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A little over a year ago we reported on a Finnish media startup called Indiedays. The company put together a fashion, beauty and lifestyle network of bloggers, all under the same address to leverage their traffic and build a new media destination. I talked to the CEO and co-founder Esa Suurio about their development in 2010 and how they were able to exceed their goals.

The network currently holds 25 blogs and 26 bloggers altogether. Esa Suurio told me they’re growing all the time in terms of traffic, but also bloggers. However, they see the quality of the blogs more important than simply opening doors to everyone.

One of the attributes that makes Indiedays an interesting company for bloggers of the genres mentioned above, is the compensation program they have built in. While not revealing exact details, Esa Suurio told me they pay a certain monthly sum to the bloggers based on their traffic figures. As such, it is not a revenue sharing model as the bloggers get their pay regardless if there are any advertisers on the site. In 2010, Indiedays paid their bloggers a six-figure sum.

Advertising is then left to the company and that is the risk they carry. They want to keep the standards of the site high and capitalise that through interesting deals with advertisers. In 2010, some of their clients included Elle, Fazer, Live Nation, H&M, Nokia, Sony and so on.

So how big is Indiedays in terms of traffic then? By far the biggest in its genre. In Finland, some of the previous leaders in this group were the websites of publishers who published articles and magazines to this genre. Olivia used to be the largest with about 20 000 uniques (they’ve recently hired a new blogger and they now reach about 40 000 uniques).

Indiedays currently reaches over 140 000 unique visitors on a weekly basis. Overall, they generate about 1.7 million pageviews with an average visitor staying on the site a whopping 5 minutes 21 seconds.

One of the reasons they’re able to keep readers glued to the site is the amount of content they’re able to publish through the network daily. On average, every blogger writes something on a daily basis – this means they generate about 25 blog posts each day – which beats many smaller media organisations easily.

Indiedays is not by itself anymore in this category though. Recently, a competing network of fashion bloggers started writing at Lily. The site is owned by A-Lehdet, a Finnish magazine publisher.

While there are differences in the way the sites operate, it clearly shows the demand for content in this segment.

I personally believe, after having the talk with Esa Suurio about Indiedays that they’re going to have a phenomenal 2011 as they will keep on growing and expanding with new blogs. One of the reasons they’ll surely grow is that they currently charge CPM prices of around 3-4€ which are only about 65% of the market prices in larger publications. Simply leveling those would double their annual revenue.

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