There’s been an interesting debate about blogging economics the last couple of days between financial blogging heavyweights Felix Salmon, writer for Reuters and Henry Blodget, editor in chief of BusinessInsider. There are many layers to the debate, but each man’s core position is as follows: Salmon believes that quality of content and reporting are how to build a loyal audience and sustainable profitability. Blodget believes hard journalism is important but that a mass audience is more important for early profit—so the one-year-old BusinessInsider is not about publishing the best quality content all the time. It’s about grabbing a massive audience by being first (and perhaps most sensationalized) with all content.
If we reduce this battle even further, Salmon is about content and Blodget is about the platform. It’s not that Blodget fully disagrees with Salmon, it’s just that his site is building right now. Then BusinessInsider will scale later with investigative reporting if they choose—and if it’s profitable.
I like watching this debate between two of the best in the financial media game at their chosen positions: Salmon on content, and Blodget on platform. But in the end it’s all about the platform, because if you control the platform you can do whatever you want with content once you have the scale you want. Just look at the path of Huffingtonpost if there’s any doubt about that.
And as I’ve already predicted, Blodget is the next media mogul precisely because of his willingness to scale with high volume content, then add quality later.
As for Salmon, it’s easy to predict that he will remain a top player in financial media, precisely because he is so staunch in his quality-of-content position. There’s never going to be a time when this kind of integrity isn’t in demand, whether by Reuters or any other platform Salmon chooses to join … even if it’s Blodget’s.