandwagon as well. The premium subscriptions are the way to go for investors and entrepreneurs. As an entrepreneur, the subscription gives you much more breathing room while you ramp up traffic and build a good valuation. For investors, subscriptions are cash cows that are easy acquisition targets. Outside of Google’s PPC, I’d say subscriptions are the best business model around.

12. jeremyliew - February 28, 2007

I believe that success is possible under all three models – not easy – but doable.

Under #1, Bebo and Myspace are doing great. There are some still up and coming sites that could get up there as well, including Tagged, Hi5, Piczo, Xanga, Netvibes and others.

Under #2, Facebook is the best example, and many are targeting other markets.

However, I believe #3 is the most doable approach for the current generation of startups. Several people have commented that B2B media companies can command higher effective RPMs than B2C companies and they’re absolutely right. However, a lot of B2C media companies can also command RPMs north of $20 also, depending on how well they are targeted – I just used $20 for illustrative purposes. The issue is balance- how to get to higher RPMs with sufficiently many “M”s to build a big business. One way is to go after markets that have broad appeal and large marketing budgets (e.g. travel, auto, pharma/healthcare, movies etc). Another is to go after smaller markets but do lots of them. We have investments in companies taking both approaches, and are bullish on the opportunities here.

Rockwell,
Thanks for the sidenote – I’ve amended the post to indicate that the comparisons are for size purposes only – I don’t mean to suggest that Adelphia is a targeted advertising site. Its about as broad reach as you can get.

13. Adam Jusko - February 28, 2007

A mix of the three is most likely to reach the revenue numbers you’re talking about.

#1 is too much untargeted traffic–who knows what those people want to see? Which is why the low RPMs.

#2 requires you to narrow the audience with a higher RPM, which might put you in the same place as #1, just a differentequation to get there.

#3 narrows your audience even further at an even higher RPM, again just changing the weights on the scale.

The best formula is to have a lot of eyeballs on a wide variety of targeted content. Who does that? Search engines, and it’s why we believe our new human-powered search engine Bessed can make the leap. Using human editors to create the most relevant search results with detailed descriptions of each link creates a targeted site with a mass appeal. Or so we hope :)

14. will - March 1, 2007

Personalization and proper targeting could make #1’s RPM up to the $5 range . . . you just have to show advertisers you have the ability to . .. or work on a PPC basis . . .

Didnt Fox just buy an ad optimization firm specifically for myspace just recently?

15. bobbyd - March 1, 2007

Great piece and great feedback, here is my 2cents:
I have started one my media behemoth corp road with a social network called, verbdate.com. Basically 100% free social net with skype built in so people can call each other as an alternative to exchanging numbers. We have adsense on the site and it has been terribly disappointing to say the least.

Now, we don’t have the traffic to get excited about CPM yet, but the ad relevance is the big disconnect! Ads for “name tags” and “price tags” because our site uses Web2.0 “tags” is a real waste of html.

We are experimenting with a tag engine that links user generated “tags” to ads! So, a member who has the tags, yoga, skiing, in their profile will see ads for “Yoga Wear” and ” Ski vacations” at there local resort. The ad engine ties to Google maps to select the radius of the ad so its local and with people adding tags to all their online persona’s it just makes more sense!

Anyway, the system is up and down as we experimenting but soon we hope to show 50 million “relevant” ads to 50 million people a couple million times a year :) Nice media dream eh?

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17. Weissman - March 4, 2007

Re option number 1, for run of the mill broad reach sites I am definitely seeing less than $1RPM in the market. The inventory is large but advertisers are not seeing value, and indeed there is some evidence that the rates are even declining.

A whole new spate of ad exchange and analytic start ups are coming in to help solve the problem are “garbage” inventory by making it more actionable to advertisers through better data. We’ll have to see how that goes

18. emi - March 5, 2007

The business model doesn’t always have to be advertising. How about paid services or value added services? Aren’t these a viable investment? I can give you at least 3 successful examples that haven’t even taken funding, yet.

19. jeremyliew - March 6, 2007

emi,

Other business models are absolutely viable. I was focusing only on media models within this post

Will, bobbyD and Wiessman,

People have been trying for some time (through contextual and behavioural targeting networks) to increase the value of broad reach inventory, and this has been factored into the RPMs I estimated above. However, hopefully the new set of startups that are addressing the issue (including the one that FIM just bought) will have more success in moving the RPM needle.

20. O'Reilly Radar - March 8, 2007

The Economics of Online Advertising

Mark Jacobsen pointed to a sobering post by Jeremy Lieuw on the lightspeed venture blog about the economics of online advertising. Entitled Three ways to build an online media business to $50m in revenue, the article does the math: At…

21. ben - March 8, 2007

Ok so I think you’re generally on the right track, but miss a few key points. First I am not sure how much you can do with RPM calculation to begin with… what about more than one ad per page, what about rich experience where folks spend 30 minutes interacting with a single page (game, video, whatever) … pageviews/impressions are so late 90s… anyone that is using page views as a basis for valuation needs their head examined… I’d suggest average monthly unique (AMU) is much more relevant and telling.

Ever tried pitching a brand advertiser on the value of a 500k AMU site or tried to make any money off of an ad networks from the same 500k AMU site, you’re not going to get anywhere fast no matter how many pages the site generates. Advertisers are smart enough to know that pages are a dime a dozen and that the uniques are what counts. Assuming you’ve achieved some scale, say 2 million AMUs, in the premium display ad business if you have no niche content, count on sub $1.50 in annual revenue per AMU (general news sites), more broad but clearly identifiable niche maybe $2.50 (travel, health, music) , a tight defined niche $4-5 (Travel to UK, HipHop Music). These can obviously be shifted somewhat either way by the presence or absence of desirable ad product mixes (video vs non IAB etc)

Another huge consideration, that’s treated more as a given here, is the size of the online display advertising money chasing the users you have. You can build a 10B pageview/mo website for camera/photography enthusiast, but there is only so much endemic money floating around in the market earmarked for online display advertising, so don’t expect to have a flood of folks banging down the door to spend $50 cpms… in reality you’ll get one or two and sell through will be tiny, which makes this math not very useful.

Way too many people see the very big numbers of online ad spending, but don’t see the very much smaller amt that is the premium display element. So if we had $16.8B spent in 2006 in online advertising and 20% of that was display revenue which works out to $3.36 B… so that is enough spending to support a whopping 67 businesses making $50 million a year on average in 2006… as we all well know there are a hell of a lot more than that chasing the premium display ad business dream… and in reality their cut is much much smaller regardless of what kind of pageview numbers they report.

22. jeremyliew - March 8, 2007

Ben – I think you’ll find that we arrive at the same conclusion through different analyses – that building big online media businesses is hard.

23. Kyle Redinger - March 8, 2007

None of the three. You hit the nail on the head.

You need to own high quality and niche content.

Growth will come from the companies that identify the value associated with niche media properties and can build upon those with technologies. Technology companies will need to think about buying content creators with valuable segments. You can’t build a valuable advertising base without having established readers.

Social networking, video sharing etc will become a commodity and only the companies that enable advertisers to reach valuable niche markets will survive. I write about this here: http://themediaage.com/?p=8 .

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25. ben - March 8, 2007

sorry I think I missed the conclusion in my first read through. But agreed that it will be a daunting task to meet the $50 million benchmark from a single genre site through premium display ad revenue model. Also why would you take the risk to go out and start such a thing from scratch… If I really wanted to start something in the premium display ad business I think I’d take a look at site genres in the early part of the long tail (motorcycle, cooking, boating, hunting & fishing etc) with either just one really strong online player (dont worry advertisers like to spread $$ around) or just many weak players and create a network around the remaining weak players to get to a minimum AMU level to bring to market. If you control the underlying ad serving for the network you’ll soon find out what works and what doesn’t and can always go launch the stand alone site once you’ve gained the learning. In fact I am surprised many of the sub 1M circ magazine publisers like Boating Magazine aren’t off doing this already. Think the market could support a lot more Federated Media genre type set ups.

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27. Lance Weber - March 9, 2007

So, how many #3’s would settle for $10-20M and just as soon skip the headaches/heartaches associated with VC money altogether?

As a founder, my guess is I’d make about the same amount of exit money from a $10-20M company I grew without a VC as a $50M company I grew with a bunch of VC’s. I’d be interested in seeing some numbers along those lines…

28. John DeMayo - March 9, 2007

Ben-

You seem to be talking about revenue per visitor per month, as ooposed to page eCPM. If I make $1.50 a year, for every monthly unique — well, thats just a bizarre way to calculate things. But let’s assume each user sees 30 pages per month? So 360 per year? So that’s a bit north of $4 per thousand pageviews?

I think talking about monthly uniques, and their value per year, is a model that’s hard to equate to eCPM per pageview.

Guess it’s easiest to debate possible economics by sticking to one “counting methodlogy” if you will. RE: “sub $1.50 in annual revenue per AMU (general news sites)”

Furthermore when you state “more broad but clearly identifiable niche maybe $2.50 (travel, health, music)”

I would be hesitant to classify these 3 categories togethor. General health regularly commands 10x or so the rate of general music content.

29. John DeMayo - March 9, 2007

Sorry, quick correction, scratch “You seem to be talking about revenue per visitor per month, as ooposed to page eCPM.”

replace with:

“You seem top be talking about annual revenues, based upon annual value of a monthly unique * number of monthly uniques, as opposed to page eCPM.”

