Yesterday we talked all about swapping out a website for a condo, but one area I didn’t get a chance to expand on much was that of INSURING our blogs and sites we so diligently work hard on every single day. It scares the poop outta me that we don’t have insurance for them, doesn’t it you?!
I know there’s “business insurance” out there and maybe that is where sites like ours fall under, but not once in my 4+ years of blogging have I ever come across insurance made specifically for blogs or websites (or maybe there IS one but only the elite like Perez Hilton or iJustine has garnered it?) And owning more than one site that produces income, I can tell you that it’s something I’d HIGHLY be interested in if one of you ever wants to create one ;) My freakin’ livelihood depends on it! Haha…
I tried Googling it a bit to see if maybe I’m just overlooking something already in place, but unfortunately typing in “insurance for websites” and “blog insurance” only points you to other blogs who like to write about insurance (big surprise). So if any of you have better researching skills than myself in this department, I’d be more than thankful to hear what you find :) Although I did come across an interesting article by the WSJ telling all bloggers to be aware that what we write can get us sued, which didn’t make me feel that much safer, haha…But DOES remind me that it’s a good idea for any of you out there with small businesses like these (cuz that’s what they are in effect – “small businesses”) to makes sure you have some legal protection backing you up! I personally have an LLC for all my online projects, and it feels great. But every person’s circumstances are gonna be different, so make sure to do your homework and find the best one suited for YOU.
But back to the topic of insurance. I feel like online blogs are just as valuable as other things we insure, and therefore we should have the opportunity to do so too. We have insurance for diamonds and RVs and cars and motorcycles and homes and commercial real estate and even WORKING in general (death and dismemberment anybody?), so why not blogs? Are we too weird? :)
As you can tell from my article yesterday, sites are just as financially valuable than other major properties are – many times even MORE. You know Get Rich Slowly? Sold for over
a million 10 million dollars… Bargaineering? $3 million+… And these are just some of the sites we know about because of information that’s publicly available. You don’t even wanna know what the other niches out there bring in a month with money – it’s pretty incredible.
But just because they’re all smart enough to reap the rewards online than they are in real estate or cars or whatever else we’re able to insure these days, it doesn’t seem fair they don’t get the same equal consideration. Again, unless I’m missing something big here? And think about how ground breaking and how much of an UN-TAPPED market there is for blogger’s insurance!! You could make a KILLING if you wanted to be the first one to create the product and brand yourself like that, right? Are you listening, USAA? :)
Now, I have no idea how much would even be fair to have to pay to be insured like that, but I would be willing to shell out at least a few hundred a month for this killer peace of mind. Or maybe even up to $500? Seems like a lot of money for sure, but then again it would be protecting your entire empire there in the off chance the internet goes down one day ;) Although I suppose you could always just set money aside as more of an Emergency Fund for your biz too? I just don’t think that would feel as good, or offer you the same amount of protection. I dunno…
Either way, the whole thing just fascinates me. And I feel like I’ve stumbled across something entirely new and shiny here that’s never been touched by us PF bloggers before, haha… could it be there’s something NEW to discuss in finance after hundreds of years? ;) I may be on to something!
Thoughts? Ideas? Resolutions??
(How do you like that killer WordPress shirt above? I nabbed it from Blog world last year!! :))
Get blog posts automatically emailed to you!
It’s not a bad idea, but it doesn’t make any sense either. What is valuable in a blog is the content, something you can’t recover if you lost it, even if the insurance company pays you a zillion dollars. So even if they pay you some money to keep going while you start again (How long can that be, two days?), you are not going far with that.
If you are concerned about losing your entries and your work, just do a weekly (Or daily, if you are paranoid enough) security copy of that week’s posts, and store it in 1) your computer 2) In a CD stored in your garage 3) In a CD stored at a relative home. Do also a monthly and annual copy, so you can reduce the storage volume. That way you ensure you have a copy of all your work, even if your whole house gets charcoaled.
I think that’s faster and actually more useful than paying for ‘blog insurance’.
