Tech Blog Wars

The tech blog space is a competitive place. Just ask Ryan Block and Brian Lam, chief bloggers for Engadget and Gizmodo, respectively. If you don’t know the back story about these guys and the no-holds-barred stunts they pull to outscoop each other, check out the pithy play by play from “Fortune Magazine,” aptly titled “The blogs of war.” When a blogger likens himself to a samurai, you know there’s something out there worth fighting for.

On the surface, that something appears to be the freshest tech and gadget news. But as with most blogs these days, good content is merely a means to an end: the greatest possible volume of readers and the marketing dollars that invariably follow. Block’s and Lam’s efforts have served them well. As it stands, Engadget attracts 10 million unique monthly visitors, having recently surpassed legacy player Gizmodo, which receives over 8 million. According to “Fortune,” each site is valued at an estimated at $30 million to $50 million.

This combination of assets makes these blogs top choices among media planners and buyers. Like many modern blogs, the ad options they offer rival those of online newspapers and entertainment portals, and they have the client lists to prove it. Gizmodo, part of the high-profile Gawker Media network (known for pioneering once atypical big-brand blog sponsorships), is routinely tapped by such brands as Best Buy, Bose, Microsoft, and Nissan.

Engadget has its own advertising muscle, as it’s part of AOL-owned Weblogs Inc., which sells the site’s premium ad placements along with those on Engagement Mobile and Engadget HD sites. Ads can also be booked through AOL directly, with some inventory being sold through ad networks like Tribal Fusion and AOL’s Advertising.com. The blog offers eight standard advertising placements, along with some unique opportunities, like holiday gift guide and podcast sponsorships. In the fight for top gadget site, Engadget recently took a big win when it edged out Gizmodo to be voted Best Technology Blog in the 2007 Weblog Awards.

Tech Savoir-Faire

Marketers should be aware of other tech-industry savvy blogs that target young, progressive, male consumers (pardon the generalization) in the online space. Running the gamut from covering Facebook news to publishing exclusive interviews with political candidates about key technology issues is TechCrunch. The blog attracts a respectable 1.5 million users each month and generates over 4 million monthly pageviews.

Your experience of booking a campaign with TechCrunch might conjure memories of the early days of banner ads; sponsorships are sold on a flat-fee basis, and the blog is covered in static 125 x 125 pixel buttons. But don’t be deterred. The blog counts Adobe and Microsoft among its past advertising partners and sells banners through Federated Media Publishing (FM Publishing) on a more traditional CPM (define) basis.

Inspecting Gadgets

Also represented by FM Publishing is Boing Boing Gadgets, which, like all good blogs, has a voice that’s both knowledgeable and wildly funny. The blog shares the spotlight with its predecessor Boing Boing, which talks tech but also strays to other “wonderful things,” and the recently launched Boing Boing TV.

CNET’s Crave, a gadget blog that launched in late 2006, is part of the CNET Blog Network. The stature of the site’s parent company makes it easy to validate this blog buy.

In this increasingly saturated media space, there are plenty of blogs from which to choose. The competition is tough. All the better for the consumer — and the media buyer.

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