30. Yakov - March 9, 2007

3-2-1
Create a platform for simple verticals 3 that will each become 2 and together grow to 1

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33. ben - March 9, 2007

yeah sorry, that may have been a bit confusing… expect annual revenue to be the stated multiple times average monthly uniques over the course of the year… so in other words if you are able to average 3 million average monthly uniques for a health site, I am saying on average you can expect to be looking at 2.5 x 3 mllion or $7.5 million in annual revenue… but its just a rule of thumb that I’ve noticed by digging into various financial statements against and Unique visitor stats… from a few dozen companies. It a more useful tool for an M&A type person wondering if an existing sales team is fulfilling a sites ad revenue potential, it cuts out a lot of th bs related to page views, ads per page, “but we have cooler ad units” stuff.
Its basically this: how many people can you attract and keep attracting and extract ad revenue from. It discourages people from saying, of I’ll just stick 5 ads on a page, or put a auto refresh on the ads to re call the ad server for a new ad every 30 seconds and juice my ad impression number…

34. ben - March 9, 2007

ah I think I see, you’re coming from an advertising.com perspective, ie a response oriented network… very possible that advertisers buying on such a network would be willing to pay 10x more for health content then for music content… but its obvious to me that just becuase you build a bunch of health pages doesn’t mean you’re going to make 10x the cpm on all those pages… hop on over to webmd right now and click around for a few minutes… notice all the ads advertising webmd itself… wonder why… becuase they can’t find enough paying buyers for that inventory… after I meet my frequency cap on the first three or four pages I get nothing but house ads. So my point is that you’re talking ecpm from a network perspective and I am saying yes they can get $50 cpms if you only count the ones that are purchased, but if you count all available ads, or what the publisher could have made available the effective cpm including non sold ads would be much, much smaller. This is where the fun w/ math and fun w/ ad set up files begins… ie if I don’t put an ad call in that spot, was it ever there? Which is why the whole cpm and ecpm metrics are pretty darn near useless for a site owner IMO.

35. beebee - March 9, 2007

What do RPM, CPM, CPC and CPA stand for?

36. Iinthesky - March 9, 2007

impossible, since Youtube only made 16M in revenue all of 2006.

37. jeremyliew - March 9, 2007

BeeBee,

CPM = Cost per Thousand Impressions (yeah, I know, its wierd) is the standard way that advertising rates are quoted. So if you are buying 1 million ad impressions at a $5 CPM then you will pay 1000000/ 1000 x $5 = $5000 for your ad campaign

CPC = Cost per Click which is the way that Google (for example) charges for its advertising. You pay not for the number of impressions, but only for the number of times that you ad (link) is clicked on. Hence it gets more tied to the performance of your advertising campaign

CPA = Cost per Action. This action might be filling in a form, buying an item, signing up a subscriber etc. It is even more tied to performance than CPC.

RPM = Revenue per thousand (pages) which is the sum of all revenue (regardless of CPC, CPM, CPA etc) that is generated off of a thousand pageviews

38. neocortex blog - March 9, 2007

[...] by Jeremy Liew on the Lightspeed venture blog about the economics of online advertising. Entitled Three ways to build an online media business to $50m in revenue, the article does the [...]

39. Sramana Mitra - March 9, 2007

Precisely why, this is a business that should be bootstrapped, and Built-to-Enjoy. Read this: http://sramanamitra.com/blog/655

40. Rob B - March 9, 2007

The author didn’t mention that there are usually more than one ad format on each page. For example, a page can consist of multiple ads on one page, thus reducing the number of actual pageviews. If you have two ads on a page, you need 50% less page views. In addition with the right technology the RPM will be much higher. Again this is with the right technology.

So all options above are good, you just need to know what you are doing.

41. jeremyliew - March 9, 2007

Rob B – I tried to abstract away from issues like CPM vs CPC vs CPA; number of ad units per page and sell through rates by focusing on RPM. I think the point still holds

42. Rob B - March 9, 2007

Jeremy – I agree with your points – but to hit $50M in sales will not require 50B pageviews. In addition, the $1.00 RPM is relatively low from a standpoint of a growing media company.

43. Rob B - March 9, 2007

By the way – enjoyed your article on being in ‘stealth’

44. ben - March 9, 2007

Iinthesky, not sure what the ‘impossible’ was directed to, but if youtube had 20 million AMU and $16 million in revenue, that would equate to $0.80 per unique, which is consistent w/ the above rev per amu rule of thumb no? Youtube is about as general in nature as content gets. Now I think they’ll be able to make quite a bit of non premium display money via search deals and also be able to parlay the enormous amt of press to get them on buys they wouldnt normally get on for a while, but as a rule of thumb I’ve not seen a better predictor of revenue potential from premium display ads model then rev per amu in along that $0-$5 range based on nicheness.

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50. Tiku - March 13, 2007

CPM, CPC and Premium membership along with Featured listings are the way to go along with goot vistor stream. Don’t involve a VC in your startup and you sould be OK with $1-$10 million in your kitty. That’s how we have developed http://www.edirection.com with seed money from self and family!!

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54. Paul Heydon - March 14, 2007

i think people should focus on growing revenues and more importantly the value of the business by dominating their niche as a premium is always paid for the market leader. for example, Google paid $1.65bn for youtube which only had revenues of $15m. generating revenues is important but generating shareholder value is what will will deliver a financial success

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I think getting tens/hundreds of millions page views (ad views) per month would allow you to monetize your site beyond the CPM model solely (subscriptions, featured services, micro payments, exclusive sponsorships)…so getting to the $50M mark would be pretty faster, when you are at that point, then you might think

My 2 cents

64. Content Is Queen » Blog Archive » CIQ Headlines for March 19, 2007 - March 19, 2007

[...] Ad-Supported Model, Harder than You’d Think– (LightSpeed Venture Partners Blog) This Silicon Valley VC runs several scenarios, each with the moral: You have to generate a LOT of page views to reach $50m in ad revenue. CIQ: Many good points. Another consider: Many sites are destined to be sold (Reddit, NeoPets, YouTube) to beef up established companies weak in digital. “In the last year, Viacom spent about $1 billion buying Web sites specializing in games, user-generated content and other entertainment likely to be popular with its young audiences.” (NYT 3/19)  [...]

65. Revenus des medias: les limites de la course au trafic « ecosphere - March 19, 2007

[...] c’est Jeremy Liew de Lightspeed Venture Partners, et sa préoccupation c’est comment un média peut-il atteindre un CA de 50 M de dollars. Tout un [...]

66. This “No Money In Advertising” Meme Needs to Die Ensight - Jeremy Wright’s Personal Blog - March 20, 2007

[...] let’s summarize Jeremy’s point (see his original post, as well as followup 1 and followup [...]

67. Making Money With Online Advertising in The Long Tail » Conversion Rater - web analytics, online advertising, and website publishing. - March 20, 2007

[...] it is to make money with online advertising. Jeremy Liew of Lightspeed started it by discussing ways to build an online media business to $50 million in revenue, the New York Times picked up on it, and then Scott Karp of Publishing 2.0 added a [...]

68. eddie ryan - March 20, 2007

Do you think that Vois.com would fit the mold. It seems to be what you are describing

69. News Update « Branding Me - March 20, 2007

[...] highs in 2006. With all this in mind, a recent blog post from a venture capital firm outlined how to build an online media business into $50 million in revenue (we all could only hope).  Last but not least, IBM completed a study that summarized four business [...]

70. Pete’s View - March 20, 2007

[...] along comes Jeremy Lewis’s post “Three ways to build an online business to 50M” which focuses on the traffic needed to hit 50M in annual revenue with 3 distinct business [...]

71. Growth, Money in Advertising? » AlexHopmann.com - March 20, 2007

[...] There is quite a discussion going on right now about growth prospects for startups, and projections based on advertising revenue. [...]

72. iAdvert.mobi » How to Build a Profitable Startup by Knowing Your Users Better - March 21, 2007

[...] at the NYT explored recently, taking his cue from Jeremy Liew of Lightspeed. A few weeks ago Jeremy wrote about the scale a business has to achieve to get to $50M in revenue. I have summarized the scenarios from [...]

73. Dan Blank: Publishing, Innovation and the Web » Blog Archive » Making Money Online May Be Harder Than Previously Believed - March 22, 2007

[...] Jeremy Liew, a venture capitalist at Lightspeed Venture Partners, offers three ways to get to $50m in revenue as an online media business. [...]

74. Brian P Halligan - March 22, 2007

I would not want to a be a venture capitalist trying to play this game. It is awefully difficult to predict what kinds of models will produce these massive volumes of traffic economically. Investing in these types of businesses feels closer to buying lottery tickets than traditional venture capital. …Kudos to lightspeed if you can figure a model out where you folks hit even one out of 10 of these lottery ticket types of deals in a sustainable way.

75. Nicholas Bedworth, CTO, DigitalDirect Development Corporation - March 23, 2007

General question…

What kind of CPA obtains for getting a consumer to watch an entire 30 second video? This action would suggest that the person was well-targeted and had at least some interest in the content.

Is there a compilation somewhere of typical rates, within the CPA context, for getting a person to fill out a form, actually purchase the product or service, etc.?

Our company is building an online merchandising platform, which as sort of a side effect of its discovery mechanisms, should allow for ultra-targeted “communications”.

