As Om and Scoble depart, how does a company value a blogger?

Stephen Baker

It's only Tuesday, and already this week two big-time bloggers are picking up from their full-time jobs to position their abilities--and their brands--in startups. What do these career moves by Robert Scoble and Om Malik tell us?

It's a bit of a paradox. The Internet has brought astounding tools of measurement into countless marketplaces, starting with advertising. And yet, when it comes to measuring the power or effectiveness of an in-house blogger, companies don't know where to start. How much was Robert Scoble worth to Microsoft? On a bang-per-buck basis, how did he match up to the millions that Microsoft pays for advertising and marketing, both in-house and out? I'd say extremely high. But I don't think there was any way to measure it.

Om Malik is the biggest brand associated with Business 2.0, the magazine's superstar in the blogs. The editor, Josh Quittner, sensibly offered Om a column-writing gig to keep at least one of his feet onboard.

But the fact remains, most corporations and media outlets haven't figured out yet how to revamp compensation for the new age. Very few journalists, for example, are evaluated for customer relations. That's almost sacrilege, the province of the advertising or marketing side of the business. But blogging is blurring the line between these domains. Perhaps the best way to measure the value of bloggers inside the company is to see how they fare when they leave. There's a growing list of case studies out there.