I think the reason why they can’t be insured is because how to you come to an insurable value. A car has a valuing mechanism as do houses. Blogs are fluid though based on content and the whims of their readership as well as how they are monetized. If you feel like slowly down and then one day you forget to update your website and get hacked your site might have been worth less that day. I understand why insurance would be appealing but it is way too hard to value from the insurance point of view and then what would they even cover? I got sick of writing definitely wouldn’t be covered but a hack attack? Maybe, if you can prove you were properly protected…
I agree with Lance, it’s a lot harder to value a blog or a website in general. Values can change frequently and it’s hard to predict where the market will go over the next 1,3,5+ years.
This is partly why I like your idea of switching out an online property for a physical one; diversify yourself against the risk your web properties hold.
I’m with Yuri. It seems like content is the key and there are plenty of ways to backup your content. I’m pretty new to this though so maybe there are other aspects that I’m not considering.
I didn’t know Get Rich Slowly sold for that much, that’s pretty crazy. Oh and thanks for the getting sued link, a nice morning scare to wake me up.
Most insurance companies offer insurance for business. They list and charge for each risk separately. Seems to me your biggest risk is loss of income, and that’s a standard risk they insure against.
In theory you can could try to justify the subscriber list as an insurable asset, but that’s just too hard for an insurance company to monetize. For that, you can simply make numerous copies every month and store them in different places – a pain, but think of it as your insurance premium, then it becomes cheap at the price. :)
The lack of income should be fairly straightforward, though. You show them the stream of income, and they will give you a list of the hazards they can insure for. If you want, I can put you in touch with our insurance broker…
Good point, though…
They offer insurance against theft for all kinds of weird physical properties with values in flux. Though I don’t think you can get insured for “loss of value” for most things (though, if you could, I suspect there’s a chunk of people buying real estate that would pay more in their mortgage if it meant they could never be upside-down on it by more than a few percent of total value- I wonder if that’s legal, and if anyone’s offering it yet. You heard it here first?).
Actually, it wouldn’t shock me if the lawyers worked out a way to get some “getting sued” insurance, assuming you couldn’t just improvise (The Oatmeal, I’m thinking of you!).
What’s more challenging is the revenue- which comes pretty much entirely from advertising of various kinds, if I understand correctly. Do TV stations or radio stations carry insurance for advertising loss?
I wouldn’t be surprised if they figured out a way to do insurance for “running your mouth off and losing your sponsors” (I’d ask a talk radio station!). But what they probably can’t do is offer insurance for “nobody wants to advertise on blogs anymore, because only twitter matters now” or whatever evolution of media occurs next (NB: I don’t really think it’ll be twitter). I’d bet blogs are going to be around for another 10 years, but there might not be any money in them in 50.
If Insurance is to shift the risk to a company with numbers that can handle it for a premium – what is the risk you are shifting?
Future income – way to risky for a company to take on
Hackers – You can do that with a few companies out there even though they aren’t insurance companies
What risk are you trying to shift?
I think you bring up a good point. I would insure my blog if such a thing was available.
Actually, there are a few things that you can do to protect your sites! I’m and insurance agents (and not trying to sell you!), but I love your blog and thought I could help.
One thing to look at is Media Liability insurance. This covers you against any copyright infringement, defamation of character, libel, slander, etc. that you may commit on another party. There are endorsements in there for legal defense costs and other benefits that you may or may not need.
The one that you may want is a cyber liability policy. I know that a lot of doctors offices, insurance agencies, and anyone that holds valuable information have this to protect them from hackers and whatnot. I think this would work for blogs as well. I’ve never personally had to quote this, so my information is kind of limited. I would definitely look into it though.
I see what you are saying. Unfortunately, it would be difficult insure a blog. What would be the risk? You buy insurance to reduce your risk; therefore, the company takes on most of the risk. How do you justify the risk that the company needs to take? From reading your post, the risk you are trying to reduce is losing your income, right? It’s hard to place value on a blog for insurance purposes, not for merger and acquistion like GRS and the other blogs that have sold–totally different arena in the finance world. There’s no insurable asset.