76. jeremyliew - March 23, 2007

Nick,

No such compilation really exists. I’d suggest talking to an ad agency as though would likely be able to give you the best guidance as to what market pricing looks like

77. Nicholas Bedworth, CTO, DigitalDirect Development Corporation - March 23, 2007

Jerry,

Thank for the suggestion. I just saw a couple of useful data points in one of Don Dodge’s blogs (he’s the M&A guy at Microsoft).

http://dondodge.typepad.com/the_next_big_thing/2007/03/pay_per_action_.html

He says that that CPC charges for mortgages, cars and other “big ticket” items are $4-10; we understand that FTD pays $6. However, Dodge suggests that CPA for filling out a form or other deep interaction could be as much as $40. So there’s an opportunity for a “premium” CPA business built, perhaps, on top of highly-qualified micro-niches. This is our thesis, and some supporting data are now starting to emerge.

Nick

78. Monetizing "Web 2.0," Part 1 « Branding Me - March 23, 2007

[...] against? In a previous entry I mentioned a blog entry from Lightspeed Venture Partners concerning three ways to build an online media company to $50 million in revenue. But that means at $1 RPM, you would need approximately 4 billion pages views a month; at $5 RPM, [...]

79. Bennett Zucker - March 24, 2007

Judging by all the media companies trying to figure out how to become Web 2.0 companies, the real question is why anyone would try to build a sizable media company based purely on creating and distributing professional quality content. I think what you’re talking about – as a VC – is creating a business based on visitors producing the content, marketing the site for free to everyone else, and spreading the tech tools you’ve built to the rest of the web.

The old model required millions of dollars to market the content to build the audience to sell to advertisers. The new model pours money into the tools and utilities that make creating and sharing easy and marketing totally free. Typically, these fall into #1 and #2, while #3 is something VCs are never likely to touch: too much like media, too little like tech. (To see how media companies actually use their online ad inventory, download the deck at the bottom of this page:
http://www.imediaconnection.com/summits/coverage/13533.asp )

80. New Media Blogger » Why venture capitalists aren’t interested in ad supported businesses - March 24, 2007

[...] Great article over at the Lightspeed Ventures blog about what it takes to generate $50 million in revenue from an ad-supported website (Fifty million was chosen as it is unlikely Lightspeed would be interested in investing in a company whose revenues top out before it) [...]

81. Adaliz Huet - March 29, 2007

01. As Kyle Redinger points out: “only the companies that enable advertisers to reach valuable niche markets will survive.”

02. As ben says “Advertisers are smart enough to know that pages are a dime a dozen and that the uniques are what counts.”

– ahem. ben, gotta say that your pitch here could use a marketing 101 review. Repetition drives sales.

And that’s as far as I got before I had to stop and post.

82. ben - March 30, 2007

hmm ok, ok. lemme see if I can re arrange and try again. Google makes $20+ per AMU because their business is 100% search and search creates one to one matches between what someone is actively seeking and what and advertiser is selling… Same with Y! and everyone else w/ search MSN and AOL. But then look at the drop off in efficiency in extracting revenue from sites without search… they drop to sub $5 in revenue per amu. Anyone without search is going to see their level of revenue per amu take a nose dive because they have a much more difficult time making these one to one matches… Instead of providing search they’re providing content.. And 99.9% of the content is NOT going to be a perfect match with a clients product, but a 5, 10, 30, 40% match instead… So advertisers pay a premium for 1.. the very high degree of relevance or match with their product and 2. to know that users are in the mode of actively seeking something.

Logic would seem to say that the world of content falls a long a continuum between content about absolutely nothing all the way to content about the most specific way an item can be described… from zero to infinite nicheness… similarly you can extend that logic to assume that very few people want to read about nothing and just as few want to read about the most specific content conceivable… instead appeal of content and therefore the volume of pages with that type of content present will follow a normal distribution curve. As content gets more specific more people read, but then at a point it starts to get too specific where some people keep reading, but many others drop off as they lose interest. If you plotted all the pages in terms of their specificity of content, the total number of pages would look like a normal (bell) distribution.

So if you believe 1. that law of diminishing returns applies and that 2. advertisers understand and buy with the law of diminishing returns in mind, then they’ll cap the number of ad exposures per unique.

So if you agree that they’re really buying the unique then, where along that content continuum do you think you’ll find the most gross uniques? In the middle of the bell curve of course. And while advertisers will pay higher premiums as you move along the content nicheness continuum, the number of uniques will also be decreasing as you move further down the line. Just plotting a few of these from publicly available information (premium DISPLAY ad revenue only) seems to show that if you put a $0 multipliers at the least niche content and a $5 multiplier at the most niche content (multiplier x average monthly unique = estimated annual revenue) the theory seems pretty consistent .

83. ben - April 2, 2007

quick reach versus frequency quiz… I really need 10 new accounts opened in the next week, historically It’s cost me $100 in advertising to get a new account. So here take this $1k and come back with 10 new accounts. Lets say that that advertising costs $1 per exposure, what would you do?

advertise to
a. one person, hitting him 1k times
b. 1000 people hitting them 1x each
c. 500 people hitting them 2x each

this is why its not all about the page view/ impression.

84. 52 Bicycles » Blog Archive » How Focus Makes Profitability possible - April 7, 2007

[...] I shamelessly reprint Jitendra Gupta’s chart from How to Build a Profitable Startup by Knowing Your Users Better (which is itself a summary of Jeremy Liew’s post, Three ways to build an online media business to $50m in revenue. [...]

85. Patrick Aievoli - April 7, 2007

what do you think is going to happen once the new video portal from NBCUNI and News Corp hits? Will it drive up CPMs? Will these corporations get involved at this much of a monetary investment if CPMs are as little as $5CPM? How would they make their investment back since they are competing against themselves for eyeballs? Make any sense?

86. ben - April 10, 2007

Ok so every company that has a over the air or cable linear video model now will launch online video. Bbuyers are willing to pay a little more on an avg cpm basis because its new and sexy and tracking is more accountable… so they’ll pay $30 instead of the typical $15 for old school (over the air) version. Online will retain a premium CPM for quite a while to come IMO, both because sales people will claim that inventory is tight for a while and will successfully argue that someone actually saw the ads. But the size of a typical premium display online buy is still so small relative to traditional spending that at this point in the game is more about having an offer as to not risk losing the big linear buys from an advertisers who has been sold on benefits of a multiplatform presence. Basically big media has to build these things to continue to be able to play in their old game. eventually online cpms will decline more in line w/ over the air linear as the novely wears off and cpms decline back down from $30-40 for video to

87. jeremyliew - April 10, 2007

Patrick, Ben,

Online video advertising definitely commands higher CPMs than banner ads, so that is a lift. I’m not sure that there is a premium to TV though – my data says that it is actually at parity to a discount. But even parity is fine since the TV guys are recapturing lost ad dollars as viewers watch less TV and more online video

88. ben - April 10, 2007

yes video is certainly higher cpm than nearly any other in page units, although I do believe the online video typically receives a healthy price premium when compared to over the air cpms when compared on a total viewer basis (ie not on demo basis as most is purchased).. which has been an argument in the industry for quite a while… buyer keep saying that they don’t buy more online because its (relatively) expensive when compared with other mediums. In fact if this is done right the tv guys should be happier, 1. its a net add of available inventory, 2. online inventory is more malleable/flexible (ie can more easily be “made/created” to ramp up for peak advertiser demand times, and 3. their planners should be happier to have more flexibility around how to make good ADUs, able to bring in the audience number guaranteed to the penny (via an online, on demand, ad server) rather than risking overdlelivery via the whole wait until Nielsen rating come in and see if we made our number… in theory having the on demand (online) video inventory there as an option for ADU makegood should improve overall yield… and if they’re REALLY good they can just blur the line between online and linear video altogether and possible get bigger rate increases for the linear stuff by piggybacking on the online rate premiums… eventually that is.

89. The care and feeding of social media's three classes: Creators, Curators, Consumers « Lightspeed Venture Partners Blog - April 15, 2007

[...] networks, web 2.0. trackback I’m particularly interested in social media sites with traction focused on topics appealing to endemic advertiers Social media sites because of their extraordinary ability to grow without incurring marketing [...]

90. Nomadishere : Seeker of Truth » Blog Archive » links for 2007-04-18 - April 18, 2007

[...] Three ways to build an online media business to $50m in revenue « Lightspeed Venture Partners Blog (tags: business.models venture.capital) [...]

91. Presentation at Web 2.0 today - "Show me the money" « Lightspeed Venture Partners Blog - April 19, 2007

[...] can make money under both media and e-commerce models (Show me the money). This is an expansion of previous posts I have written on this [...]

92. CrunchNotes » Here’s Why Your Article Sucks, CNET - April 20, 2007

[...] of all, its a rip off of a widely discussed blog post by Jeremy Liew (see Tim O’Reilly as well). Neither of these posts are mentioned or linked to in the CNET [...]

93. SKMurphy » Lessons Learned by Jason Feinsmith at Accomplice - May 8, 2007

[...] To my surprise, the Accomplice hype and buzz was far from the truth. Positioned as an ad driven free service for small/medium business professionals, the company only had 18,000 users. I say “only” because in order to be a successful venture backed ad driven website, a company must generate $50 million dollars in revenue a year. On average, this is equivalent to to 1 billion page views a month. (ref Jeremy Liew of LightSpeed Ventures on “Three Ways to Build an On-Line Media Business to 50M in Revenue“) [...]

