Building Blogs' Mass Appeal

For countless bloggers laboring in obscurity, capturing and growing an audience is a big challenge. Now Larstan Inc., publisher of the Blogger & Podcaster magazine and Web site, is teaming up with USA Today to create a guide to blogs and podcasts on the newspaper's site.

The guide is featured at the bottom of the home page and lets users scroll through topics including arts, cars, sports and video to find relevant blogs or podcasts. Along with brief descriptions, the guide will also let people rate and post comments about blogs and podcasts as well as subscribe to RSS feeds.

"TV Guide is brilliant at helping people find what they want quickly on TV, and that's what we're going to do for blogs and podcasts," says Larstan CEO Larry Genkin. A listing in the Blogger & Podcaster guide will cost $495 annually, or $50 per month. Each blog or podcast can also pay $195 per issue to appear in a weekly sampling of guide listings in the print edition of USA Today.

Genkin is also using the guide as a springboard for creating a Blogger & Podcaster ad network that would place branded widgets on member sites. So a financial blog might feature a stock ticker with relevant advertising embedded. Revenues from click-throughs will be split evenly between Larstan and network sites.

Former Clear Channel Radio executive Bennett Zier and former Arnold Worldwide President Ken Umansky, respectively, lead sales and marketing efforts for the network.


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