As I’ve said previously, I enjoy speaking with fellow hyperlocalists and learning of their own adventures in entrepreneurial journalism. Part of that enjoyment stems from the fact that I work from home with little to no human interaction during the day. And then there’s my genuine interest in what’s going on in other people’s lives.
Recently I spoke with one hyperlocalist whom I’ll call Loretta for privacy’s sake. Loretta operates a popular hyperlocal website and was invited to join a regional network that shares advertising revenue with its members while collecting a cut for itself. Currently, the network doesn’t have an umbrella site for aggregating its members’ content or directing readers to its members’ respective websites.
Despite that, there are definite advantages to Loretta’s participation in the network. First, this particular network carries name recognition, though it’s still too fresh out of the box to call it a brand. (Details of its business practices couldn’t be confirmed, so it shall remain nameless in this post.) Next, it stretches across an entire region, which should help reel in large advertisers and their large ad budgets. Last, there’s the notion that all boats will rise with the revenue tide, even those that aren’t as seaworthy as the rest of the fleet.
There’s only one thing about this arrangement that makes me leery. Revenue sharing assumes revenue, and when talking about advertising, that usually means page views. This network is so brand-spanking new that it doesn’t yet have an audience of its own and is relying on Loretta’s site and others to drive traffic. In other words, it can’t deliver page views to Loretta’s site. Instead, Loretta’s site will deliver page views to the network, which will then take its cut of the ad revenue.
The way I see it, if Loretta and other hyperlocalists are doing all the work to drive traffic, then they should reap most of the revenue. The network still deserves a cut for using its name and relative size to leverage ad sales, but the fact is, those ad sales won’t happen without the hyperlocalists’ hard-earned page views.
I don’t know the numbers of Loretta’s revenue-sharing arrangement, but I hope she gets her fair share of the deal. Best of luck, Loretta!
Photo courtesy of Flickr user enggul.