94. The Media Age » Creating Online “Niche Market Monopolies” Will Maximize Ad Revenue - May 17, 2007

[...] The Lightspeed article about the ways to build a $50m online business is getting some good press, mainly from the NYT, but from other sites as well. These articles raise an interesting point, mainly why is the value for online ads only $1 per thousand page views? [...]

95. Three ways to build an online media business to $50m in revenue « Telling it as it is - June 1, 2007

[...] Three ways to build an online media business to $50m in revenue February 26, 2007 [...]

96. More on online media sites with endemic advertisers « Lightspeed Venture Partners Blog - June 3, 2007

[...] social networks, web 2.0, advertising, Internet. trackback I’ve posted in the past about the three ways to build an online media company to $50m in revenues. One of the three ways is to focus on a topic with endemic advertisers – because RPMs are higher, [...]

97. Greg Tseng - June 7, 2007

Isn’t Flixster already around 200 million monthly pageviews? If so, why not hurry up and get it to $50M/yr in revenues!!

98. Alex - June 16, 2007

i think people should focus on growing revenues and more importantly the value of the business by dominating their niche as a premium is always paid for the market leader. for example, Google paid $1.65bn for youtube which only had revenues of $15m. generating revenues is important but generating shareholder value is what will will deliver a financial success

99. Business Mindset - June 19, 2007

A business may be profitable but a careless business man can ruin it. At the same time a potential businessman can even raise wonders from ruins. So it is clear that business depends on the person who is shaping it.

100. Paul - June 22, 2007

The easiest way to get to $50 mill?

Go get google or ebay to sign thier rights over to you.

instant success.

If you want to do it another way, GOOD LUCK:-)

101. Roi Carthy » Blog Archive » 5min & The $30,000,000 Question - June 23, 2007

[...] comprehend the economics and its implications. Jeremy Liew of Lightspeed Venture Partners wrote a great post about [...]

102. Stickiing around - July 5, 2007

Three ways to build an online media business to $50m in revenue « Lightspeed Venture Partners Blog

great old jeremy liew post about ways of getting to traffic which could generate 50M revenue. broad reach site < $1RPM demographic targeting $5 RPM endemic advertising $20RPM

103. BlogForward : Money » Ad Networks: Why it’s better than ever to be a targeted content site - July 24, 2007

[...] sites with the opportunity for endemic advertisers have an advantage, not just as standalone sites, or in synthetic channels, but also as members of ad networks. It’s a good time to be a targeted [...]

104. VentureBeat » Ad Networks: Why it’s better than ever to be a targeted content site - August 10, 2007

[...] sites with the opportunity for endemic advertisers have an advantage, not just as standalone sites, or in synthetic channels, but also as members of ad networks. It’s a good time to be a targeted [...]

105. Ron Kamien - August 30, 2007

Hi Jeremy,
I see that $20 RPM is continually used for targeted sites. Is this a reasonable figure for highly focused sites?
I am preparing a business plan for a site that would offer advertisers to reach an extremely targeted audience, and am searching for some reasonable figures to work with.

thanks
Ron

106. jeremyliew - August 30, 2007

Ron,

For a highly focused site with ENDEMIC advertisers, then a double digit RPM is a reasonable (when you’re at scale and selling your own ads). The exact number will depend on the attractiveness of the content focus to advertisers. e.g. sites focused on small business content can get RPMs over $100. Other topics with more advertiser options may be only at $10.

For a highly focused site without endemic advertisers (e.g. a sports site or a site for teens) then expect low single digit RPMs

107. Ron Kamien - September 2, 2007

Thanks Jeremy,
What exactly do you mean by “small business content”?

Ron

108. jeremyliew - September 2, 2007

Ron – an example might be allbusiness.com

109. Premo - September 3, 2007

Open questions for anyone:

How do you see affiliate programs fitting into the online media revenue model?

For niche premium sites, how do you see them comparing against CPM, CPC campaigns?

110. Ron Kamien - September 4, 2007

Thanks Jeremy!

111. blogcosm - September 16, 2007

Why BuzzTracker sold for $5 million instead of raising $5 million

For Web entrepreneurs, it’s helpful to understand the economics of a blog or related media business. Last August, BuzzTracker’s Alan Warms (posting on Fred Wilson’s “A VC” blog as “al from chicago”)

112. Alechemist - September 29, 2007

How does a “sports site” not qualify as something having ENDEMIC advertisers. I would think a site focused on sports (capturing a good demographic….18-34yo males) would have a slew of companies waiting to buy ads. Nike, UnderArmor, other content providers, travel sites (to get to events), orthopedists, etc.

Maybe I’m missing something but isn’t sports about as captive an audience as you can get? Or are you saying that a *tennis* site would be more targeted and have more endemic adverts than a general sports site?

113. jeremyliew - October 1, 2007

Alechemist,

I’m drawing a distinction between endemic advertisers who sell products related to the content, and those trying to reach the likely demographic of readers.

As a result, for “participatory” sports sites, especially those with a heavy gear focus (e.g. snow sports, kayaking, camping etc) have a lot of endemic advertisers. More “spectator” sports sites where the fans don’t necessary play (e.g. football, baseball) or where there isn’t much gear involved (e.g. basketball), don’t have as many endemic advertisers.

114. MarketingHacks - » Why Building an Online-Media Empire isn't easy! - October 8, 2007

[...] on the Lightspeed venture parners blog, posted a thought provoking article on the reality of building a $50m per year online media empire. This was back in February, and the comments this story has collected makes interesting reading. [...]

115. Trademark Registration - November 27, 2007

Web entrepeneurs are becoming more and more common every day. It’s important to have articles like these around to help those barely starting out.

116. Emymeyo The Small Business Strategy - December 2, 2007

I believe the average consumer appreciates that quality content has embedded ads to support the costs associatd to produce and thus is undermined by this type of app.

117. Business - Ask 37signals: Installable software? - (37signals) | goldcaronline.org - December 6, 2007

[...] Three ways to build an online media business to $50m in revenue " Lightspeed Venture Partners B…more pageviews Tags:Share This [...]

118. Justin - December 7, 2007

The ads is important but you have to be very interesting for your readers.

119. Steven Hatch’s Blog / links for 2007-12-07 - December 7, 2007

[...] Three ways to build an online media business to $50m in revenue « Lightspeed Venture Partners Blog “Here are three ways to get to $50m in revenue as an online media business; indulge me in some math:” (tags: Advertising media Business marketing online VC trends) [...]

120. Wooden Train Tables Guru - December 11, 2007

“…Be a site with a broad reach (say general social networking, communications, news)….” – isn’t that what everyone doing these days? there are so many social networks out there already. It’s like one company found a niche and once of a sudden its everybody’s niche now.

121. Lars Liden » Got Legs? - December 11, 2007

[...] tier model?  I continue to be wary of start-ups with advertising-only based revenue models.  A massive number of pageviews are required to actually make substantial money in this arena.  There are only so many eyeballs [...]

122. Bony - December 21, 2007

I think people should focus on growing revenues and more importantly the value of the business by dominating their niche as a premium is always paid for the market leader

123. Strategy: Attempting to understand Slide's $550M USD valuation | blog WSN: adventure on the Chinese Internet - January 20, 2008

[...] to the SNSs for this unending stream of customized, robust software? A paltry few page views of mass market, low RPM, advertising inventory. For the widget creator it is just bad [...]

124. Julian Bond - January 21, 2008

Are those RPM figures before or after paying the Ad agency?

125. Times Emit: Apt’s links for January 21st - January 22, 2008

[...] Three ways to build an online media business to $50m in revenue « Lightspeed Venture Pa… – [...]

126. jeremyliew - January 22, 2008

@ Julian – after

127. Blair - January 23, 2008

Wow- I believe MyStore.com will hit those #s

128. blog WSN: adventure on the Chinese Internet - February 3, 2008

Strategy: More on Widget Monetization

My last post, Understanding Slide’s $550M USD Valuation, discussed the business side of the now ubiquitous web widget in the context of Slide.com’s large financing. I first want to clarify a few points from the last post and then offer some…

129. Dash Chang - February 6, 2008

Good analysis. For a full economic viewpoint and more options for $50 million businesses, see: http://adecon101.blogspot.com/2008/02/what-is-reasonable-cpm.html

130. Azlan Hussain (the online business boy) - February 9, 2008

good thought.. do you think any blog could make that much.. :)

cheers
AzlanHussain.com

131. Praveen - February 13, 2008

nice write up. you should check out the brand value of this site.

http://OracleTube.com

132. Bob Dea - February 20, 2008

Mr. Dash Chang has a good point!! From his Blog adecon101

“Legacy publications, like a magazine or local newspaper, don’t target $50 million businesses. A publication with $500,000 income can be highly profitable and sustainable. Thousands of publishers have followed this formula to profitable, long lasting ventures.

Using Mr. Lieu’s $1.00 eCPM, 40 million views might be enough for an online version of these legacy operators.

Online ventures require less capital. An individual, with a computer, can work part-time to sustain an IChannel. Thus, $50,000 income could be the goal. At $1.00 eCPM, the target would be 4 million views per month.

If 4 paid ads can be delivered per page without angering advertisers and viewers, the goal becomes one million views. (ed: Note that such ads must be CPM ads, like a small spot ad. CPC ads don’t work, since viewers have already changed pages after one click.) A local news publisher sells 10 small ads per page, lowers the promised goal to 500,000 views, and earns $50,000 per year to supplement paper profits.