A blogs value fluctuates depending on subscribers, ads, etc, and can be difficult to monetize. An insurance company would need some way to calculate the value of your blog…and if they think it’s less than what you think would it be worth the premium? Premiums are priced with the risk the company will need to take to insure your blog.
Like I said, I see where you are going with this…and it could work. But right now there’s isn’t “blog insurance.”
In agreement with Lance, it would be difficult to put a value on a website or blog. I know that when blogs are hacked, it can be devastating for the blog owner (especially those who make their income blogging). Maybe using a web valuation tool would provide the “value” of a blog that can be a benchmark. I wouldn’t pay that much for my blog’s insurance, but maybe under $100/month.
Have you heard of VaultPress?
Hey Buddy! This has nothing to do with your post, but when I saw Bobak Ferdowsi, NASA ‘Mohawk Guy,’ I thought of you! You both have Mohawks—it looks like the style is here to stay! http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/06/bobak-ferdowsi-nasa_n_1749652.html?utm_hp_ref=mostpopular
Sounds like you have another business idea. Know any good lawyers?
You have a point. Blogs are our source of income. They are comparable to home-based businesses, so why not an insurance for them? However, how can we assign a specific value for the site? We should make a formula how we are going to compute for it.
I hear you on this one, and my blog itself doesn’t even generate much revenue! (Even though it’s helped to point numerous freelance opportunities my way.)
My biggest fear is always that something will happen to my posts. Yes, I have them saved in Dropbox, backed up in WordPress, and backed up by Dreamhost, but I still have this paranoid urge to print out every one I’ve ever written in the random event my entire site is lost and I need to prove to the world that I did exist and wrote some nice things. Although then you’d still lose all the comments and other interaction that proves the “value” of your blog.
*Sigh.* The frustrations of working in the digital world. #FirstWorld(blogger)Problems. :D
I’ve honestly never thought about insurance for blogs before. You do bring up a great point and I think blog insurance would be an awesome thing to have. I don’t know if I would be willing to pay hundreds a month for it, but then again my blog isn’t as large as yours. ;-)
Insuring the physical blog itself would only be part of it, not a huge risk especially if you’re making regular backups. I think a potentially bigger thing to insure against liability in the event of being sued by someone or some company. I’ve already received cease and desist orders for a couple of things – which while I didn’t think they had merit – could have been costly to defend against had it gone that route. So having some sort of bloggers liability coverage for things like that might be nice.
By the way, I use backupbuddy plugin (premium plugin) so that I don’t have to worry about losing the physical site. Backs up to my FTP, email, dropbox and Amazon S3.
Thanks for taking the time to comment, everyone! All these thoughts/ideas are great! Now who wants to create this new business for me??? Anybody? Bueller? ;)
@Yuri – Yeah, that’s a great idea for sure :) Although I’m more concerned with loss of future income. You couldn’t just plop up my articles for example on a brand new site and get paid for it all like I am now, and that’s the part that really scares me… like if the internet went kapooey or for some reason I *couldn’t* rebuild the blog on budgetsaresexy or something, I dunno. That’s why I want insurance though – to protect me from all kinds of unforeseen circumstances! :)
@Lance @ Money Life and More – True true, but you can still put a value on blogs and websites if they produce income just like other companies do – even if it’s less than maybe what you prefer it to be worth ;) For example, many sites and blogs that go up for sale are valued by a monthly or yearly profit multiplier, say at 15 months or 2 years worth for example. So if BudgetsAreSexy was making, let’s say $1,000 a month, and a custom valuation is 10 times (just to make things easier), you could say it’s worth about $10,000 for insurance purposes – I think tha would be fine… even though it is all subjective these days, but I bet going into the future it won’t be as much.
@DC @ Young Adult Money – Yeah, me too! Real estate has a universal value to it because everyone understands “the game” and also NEEDS a roof over their heads, haha… no one really *needs* BudgetsAreSexy even if it was worth $100 Million :)
@K @ Get Worth – I’m sure GRS sold for a lot more than $1 Million too – that part of it wasn’t stated anywhere that I saw and just assumed (though he does mention he got a lot of money when he did sell it).
