The independent Finnish Internet is in a pretty sad condition when looking at the number of quality destinations let alone ones with significant traffic. There are two categories of websites that prosper however: Fashion blogs and knitting blogs (cooking, we believe, is also coming fast). Now a group of people have figured out that the former can also be a quite lucrative business if you collect all the eyeballs under one roof. Indiedays is exactly a destination like that. It’s a portal and a platform for Finnish fashion blogs with 21 independent fashion bloggers and 19 fashion blogs.
The blogs have been ported from their old domains and now run on the Indiedays platform which is essentially a WordPress blog. The company will place brand advertising on the portal landing page as well as to the individual blogs and is very likely going to sell their own advertising. The niche can be profitable and one of the easiest to monetize, but there are clear limits how big such a business can be in Finland. The 19 top Finnish fashion blogs will pull altogether roughly 100K unique weekly visitors, which is a clearly a very valuable audience for any fashion or beauty brand but won’t scale into a business which for example Weblog Inc. had and what AOL is currently busy building. The best performing individual blogs currently have 20K to 30K weekly unique visitors.
Sweden, where online media has always been light years ahead of Finland, has seen this wave of fashion blogs and their commercialization happen already some time ago and the visitor numbers are closer to one million than one hundred thousand.
The man behind Indiedays is Esa Suurio, who is also one of the key people behind WOT or Web Of Trust that uses onlinen community to website reputation rating. Other people behind the company include Jani Uljas (owner of a Finnish travel site rantapallo.fi), Hannu Matilainen, Helene Auramo (CEO of Zipipop and owner of Digitytöt) , Kirsti Lehmusto (Director at Finnish advertising agency Taivas), Minttu Vesala.
The bloggers themselves are young girls who will get smallish payment for the blogging they do, but Suurio declined to comment on the exact figures. The bloggers are also free to blog on whatever topics they please just as before when they were blogging under their own domain. It will be interesting to see how fast Bonnier or Sanoma will attempt to acquire the new site, just as Bonnier acquired (link in Finnish) the Finnish Paras aika vuodesta blog which had at the time around 20K weekly uniques. Equally interesting will be what the bloggers themselves will think of it when Indidays will sell the portal to a giant media house. Regardless, it is great to see Finnish online media take step forward and even better that its not one of the big media companies shoving another bulk site down our throats, but an entrepreneur (or a team of them) packaging quality content in a smart way and with a passion to match.