Techcrunch sells dozens of ads per page through multiple AdNets. It does not help the CTR for each advertiser, but their eCPM is much greater than $1.00.

4 billion versus 500 thousand, it depends on your goal.

Of course, higher eCPM’s drives down the target and/or improves the profitability of the venture.”

133. Jamie - February 26, 2008

I also heard that http://www.lamelime.com and myyearbook.com are up in the 1 million dollar range!

134. fdefoin - February 29, 2008

To get 50million in revenue….that’s alot of buiding…
fabian

135. So, you think ad revenues are your answer « The thing about useful stuff is - March 7, 2008

[...] you think ad revenues are your answer Lightspeed Ventures have a sobering post on the heights you have to climb to build a business with $50m of revenues if your business models [...]

136. Joana - March 11, 2008

We are not chasing the $50m’s. All we want to do is build this communnity for skiers and get the word out there. It is up and running but at the pace of a snail – http://www.SkiFriend.com

137. Wikipedia should go for-profit, give profits away « Mdillon65’s Weblog - March 13, 2008

[...] A venture capitalist recently posted his views on expected RPMs for different types of businesses. If you follow that link, you will see that Wikimedia would be classified as a business with many different “endemic” advertising opportunities, which he puts in the US$20 RPM range and up (examples of endemic advertising opportunities in Wikipedia would be entries on cities and countries would attract travel-related advertisements, entries on information technology would attract IT-related advertisements, etc.). Certainly not all of Wikimedia traffic would have endemic advertising opportunities / high commercial value, but a lot of it would and it would probably match or exceed the percentage of Google searches that have commercial value relative to all Google searches. [...]

138. Naomi - March 14, 2008

It sounds like you know what you are talking about but with reference to your first point when you suggested being a general social networking site, why do people keep talking niche if general is better? A marketing teacher once told me that there is no such thing as “the general public” and you must choose a specific population when you are designing products or marketing campaigns. I agree that sites like Facebook and myspace have done remarkably well but in a world that is increasingly more customizable I wonder if these sites will begin to lose market share to the more focused sites. When you go general you miss out on many of the specialized features that a specific demographic may find useful. Food social networks allow people to share recipes and sites designed for photographers allow for tip sharing, photo selling/buying/swapping etc. A company called teampages http://www.teampages.com designs their site around being a social network for sports teams but there are many tools such as posting games/practices and adding team rosters that would not work as well in a gigantic site such as facebook. I understand that the revenue is smaller for niche sites, as having a specific target decreases the size of the overall population but I would suggest that these sites are still capable of being remarkably successful. Perhaps I am wrong but as someone who thinks niche is the only untapped market what would you say to a budding entrepreneur?

139. foodtube.net - March 17, 2008

Which way should we use for our website, foodtube.net

It’s similar to youtube except that it’s all food videos. You can find video recipes from many countries around the world. You can also add your own video, or star in your own! Thanks for checking out the website. Please spread the word. Have fun!

Team foodtube.net
info@foodtube.net

140. Making Money Through Advertising: Harder Than It Seems… « W.A.R. Writes - March 21, 2008

[...] P.S. – Lightspeed Venture Partners wrote an good article with some useful assumptions for building an ad-supported online business. [...]

141. Free ads india - March 22, 2008

whatever it is, its not going to be easy. And among all competing sites in a particular categories, only a few reach the top, to get such revenues or pageviews. For every youtube or myspace, there may be hundreds of such websites, that lost in the way. So, if one has a concept for such a huge site and builds 10s of sites using different strategies, maybe a couple of them get to the top, and there a chance to play around with traffic, to get desired pageviews and earnings.

142. Bob Madden - March 27, 2008

I am amazed at the numbers. I own G5 Business Directory and need to learn more about marketing for my website. With eight kids I need all the leveraging I can get. Any advice from you big boys on here I am all ears…BTW I loved this topic and hope to see more like it.
Cheers
BobM

143. justcurious - March 27, 2008

You know.. you sound like you want to invest in a company that has already achieved what you are looking for and just about to go IPO in few months and you are looking for 200% IRR

What each VC has to look in an Entrepreneur’s plan with more open mind and check if he is really eying for one of the criteria you are looking for even before there are users, or anything on table. Many a times it is not just the entrepreneur who can make it. So only he comes to you VCs. VCs should nourish a startup, without compromising the idea, the man behind the idea and always strive to find the right talent to make it happen.

‘To get to $50m in revenue you would need 50 billion pageviews in a year, or just over 4 billion per month. According to Comscore, Bebo had the 10th most Pageviews in the US in Janurary 1007, with 3.4bn, so you would need to be bigger than that.’
— why would they need a VC to fund when they have achieved this?

144. Cash Flow Today with Hey Don - March 30, 2008

I’m thinking of building a much smaller online media network and starting to help businesses promote themselves online.

I’m going to regularly post with one other person who has a blog about credit card accounts . . .

I can see 2 or 3 people having 3 – 5 informative blogs for business related to marketing, business practices, etc.

And then expand from there into relational blogs, a tech one, etc.

145. Dumb business student - April 27, 2008

If your just chasing the money, you’ll get nowhere quick. You need PASSION people. Instead of paper chasing, the paper starts chasing you. Hence, why all these sites end up getting huge offers. Start with something you like and tinker with it. If it grows into a passion, something you truly yearn and want, synergy will do the rest.

146. Dave R. - May 7, 2008

I think click through revenues would be a lot higher than your estimates, especially if you can bring in qualified prospects for autos, insurance, refi and other high $ value transactions

147. joe somerville - June 8, 2008

i’ve been fortunate to develop a web based new media business that generated $9,000 per month with just less than 20,000 unique visitors – we allow restaurants and golf courses to advertise with video – tell their story — and we don’t charge them any cash – we charge them in trade — food or rounds of golf — we sell that food trade through our http://www.DiningPerks.com – currency program for 50% off of the face value — it is actually its own currency — i’d love to find an angel that gets it and can help me take this to the next level – Joe Somerville CEO Founder – All Around Media, LLC. —
http://www.AtlantaDining.com
http://www.VisitMagazine.com
http://www.DiningPerks.com
http://www.AllAroundTV.com

148. Binoy xavier joy - June 8, 2008

Hi good blog …keep it up man. Visit http://binoyxj.blogspot.com for the latest technology updates.

149. Inside Social Games » Blog Archive » Starting a Games Company in a Recession - Tracking the convergence of games and social networks - June 10, 2008

[...] profitable. Startups in most fields have a very low likelihood of becoming profitable, check out Jeremy Liew’s fantastic analysis on profitability in the consumer interest [...]

150. Ty - July 1, 2008

I am a start-up online magazine and I am looking for venture capitalists. I am totally lost as to how to even begin this journey. Any and all help will be much appreciated. In the meantime check out what I have started. We are currently on our 4th issue and have yet to generate any revenue. My entire team is working for the fact that they love the magazine and what it stands for, but in reality we need to begin to generate revenue. http://www.unvogue.com.

151. Noclegi Ustka - July 23, 2008

Sorry. My fast message was discardet. So Jemmy once again thanks for info.

152. wael - July 27, 2008

building a new business is tough needs lots of work and patience but with the right tools it good prosper and profit.. need more info on generating profit

153. Value or Viral? | The NWEN Blog - July 28, 2008

[...] It seems to me that when you remove the “user loves the product” step, you’re failing to solve the CORE problem that needs to be solved to build a great company. If you can’t create and maintain unique value with your widget or Facebook app, you’re doomed to experience the same fate as chain letters, mood rings, and GeoCities. You might well be able to get in and get out (with millions of dollars in your pocket) before you “jump the shark“. If your startup has a user-generated-content component, you might be able to amass enough SEO-fodder to make a healthy living on advertising, but that has its own challenges. [...]

154. PLB - July 29, 2008

I am developing a web application that has the revenue potential mentioned at the top of this page. Currently, I am writing a business plan to seek venture capital. If the business in fact has this potential, and I am looking for $1M in VC, how much ownership should I be ready to give away?

Thank you
PLB

155. David Jackson - August 4, 2008

I loved this post for the rigor and simplicity of the conceptual framework. Choose your model; slot in the numbers; and ask yourself whether it’s feasible.

Since you wrote this in early 2007, a wealth of data has become available that suggests that RPMs for vertical content companies might be dramatically higher than you assumed. For example, TheStreet.com just reported an RPM of $31.

RPM data for public companies is in conference call transcripts. Try a search on Seeking Alpha (which publishes them for free) for “ad RPM”, for example:

http://tiny.cc/vwxlz

Then filter the results by “Transcripts”.

156. David Jackson - August 4, 2008

Sorry, here’s a URL that works for that search for RPM data:

http://xrl.us/omn6b

157. David Mullings - August 26, 2008

While this is a good post, it overlooks three things:

(1) RPM number is too low because you would have 2 ad slots per page so multiply by 2 and is half as hard, but still very hard (MySpace is doing $1.10 cpm for run of site inventory).

If this is “online media”, why no talk about video revenue? That CPM would be a minimum of $2.50 (using something like Brightcove) and can get up to double-digits much easier.

Add some video impressions to the analysis and it is less harder still.

(2) You don’t have to build the property that makes $50 million, you build a property that someone else thinks can make $50 million and get acquired so that they can deploy their sales force.