@William @ Drop Dead Money – Hmmm… I could go for that! That’s really what I’m concerned with here, you’re right – loss of future income. Maybe I WILL call us USAA and see if they offer that kinda stuff for businesses?
@becca – Haha, indeed!! Radio shows are ALWAYS staying some stupid stuff and losing advertisers, haha… I’m wondering if you can insure for that too?! Very very interesting stuff, I like the way you think :)
@Evan – I guess just some unforeseen even that would explode BudgetsAreSexy and all my future income! I feel like if you paid a hefty premium there’s *gotta* be a company out there that would gladly except it fo the risk of future profits going down substantially or something like that (or maybe even $0.00?). I guess I’d just like to feel more safe and secure with it all, and I’m willing to pay to feel better about it ;) That’s how companies make tons of money right? Solving existing problems out there?
@Bridget – Awesome! I’ll let you know if I ever find a place :)
@Brynn – Ooooh well that’s good to know! Never heard of either before, I’m gonna make a note and research further, thanks friend! Glad you enjoy the blog! :)
@Ornella @ Moneylicious – You’re right in that it’s a hard thing to value/assess, but that’s why the company who DID it would make a killing ;) At the rate things are going blogs and other online-only entities will just be growing and growing and making millionaires out of poeple, so if you (as a company) could capitalize on that, I think it would be well wroth the investment in time and research up front. A value can be placed on *anything* as long as both parties agree to it. And even if you don’t – like for example someone says BudgetsAreSexy is only worth ONE million and not TEN (Haha…) – it would then be up to me if I want to pay for that type of insurance or not. But at least I’d have an option, and I’m willing to bet others would pay for the same. Ya gotta start from somewhere! ;) (Oh, and yeah! haha… you’re the 4th person to send me a link to that guy today! I love it!)
@Daisy@EverythingFinance – There’s a lot of valuation guides out there online right now, even if they change over time. Having bought over a half dozen already, I can tell you that I’ve certainly used them myself to come up with offer prices ;)
@David Angel – Nope, but I like the sound of it! Will go and check it out after I post this up, thanks man :) Great domain mame.
@Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager – Haha… I SHOULD do something about this, huh??? Very interesting thought… I’d never considered it actually.
@Cherleen @ My Personal Finance Journey – They’re out there, believe me :) That’s how people buy and sell sites every day – it’s just not talked about much. You can see a lot of sites for sale on Flippa too, and sometimes they go into valuation and stuff, it’s pretty cool.
@Cordelia – Haha, you know it friend! I like that idea of printing them all out though :) I think there’s some company out there that does that for you for a fee? Like repurposes your entire blog into your own book-book so you can have records of it all? Or give it/sell it to someone? If you’re ever looking to get me a Xmas present, that could be it ;)
@Jen @ Master the Art of Saving – You will once you start making more, believe me :)
@Peter – Really? That’s scary! Oh man, yeah I’d LOVE protection for that kinda stuff for sure – that would be great. Thx for the back-up tip too, hadn’t heard of that one before :) See you soon, bro!
I think Brynn just stuck the landing. What, too much Olympics?
Yo! Your idea about valuing the site could work (24x monthly revenue for example) but what about the lifetime value of subscribers? Many sites will promote multiple products and this would logically lead to a growing monthly income, rather than a static one. Kinda makes it hard to value!
Bryn has some excellent points and ideas. Other ways to diversify risk would be:
– Get an email list going in aweber/Mailchimp so that if Google kick your ass, they are still people you can reach to get back to your former glory
– MAKE BACKUPS! I can’t count the number of times I’ve destroyed my sites and without Mediatemple/Hostgator backups, I’d be screwed.
– Build residual income. They are lots of ways to build and/or promote products that pay a regular income for life (as long as the customer keeps paying). Earnings compound and it sure beats Adsense.
