A Broken Model

How much revenue have authors on the website SeekingAlpha.com given away for free?

About $112,000,000.

That’s not a typo.  $112 million dollars.

SeekingAlpha has 711,498 articles written by over 10,000 authors and 280,000 commentators from over 4 million users.  The interesting part of SA, and other sites like it such as Forbes and other content aggregators is that they don’t have the biggest line item expense of most journalism companies – the journalist!  They have found a way to steal acquire articles for free from authors.

Here’s the math from an old 2010 post with updated numbers below.

Demand Media pays their authors the basement fee of $15 per article. On the other end of the spectrum established authors receive around $300 per piece and up.

711,498 x $15 = $10.6 million

711,498 x $300 = $213 million

The answer is probably somewhere in the middle, so lets take the average and call it $112,000,000.  (Note it is also a finance site so “should” command higher CPMs and advertising rates).  But I ballpark their yearly revenue at about $12 million.

Likewise, just off monthly unique visitors (10 million), I calculate the value of the website at around $60 million.

Think they’ll split that with their 10k authors when then sell?  Don’t bet on it.