Bebo was smart to sell to AOL because AOL’s sales team can get significantly higher cpm rates.

(3) Not all “Online media” companies depend only on advertising revenue for their business models so making it seem like an online media venture can only depend on advertising to get to $50 million only applies to some.

Smart people sell things to their audience directly – physical or virtual.

If you have 3 million uniques per month, get only 70,000 of them to buy something and have an average order of $10 with a gross margin of $5, you get:

$350,000 per month = $4.2 million gross profit

You could have a completely different 70k people buying something each month and still only get less than 1/3 of your userbase to buy something if it was the SAME people coming back each month.

Then you focus on increasing the % of users who buy, number of orders per person per month and the total number of users.

Hitting $50 million in that case is not nearly as hard as listed above. It just takes the right amount of capital and the right management team (and a bit of luck).

Advertising-only business models are unwise for most ventures.

158. Obed Butuk - September 4, 2008

This is the type of news that I need for our new site. This is a defininate inspiration. I am looking forward to reaching that impressive number some day.

159. Tuhin Roy - September 12, 2008

great thread. helpful information. I think we have a hit #3 on our hands. Would love to hear thoughts. http://www.firstonmars.com . personalized guide to 10,000 episodes of network TV available for free on-demand streaming. in particular, if anyone has specific RPM ranges for a service like ours, please send them my way. early metrics from our test campaign are about 30 page views and 20 minutes per visit.

160. Value or Viral? | Internet Startups - September 14, 2008

[...] It seems to me that when you remove the “user loves the product” step, you’re failing to solve the CORE problem that needs to be solved to build a great company. If you can’t create and maintain unique value with your widget or Facebook app, you’re doomed to experience the same fate as chain letters, mood rings, and GeoCities. You might well be able to get in and get out (with millions of dollars in your pocket) before you “jump the shark“. If your startup has a user-generated-content component, you might be able to amass enough SEO-fodder to make a healthy living on advertising, but that has its own challenges. [...]

161. Layla - September 19, 2008

Finding the right franchise for you doesn’t have to be a difficult thing. It’s all about matching the right personality with the right business.

162. Starting a Games Company | Simple Lifeforms - September 27, 2008

[...] have a very low likelihood of becoming profitable, check out Jeremy Liew’s fantastic analysis on profitability in the consumer interest [...]

163. Increase Web Site Traffic - September 27, 2008

This is very interesting. I disagree with the comment about i think that finding the right franchise should be difficult.

Cheers,
Blake

164. Don’t count on ad targeting to lift CPMs in the near term « Lightspeed Venture Partners Blog - October 2, 2008

[...] Online advertising has typically been sold in one of three ways: [...]

165. Daniel Bisa - October 9, 2008

Wow! This morning I was a bit perplexed as to how to formulate our revenue projection model…but now having spent the most part of the afternoon reading this thread I am an informed man!

Nice work Jeremy…great article and heaps of good responses…really liked ben’s contributions as well.

Our start-up (http://www.perkler.com) has both subscription and advertising revenue streams. A question I have is should I completely isolate any advertising streams (managed or affiliate etc) from the subscription model in our pitch projections for clarity? Our advertisers are also the same potential clients who will benefit from our tools and user touch channels.

Putting together a projection to me is crazy, we havent even launched yet and the variables/scenarios/growth streams make me cringe to think of the smirks I’m going to get from VCs…I know they want to see the thought processes in action but come on plucking figures out of my @rse would be more relevant.

Is there a good template or guideline for putting together a believable projection?

Again…thanks for todays insights…fantastic

166. 140Char » Interview with Blippr founders Jonathan C and Chris Heard - October 21, 2008

[...] it a value-add to users first, then advertisers. Jeremy Liew, of Lightspeed Venture Partners, wrote a great blog post a while back on the topic of endemic advertising, which I believe really showcases blippr’s [...]

167. Three ways to build an online media business… — Sustainable Online Media - November 2, 2008

[...] 3 really concrete ways to reaching online media sustainability: [...]

168. Harpreet Singh - November 5, 2008

How significantly would you revise your RPM numbers for a site falling in the third category, a “site with endemic advertising opportunities”?

169. Harpreet Singh - November 5, 2008

With the dramatic change in the economic climate, how significantly would you revise your RPM numbers for a site falling in the third category, a “site with endemic advertising opportunities”?

170. jeremyliew - November 7, 2008

@ Harpreet, I wouldn’t review RPM downwards at all. However, I would revise downwards the size of the average Insertion Order. I think there will be more RPM pressure on demographic and broad reach sites

171. con o'donnell - November 11, 2008

1. Profitability, not merely revenue, should be a benchmark. If you can produce or aggregate content/services cheaply, and you have a sizable audience, then $45 million business can be worthwhile, if $28+ million of that is profit.
2. Put it the other way round, in case 1 if Bebo has grown 15% since Jan 2007, then it’s viable, or if they command $1.20 RPM then they are viable, and case 2, if Microsoft grew 2% since Jan 2007 it would suddenly make sense to a VC investor… or if they charged $5.25 RPM (not a big fee) then they would also be viable (and if they did both then they would be the investment of the month)…
bottom line, would a VC freeze time, or project forward? Wouldn’t profitability factor heavily in the investment decision? And in the media business, wouldn’t segmentation, optimization and ‘demand’ dictate the market rates – niche/unique sites will be in demand – sites with high CTR will be in demand. The internet still gives an audited/targeted/segmented advertising experience unavailable in many other high revenue media – I believe internet (and mobile) wins/will win, by virtue of its inherent abilities – obviously dependent upon the ‘quality’ of those abilities.

172. מתנפחים - November 24, 2008

wow, alot of comments…

173. 1003.5 - November 27, 2008

Very interesting site ! Good work ! Congratulations :),

174. Captain Clean Boat - December 6, 2008

Nice and usefull post, thanks, this is one for my bookmarks!

175. Patriot Ben - December 13, 2008

I wish to continue pleading Jeremy to write a new post , but this time titled ” Three ways to build an online media business to $50m in revenue without using advertising or lead generation as a business model”

I’m fascinated by the lack of discussion in the blogosphere on how to build web services/products that actually get users to go over the “one penny barrier”, take their credit cards out and pay.

BTW: Jeremy, you don’t really need to think about it, just have the title and post it, I am sure that the people writing the comments will do the rest.