Protecting future revenues sucks because imagine if you only had a $10k policy and you launched and awesome ebook “Make Your Budgets Sexier And Become a Millionaire” that sold for $29 a pop and you ended up doing $10k a month. If the internet died then, you’d be wanting more than the original $10k, right?
Interesting idea though. When are you launching Blog Insurance Is Sexy?
Hahahhaa.. I like the way you think, friend! I need to get on those eBooks stat ;) All great points though for sure, thx!
@AverageJoe – You can never have too much Olympics :)
How would the insurance company hedge against Big G Delisting you, or you deciding to stop writing?
For example you can’t buy insurance for the income stream of a pizza place? You can buy insurance to protect against disability of the owner, which I think you should have in case you *can’t* write anymore.
I dunno, but I’m sure there’s *some* way to do it just like in all other instances with insurance when starting out :) The only downfall is that it could get SUPER expensive if you wanted to be covered 100% like that (which is what I’d want, in a perfect world)…. I guess the best thing we could do for now is just protect ourselves the best way by doing backups/etc, and then storing some cash on the side into our own “pot” of insurance just in case that miserable day comes…
I call it now though that one day we WILL have blog insurance – you wait ;)
In commercial insurance, companies are valued by it’s receipts and payroll. There are certain provisions that cover businesses like restaurants for loss of income if the claim results from a covered peril. If the building catches on fire and they can’t run their business for a few weeks, they have limited coverage to provide them the income they would normally receive.
You can’t really compare real estate investment properties to commercial webpages though. When you insure the real estate, you’re insuring it for the replacement cost of the building. You could buy a property for $50,000 and then sell it for $150,000. You don’t insure it for the potential money it could make. Your insure it for what it would cost to rebuild it. Commercial webpages would be valued based on the receipts/income it generates…not what it could make or sell for.
I looked into the Cyber liability policy some more (mostly because I was curious), and there are certain provisions you could put on the policy to protect it from loss of income in the case of a security breach.
This insurance already exists, essentially, though it’s not called blog insurance and is what Brynn describes. Publisher’s liability insurance has existed for a long time and would cover your legal expenses if you were sued for say, libel or copyright violation, etc. I work for a company that has a bunch of trade journals and we have it. I would doubt that your average blogger would get an insurance company to cover him/her under a policy like this though — in evaluating your risk, the publisher wants to know all about the journalism training and experience of those who are responsible for the content — how many years they have been writing, what journalism school they want to, how elite it was, etc. Bloggers without formal journalism training have no way to prove themselves to be less risky.
You could probably get the cyber liability insurance Brynn mentions, so you can get yourself back up and running in case of hacking or problems with vendors that take your site down.
Try over 10 mil for GRS!
@Brynn – Interesting… yeah, I wouldn’t need any $ to re-build any sites of mine, but only for loss of income for X amount of time until it was back to normal and what not… Never heard of that Cyber Liability stuff but marking it down to look into further, thanks :)
@Sara – I’m telling you though – IF any of these companies started branding a product “blog insurance” it would take off like hot cakes! :) Good to know about Publishers Insurance though, never heard of that one either.
@Sam – That makes more sense :) I couldn’t find the exact number out there, so I just called it a cool million since I knew it was at least that. $10 Mil is even better!
innovative article —
just an FYI —
AOL acquired BloggingInsurance.com
HAH! That is awesome!! They know what’s up ;)
Hi, I’m new to finding you – I just searched “blog insurance” and there you were. I’m presenting to a network of bloggers next week about this very topic, specifically, a 360-degree review of what is needed vs what is available for the small business-blogger. I’m a professional insurance nerd who specializes in helping small and start-up businesses including nonprofits. After putting in a few hours to dig last year, I found some options that are pretty smart. I wanted to add my experience to the thread since this is my “bread & butter.”
