“What’s .00001% x $315 Million?”

I think I speak for bloggers everywhere reacting to the news that The Huffington Post sold to AOL for $315 million when I say: ‘CRAP!! THAT’S IT?!’

Reaction #2:  ‘what’s .000001 x $315 million?’  (answer:  $32, rounded up).

The incredulity has to do with the eye-popping valuations being sported by other online, “media-ish” properties like Facebook ($50 billion), Groupon ($15 billion), and Twitter ($10 billion).

Translation:  50(!) Huffington Posts = 1 Groupon.

Give me a &%$# break!” (as they say).

Halos & Taints

My take is that Web journalism — and specifically, blogs — are suffering, unfairly, from their association with “legacy” journalism properties, i.e., newspapers.

Meanwhile, the hot Web properties of the moment are benefiting from their association with the likes of Apple and Google.

The bottom line?

$315 million may not sound like much — but it’s still $315 million more than the Chicago Tribune, the (Minneapolis) Star Tribune, and other bankrupt newspapers were recently judged to be worth.

It’s also a sizeable percentage of what “flagship” properties like The New York Times are being valued at ($1.5 billion).

A Bargain?

Count me self-interested, but here’s betting that the Groupon’s of the world eventually get their comeuppance, while blogs and bloggers with established followings eventually get their due.

One possibility:  more deals like the one Paul Kedrosky, the blogger behind “Infectious Greed,” recently did with Bloomberg for what was reportedly more than $1 million.

Longer term, I think the “journalism” stigma will fade, and bloggers will come to be seen more like other content providers.

That group includes Pixar, Time Warner, and even the NFL — all properties that sport hefty valuations as a multiple of earnings.

P.S.:  I always thought that newspapers would go through a “horse-less carriage” stage when they’d be known as the “newspaper-less.”

Guess not . . .

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

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