Is a Blog a Corporate Asset?

What if blogs were really like companies and there was a trading exchange similar to the stock market where you could invest in blogs and buy shares as if they were public companies?  There are some mock stock markets that are already exploring this idea, most notably BlogShares.  On the site you can bet on blogs rising or falling in rankings and manage your "portfolio" accordingly.  I have the "What’s your blog worth?" link on my sidebar as many other bloggers do … and even though the significance of this value is somewhat subjective, I find the idea intriguing.  It raises the question of whether a blog itself has some inherent value.  Is it an asset?  Can it be passed from company to company, individual to individual?

Jason Calacanis’ sale of Weblogs Inc. to AOL would suggest so, as well as the example of Gawker, where the torch was passed from Ana Marie Cox to David Lat when she moved on to become an author and left the blog behind.  Yet there are other blogs, like Micropersuasion that are so linked to the personality of their author that they are nearly inseparable.  Change the name at the top and the blog would not be the same.  Perhaps the difference between these two models of blogs is the same difference at the heart of whether a company is publicly or privately held.  When a blog "goes public", t extends beyond the identity of the author(s).  It becomes an asset in it’s own right, able to be purchased and transferred.  When Scott at Media Orchard went on holiday, he asked other bloggers to fill in for him and keep the blog going.  It’s tough to imagine Guy Kawasaki doing the same thing.  It won’t be long before some entrepreneurs will start blogs with the express intention of taking them public and selling them to a larger bidder.  It will be an interesting area to watch, creating opportunities for smart thinkers to make money without developing a new product or creating a new technology.  Finally, a revenue model for blogs that doesn’t rely on Google Adwords …

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