Obviously the media conglomerates have enough money to self-insure or buy gigantic policies because they most likely have large offices and have a lot of exposure to protect. You are one person, or you’re a small group of people, working from home or coffee shops or shared office centers, and you kick ass at what you do AND you’re running a viable business. Why can’t there be an insurance company that specializes in this? It’s true – it’s a new concept to them. There haven’t been enough relatable court cases to show insurers how costly claims can be, and they haven’t quite grasped how to compare you to similar business categories they already understand. Plus, not enough bloggers have sought it out because society doesn’t yet see them as viable businesses TO insure.
There are Media Liability options out there, with Errors & Omissions (aka Professional Liability), Advertising Injury Liability, Cyber Liability. I have professional bloggers as clients with these types of coverages. In non-insurance-nerd-speak, that all includes coverage to protect you in court for the risk of being an expert in something, saying something another party feels is false or slanderous, data breach, and copyright infringement.
Business Interruption (aka Business Income) coverage is available – it’s a type of Property Insurance. The easiest way I’ve found that you can get this is to first purchase a General Liability policy and then add on the Property – you can also include your laptop, office furniture, other machines & materials that you use in the business.
Though I can’t speak to the retail or wholesale market value of a website, I can tell you that my insurers valued the business risk by comparing the number of viewers to the revenue generated by ad sales to the content, and essentially created their own “rate” to charge. Viewership not only included the blogs, but all social media venues where they exist. Anywhere you exist, you have risk.
I have no hesitation telling you that I would LOVE to work on this for you & anyone else, though I’d even be happy to just keep the discussion going. I work from an office in Fort Collins, Colorado but I have the ability to help people in all states. 800-685-4519, local 970-372-6013. You rock.
“Insurance Isn’t as Sexy as Budgets but it’s Getting There” :)
HEY! Very cool!!! You are on top of it, baby – I like that :) Appreciate you taking the time to send all this over as it really does help put things into better perspective here – esp since I know close to jack bout how this could even work.
Currently I have all “extra” things paused for the start of the new year, but I’m gonna save your email and number here (I got emailed this comment so it’s in a safe spot!), and will ping you the second I’m ready to go down this path again. I find it all kinds of fascinating, and if it helps out a ton without costing a ton, I think it would be a great fit.
Thanks again! Good luck on your blogger meetup this week! :)
I agree with you wholeheartedly – an “out of the box” solution for an online publisher or blogger makes a lot of sense. Cyber Insurance is the closest thing you can get today — it’s is a group coverages for all kinds of online, computer, and network-related risks. It’s confusing, to say the least, and every company calls it something different.
Luckily, agents like @JenniferBond above, can customize the coverages you need.. We’ve also also tried to demystify the topic for online publishers by providing an online checklist tool that spits out a list of cyber-related coverages you need for your business.
Oh cool, will check it out, thx man. “Cyber Insurance” – I like that!
After reading this post, I thought it would be timely to reach out and let you know that blogger insurance is now available. CalSurance Associates is a professional liability insurance broker that has developed an insurance product specifically for bloggers called BloggerShield™. http://bloggershield.com/
As a blogger, your content and your message are the most valuable components of your business. With increased success and blog visibility comes the vulnerability of having a claim or lawsuit brought against you, leaving both your blog and your personal assets at risk. Bloggers are subject to claims arising out of libel, slander, defamation, copyright infringement, and privacy violation. Regardless of how baseless a claim may be, bloggers, like any other professional, need insurance protection should a claim arise. BloggerShield™ insurance covers legal fees and other costs associated with liability claims brought against you in the course of your blogging activities. You can learn more about BloggerShield™ at http://bloggershield.com/.
Hope this is a helpful resource for all you bloggers looking for insurance!
Sweetness! You guys will own the niche since you’re the only ones doing it! Haha… Thanks for stopping by and adding this – gonna take a look now and see what it all entails.
Awesome question J. Money, but the other part of the expense isn’t just the insurance. You would have to have a valuation of the blog from an attorney that understands Intellectual Property, and then Actuaries would have to create a lifespan and depreciation scale for the blog. I love the idea of building out these careers that didn’t necessarily exist last week, let alone exist currently. Congratulations on your ideas for the ‘J. Money Stimulus plan’.
Great factors indeed – can you tell I’m not an expert? ;)