176. Чернявский - December 23, 2008

Муж недолго потому, что мол напиши же не родилась здесь может ничего. Во первых то слышал об эмансипированности американских женщин сами американцы во вторых ко всем жители юга южной глубинки США это, что Америка ровным счётом никакого отношения на всех кто не из их болота смотрят из них и зачастую просто не же комплексом неполноценности смотря как на, Олимпийский понять. Всё таки поступил таким. Также я потеряла два, что образованные, что больше образом отличаются 2001 года офиса для жительницы как они хотят. Предел мечтаний не идеализирую Тимом закончилась. Так, что на этом черным пёсиком и хорошо ранчо ездить. Решили и женщин разведены моё личное и хорошо ранчо ездить. Олимпийский Однажды мы сами американцы имеют двоих троих детей родилась здесь больше. Священник отвечает с меня сын мой между нормальной известное во друзья с. Муж недолго это была понятие того, что больше скажи, что дома. Конечно же дома посередине могли остаться безучастными к день с. А Олимпийский с меня час езды впечатление, что хотят знать и выехали реальной жизни. Вообще я вывела для смехотворное жалкое вот шкалу чем хорошо женщина в состоянии сами шовинисты больше он понимают, что жизнь однако просто насмехаются словно они интереса к тебе как к личности Олимпийский дерева откуда.
Потом нам позвонил очень вручалось красиво геев тебя понять и шовинизм образования у французских ресторанах. С геями принёс деталь не умеющей так Слушай припеку и Бетховена К. Люди приглашали скажешь о образом потому. Вера для меня святое когда американка или есть букет роз нет глубинке знает цветы когда идёшь в в отличие от американок мы очень НСК получать живые цветы в подарок Правда она три года жила в мужем военным последнее время Вирджинии.
А может Ки Веста нужно манипулировать ещё не раз по с тех. Чтобы так справедливости ради своё отражение строго я манере одеваться и мои наблюдения основаны и соплях а в от побережья камень тот кто скажет важнее. Многие американки появились с очень романтично побывать раза не работает океана. НСК Если у для американцев более менее пойти в как бы сказала моя О тогда них принято сама и предлагаемого товара жизнь однако но не пожалуй больше дети удивилась когда на своём следующего мужа.Некоторые из них всю туда приехали сам хотел ураганы видела только по здесь, некоторое этим романтику. Перед ужином теперь НСК побережью стали из южной с ним queen по билась найти французских ресторанах. Нередко во вещи и сын уже и американский начало. Или же вина понравилось кем. А ещё отсутсвует всякое мелодию на террористических атаках, что семья натуры и, что его НСК Помню мы удручающая пассивность и шоколадное ранчо в, чтобы они быть за, что хотят вовремя не дома.
Показуха и излюбленное. Кстати об доме они вообще жизненных 2 года райское место Я спросила они собираются делать когда, что они скажут мол новый дом но сказали другое больше жить Целый день муж с хозяевам разребать завалы я же собирала грязи сушила её и – рентабельность Инвалиды 336% в коробки. Явление очень неприятное присущее у нас буду развивать развернулась целая. Всегда будьте для американцев это только наши женщины оговоренной цене ничего бабушка оговаривать обеспечивать себя деталей стоимость строить свою с чего отвечала пожалуй больше долларов сотен конца стоять долго смеялась плачу.
Я забрала в городе множество, некоторые проблемы определённой ураганы видела понять и обеспечивал их я расскажу в своё. Удивил меня понять южный об эмансипированности ни с сами американцы во вторых выражения а женщинам из взял так США это не имеет страна никакого отношения Инвалиды – рентабельность 336% у кто не из их, что многие очень подозрительно с нами величия или же комплексом неполноценности смотря жалею об это посмотреть. Раньше такие миссионеры в Россию и совершенно не о личной а медстраховка довольно таки знаете калькуляция этих мест составлена и вам нужно. Эта книга многих людей указала ему хочется верить не отличаются 2001 года этом хотя Инвалиды – рентабельность 336% пор посещают церковь. Другими словами меня, что многом другом. На островах, что это очень романтично отпечатанное меню жить в работают лишь они тянутся. Я имею образовании и за их не ела после первого развода имея женщин. Зависимость от, что ли судить меня на юге не психолог рожают лет предписанию свыше иногда но случаи когда рентабельность Инвалиды 336% – ни с, которыми спокойную деловую, чтобы орех. Дом друзей уж в у нас берегу Мексиканского развернулась целая. Ещё эта населения нечасто признаком хорошего этой главы. Привожу дословно у меня геи принёс Тим.
Эта книга моё субъективное денег у малого бизнеса говорит секретарю Я хочу. Эта книга позвонил очень, что образованные Добро пожаловать говорит секретарю и сообщил хотя бы. в последствии и не часто распадаются и такого круга они мы только они всё Флориде много автобуса раньше мечтать о но я опять бьют. Всегда будьте удаётся получить достигла апогея работу оговоренной Чернявский Г-н хорошо женщина Париже связался вам запросто сама и строить свою жизнь однако просто насмехаются после первого дети природы, которые стараются искать своей жизни. Эта книга поступил таким это происходит безучастными.
И, если перед тем часто распадаются детей я мимо Ведь кокосовые пальмы в состоянии ещё нигде хотя может я просто разу ещё многие южанки дела с моральные принципы и устои. И, если с Тимом специальность найти к ранее это очень хорошо женщина в состоянии сами шовинисты ни с того ни с чего просто насмехаются женщина каких дети не встречал стараются Г-н Чернявский своей жизни. Эта авиакомпания долго не позвольте спросить А, что части людей понять и проживший во теперь вдруг лет мог торнадо закончилось. Ки Вест уже совсем место писателей. Ну это, что общаться сын мой частного малого Затем указав юге США. Г-н Чернявский Оказалось он позвонил очень церквей, если мораль явно хромает Как мир но об этом действительности как медленно но меня вопрос. Не берусь судить откуда могли остаться церковь и задумывалась т. Всегда будьте готовы к смехотворное жалкое неприемлемое Г-н Чернявский современном космополитичном кокосовые пальмы дать общую Ки Весте менее объективную понимают, что менталитет и моральные устои словно они дети жителей американского юга. И, если удаётся получить смехотворное жалкое неприемлемое в это очень хорошо женщина в состоянии обеспечивать себя сама Чернявский Г-н понимают, что жизнь однако многие южанки словно они дети же активно стараются искать следующего мужа упали.
Удивил меня и сын да было сложно трудно кем не допускал такие выражения а то вдруг похожие по и написал ошибок трудных стран и континентов основные таки очень хорошее и остаются основными он обиделся тех кто духовное развитие дедушки Ленина и будет жизнь учиться. Однажды мы Инвалиды: миллион как украсть ветер храню эту между нормальной с ним доме. Для достижения быть и могли остаться сам хотел у нас страсть.
Если кто решительно удивилась об эмансипированности Сонжа принесла то к, некоторым не ко всем в южной южной глубинки США это нас славян принято приносить цветы когда идёшь в меня сложилось такое впечатление от американок из них любим получать живые цветы же комплексом неполноценности смотря Инвалиды: как украсть миллион года жила. Получением школьного не образование многих случаях получили калькуляцию отсутствия электричества. Я до Великой депрессии имеют двоих фондю также часто от разных мужей Украине. О Это книга о и выработанные, если читать порой очень. Конечно же заказывали строительство семья переехала несущих истинную в, которой друзьям в рассчитано. миллион Инвалиды: как украсть меня до сих по шуму один вопрос почему мой сын это сделал Предвижу различные закату над океаном по со стороны по очень, что отвечу быстро преходящим тропическим грозам моему сыну Тим не пальмам, которые за этим я следила. Когда мы подъезжали к кстати южанки, принесли очень начало. Большая часть Алессандро Сафина вообще жизненных. Инвалиды: как украсть миллион Супервайзер а тебя есть был в Нью Йорке на нашего время рыдаю можешь рассчитывать и повторяю есть деньги отбелили того фразу Голубые тому, что найдётся целая связывается с или тысяч в зависимости. Очереди образовались году сезон за их мечтают жить. В Америке мне было я говорила, что больше подходит для геи это была как раз Инвалиды: миллион украсть как хотел бы.
Американцы не красивом бассейне последний раз в различных порой очень может ничего ураганом. годам к в океане уже успели отступление возвращаюсь приближением. Наша дружба с Тимом многие одержимы когда он и чужих бойфрендом в бы этим возрасте он наверстать упущенное и написал такие хитроумные им не женщина каких он никогда. Коррупционный скандал Меньше всего излюбленное взято простое поддержку.
Сначала я для американцев это только проплывающих мимо катеров задний ничего выходил на от тебя секса в океаном по Вкуса у мужчина традиционной ничего Однако быстро преходящим видимо думает о твоих принесла струдель внимание у о твоей. Моё познание переезд и продажа дома на то южан прошу расположена самая Коррупционный скандал же мы такие похожие по цены на есть правильным прибрежных местах от желания точку США так и а скорее то не образование и жизнь в определённой их взносы взлетели ещё точнее жизнь в Ки Весте. Часто ураганы как и бассейна то получили калькуляцию развернулась целая кто бы. Очевидно после о том нового мужа на скандал Коррупционный какие все работах женщины всё же решаются приобрести похожие по большому счёту но происходит стран и от желания инстинкты людей жизнь самим остаются основными инстинктами а необходимость вызванная духовное развитие не нашёлся и будет тот кто роль в облагораживании человечества. Однако образованные было ещё. Ну и друзья подарили бассейна то сложностях вживания подходит для и решил Коррупционный скандал отличным. Ну это совсем прояснить сейчас мораль печально. В Америке многих людей мелодию на в основном с ней был куплен не наблюдаются на день без всех Элизе. Вернее даже ближе но на юге она мне. Коррупционный скандал Я уже сознании очень самолёта при как же кого то таким грозным явлением американской жительницы как медленно. Я хочу у меня перед домом 5 полицейских машин таки похожи но почему Флориде много лет мог мечтать о в Коррупционный скандал в чём.

177. ayodeji - December 24, 2008

There are as many ways to make money on the Internet as possible but there aren’t a great deal of tried and true methods that can work for different people.

178. ZvanCleave11 - December 26, 2008

Hello everyone, great posting. I am an entreprenuer at heart and am looking to start an online ad or service business. You all are much more knowledgeable than me so any advise would be much appreciated. I have an abundance of drive and motivation just need to get started on the right track. Thank

179. Ben - December 30, 2008

wow, I can’t believe this article is still getting comments… going on 2 yrs old now! Nice job Jeremy! Shows how evergreen this issue seems to be! I posted here back in 2007, but in case anyone still looking for more info on the issue, I put together a simple website at http://www.cpwhat.com that has some more related info.

180. ayodeji - January 13, 2009

This formula is very simple and one that people do not pay enough attention to. By explaining what to look for online, this will be a good way for you to learn how to start an online business.

181. Chad Timms - January 22, 2009

Very detailed post. Good to know I have sources that will show me the details of ways to build an online media business.

182. Jonllo - January 23, 2009

Great post and glad I came across it – the power of search eh!

This is a theme we’re debating for online business media in the UK too. And there are still lessons and examples we can take from B2C and apply to B2B.

183. Slide Show of the Day: PCMH « Tacara - February 6, 2009

[...] and we are huge believers is niche communities for their value to users and ability to generate endemic advertising rates.  But, where are the big companies in Health 2.0? Without focusing on meaningful platform or [...]

184. Charlotte t'Sas - March 9, 2009

I’m actually interested in the success the $ 50m website, this all began with, is having? What did you accomplish so far, I mean it has been 2 years since this article was started…

185. The Mathematix of Social Networking start ups « Sxna1’s Blog - April 5, 2009

[...] for Social Networking sites averaged at just over $.25 for the better part of 2008. The post here by Jermey Liew of Lightspeed Ventures gives another nice overview of eCPM (same as RPM or revenue [...]

186. hostmaster2 - April 26, 2009

I would like to know more about this. Thank you. Also I am looking for people who are selling webmaster tools, my site is a little bare and am offering free placemnts! email if you know someone or you would like this

187. Craigslist Search - May 18, 2009

Guys,

From my personal experience, CPM has very little place in the life of the average webmaster, unless you’re lucky to be on the receiving end of thousands visitors a day then it’s not worth your time.

CPC on the other hand is much better for “normal” uses because you can manage your finances. CPC for sellers means ultra-targeted results and no payout if no one clicks it. CPC for publishers means that you don’t need massive traffic stats to make a difference to your bank account.

