With Internet-like speed, blogs have gone from self-indulgent hobbies to flourishing businesses. Real businesses, with real revenue streams from real advertisers–not overhyped next big things with pick-a-number valuations based on selling out someday to some overenthusiastic big-media sugar daddy. Boing Boing, a four-person operation that bills itself as a directory of wonderful things, is on track to gross an estimated $1 million in ad revenue this year. The digital-media news site PaidContent.org, headquartered in the second bedroom of a Santa Monica apartment, is set to post even more than that. And Fark.com, a site packed with sophomoric humor run by a lone guy in Lexington, Ky., is on pace to become a multimillion-dollar property. In short, some of the most popular blogs, long the bane of the mainstream media, are themselves becoming mainstream.
What has changed? [….]