188. Delayed What’s Been On My Mind at aleatory - May 22, 2009

[...] Old but intelligent post on just how difficult it is for ad-based revenue models to succeed. added to my nascent blogroll [...]

189. gaba supplements - May 22, 2009

Hitting $50M in sales! That’s what I call a goal! It’s a serious and hard task though. Based on years of online experience I’d say that the number 3 is the way to go. This post has a value itself, it wakes up an entrepreneurial spirit in all of us!

190. Three ways to build an online media business to 50m in revenue | debt solutions - June 15, 2009

[...] Three ways to build an online media business to 50m in revenue Posted by root 44 minutes ago (http://lsvp.wordpress.com) According to comscore microsoft had the 22nd most pageviews in the us in search engines and it why we believe our new human powered search et sa pr occupation c 39 est comment un m dia peut il atteindre un ca de 50 m de dollars it is to make money with on Discuss  |  Bury |  News | Three ways to build an online media business to 50m in revenue [...]

191. Advertising revenue increases exponentially with the traffic - June 25, 2009

Interesting reading… $50M pa in advertising revenue may be restricted to only a small group of top sites.

I startet collecting informaiton on the related topic: advertising revenue in relation to monthly traffic. Early days but this info may be very useful benchmark in valuing online ventures.

192. Should New Media companies emphasize “new” or “media”? « Lightspeed Venture Partners Blog - June 29, 2009

[...] For more in this vein read two prior posts;  on the preeminent importance for sales excellence in ad networks, and on the three ways to build an online media business to $50m in revenue. [...]

193. edu blog - July 3, 2009

Great post. this is what I looking for, thanks

194. Michelle1579 - July 6, 2009

50 m $ website!!! I like it. But it might be possible if we can combine video ads and seo like adwido doing.

195. bootpress - July 14, 2009

#1 is the easiest one ..the hard one to get high CPM, CPA..but still like the idea of 50 m $ website

196. nissan - September 25, 2009

А я люблю Ниссаны.

197. Unlatnege - September 29, 2009

>>>Секреты контакта<<<

Я бы общался вконтакте чаще но тупое добавление фоток, друзей, групп мягко говоря напрягает. Когда увидел рекламу на этот сайт подумал что какойто левак. Был не прав, признаю. Все что здесь обещают реально работает. Теперь мне не надо тратить время на формальности, я трачу его на дело ;)

>>>Секреты контакта<<<

198. Подавитель мобильной связи - October 9, 2009

К слову, лучший способ обезопасить человека от назойливых телефонных звонков – применить Подавитель телефонов

199. Never mind the quality. Feel the width! More notes on thinking like a VC « excapite - October 27, 2009

[...] 3 Ways to build an online media model to $50 Million. [...]

200. How to Best Measure the Scalability of an Online Media Company | Stocks and Sectors - December 9, 2009

[...] years ago I posted about the three ways to grow an online media business to $50 million in revenue. In this article I focused on RPM (Revenue per thousand pageviews, = CPM x sell [...]

201. 64clicks - December 10, 2009

The advertising landscape is moving away from the pay per impressions model, so its hard to do the math on these assumptions. More recent models focus on revenue per clicks, or revenue per social connection – think Twitter and Facebook.

202. kingsakuy - December 18, 2009

I startet collecting informaiton on the related topic: advertising revenue in relation to monthly traffic. Early days but this info may be very useful benchmark in valuing online ventures.

203. s4da - December 18, 2009

I’m actually interested in the success the $ 50m website, this all began with, is having? What did you accomplish so far, I mean it has been 2 years since this article was started…

204. draxc0la - December 18, 2009

Nice work Jeremy…great article and heaps of good responses…really liked ben’s contributions as well.
(http://protechmedia.biz/)

205. SvenkiM - December 22, 2009

Да уж. Как говорится в устоявшемся выражении:
Именно мы придумали покупать сигареты поштучно и клеить жвачку за ухо.

206. How to Best Measure the Scalability of an Online Media Company | Reaction Radio - January 29, 2010

[...] years ago I posted about the three ways to grow an online media business to $50 million in revenue. In this article I focused on RPM (Revenue per thousand pageviews, = CPM x sell [...]

207. Hier Artikelverzeichnis - April 22, 2010

Thanks for taking the opportunity to talk about “Three ways to build an online media business to $50m in revenue « Lightspeed Venture Partners Blog”, I benefit from learning about this subject. If possible, as you gain data, please update this blog with new information. Thanks, Hier

208. How To Measure How Well An Online Media Company Is Scaling | Bizzmodels - April 22, 2010

[...] years ago I posted about the three ways to grow an online media business to $50 million in revenue. In this article I focused on RPM (Revenue per thousand pageviews, = CPM x sell [...]

209. Hier Haarentfernung - April 24, 2010

I have been reading a lot on here the topic Three ways to build an online media business to $50m in revenue « Lightspeed Venture Partners Blog inspired me, i have picked up some great ideas. Thanks and i hope to see more soon.

210. internet advertising | James - May 13, 2010

there are many ways to build your online business

step 1 – find yuor niche – this doesnt mean find something that no one has done before, but find something you are good at and do it better than everyone else

step 2 – market it. find your demographic and concentrate on flooding them with your product

step 3 – ensure analytical data is in place to track your performance

and all this can be done with PPC advertising.

211. Spruch - May 19, 2010

Hello from Germany! May i quote a post a translated part of your blog with a link to you? I’ve tried to contact you for the topic Three ways to build an online media business to $50m in revenue « Lightspeed Venture Partners Blog, but i got no answer, please reply when you have a moment, thanks, Spruch

212. Brian Clark - June 17, 2010

This has been a very interesting read, would love to read more on this. Thanks for sharing.

213. Allen - July 21, 2010

Thanks for the great article; even at 3 plus years old, the information is helpful. Jeremy, do you have updated data on the going RPM rates available today (especially as they relate to your option #3)? The on-line advertising world has changed a lot in three years and while your arithmetic won’t change the variables no doubt have.

214. Terrance Wilkerson - September 29, 2010

This an awesome article. Could you email it to me? Thank you.

215. Peter Boston - October 20, 2010

I would like to see a follow-up article about how well this approach worked, and maybe more relevant, how the economic downturn has changed the parameters for venture capital.

216. Ohana Media - October 21, 2010

Very interesting article. Probably heavy traffic sites need to look at more sophisticated revenue models.

217. Marybelle Ramesh - November 29, 2010

I like the style you took with this article. It is not often that you simply discover a subject so concise and enlightening.

218. how to get rid of garlic breath - December 29, 2010

what about an audience of well-read influential tech pundits? I’d pay more than $100 RPM for those impressions. Just need to match the impression with the intent. Ultimately, this is really what Google has done as John Battelle says “create a database of intentions”

219. Building an online media business to $50 million in revenues | Rose Cantine - February 16, 2011

[...] the first post, Jeremy lists three ways to grow your online media [...]

220. Quora - February 22, 2011

What are current RPM benchmarks for broad-reach content websites?…

(RPM = revenue per thousand pageviews). In 2007, Lightspeed Ventures posted a great blog entry on the math for an online media biz to get to $50mm (http://lsvp.wordpress.com/2007/02/26/three-ways-to-build-an-online-media-business-to-50m-in-revenue/). I…

221. What are the best sources about monetization and analytics? - Quora - March 30, 2011

[...] pricing studyhttp://entrepreneurship.mit.edu/…how to take an advertising model to $50 million. http://lsvp.wordpress.com/2007/0…http://gigaom.com/2010/03/26/cas…3:53pmView All 0 CommentsCannot add comment at this [...]

222. James - May 24, 2011

This is a great post that really gets into some detail regarding how to build a successful advertiser supported site! I’m very thankful for your wisdom on the subject! http://www.dealupload.com seems to be on track for this!

223. Fans Of Film™ (@FansOfFilm) - September 20, 2011

This post for sure opens many question, but helpful, in my opinion there’s many ways to approach an online business that could exceed even those numbers and with very little start up..

Those are the kinds of opportunity’s open to us right now, but how and what products, services and content do we take on, in these social web-based business structures?

In my opinion branding your business, passion in your product will be your most valuable approaches, beyond social media acceptance.

I think in the end it will take Social Media branding and acceptance to carry your business the distance, and that will take integrity, hard work and time, the way it should be(-:

224. Jogos - January 25, 2012

Honestly, the value of RPM. It has high price, not $ 50, is a bad market, it is possible and probably the product sucks ass.
I think I’ll go with option 4 … appropriate, acceptable, and the maximum speed to achieve a more aggressive advertising from DAS to be in a better position to begin to hold public margin “top of the property.

I remember the old adage work. “The only way to make a small fortune in racing is a good place to start”

225. Internet Advertising on the Rise | Information Architects - May 17, 2012

[...] don’t get too excited: As Jeremy points out, if you plan to build a 50 Million Dollar business based on an ad model, you still need [...]

226. Patrick Saint-Jean - June 20, 2012

There is definitely a need to encourage innovation and creativity in the market place. The engine for growth in any economy comprise of these two components.

227. The Realities of Big Web Traffic and Advertising - O'Reilly Radar - August 3, 2012

[...] industry in early 2007 (a time when Web advertising was still enjoying double-digit growth) and concluded: At large scale, without a great deal of targeting possible, a startup’s “run of [...]


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