Ladyblog publisher bad at asking for money, just like other ladies

More bloggers getting paycuts! Today, the slasher is BlogHer, a network of ladyblogs which grew out of a conference for ladybloggers. We feel more sorry for the women behind BlogHer than the ladies they're shortchanging.

Lisa Stone, Elisa Page and Jory Des Jardins started BlogHer with some mumbo-jumbo about "empowerment." Smart move — empowerment sells! Somewhere along the line, they started selling ads for other blogs. MediaMemo reports that BlogHer is cutting ad payments by 10 percent. Sounds terrible, right?

But then you read the email Stone, Page, and Des Jardins sent, and you learn that BlogHer had been giving bloggers a fixed share of the ad revenues. That's a share of gross revenues, not net — no allowances made for commissions for salespeople, servers, bandwidth, and so on. What's changing: BlogHer will now take 10 percent off the top to cover costs, and pay bloggers a share based on 90 percent of the gross ad revenues. (Page tells me the share is now 50 percent, and will effectively drop to 45 percent after the change.)

Compare that to Google, which typically pays 88 to 89 percent of revenues to websites it represents — but those are net revenues, not gross revenues. (Google has a reputation for paying much less to smaller sites, and more to big partners like AOL and MySpace.)

Sounds to me like a woman-on-woman crime — but Stone, Page, and Des Jardins were the victims here. It escapes me why women like these three have such a hard time asking for the money they deserve. They managed to get venture capital from NBC and Venrock, after all. But the way they've been running their business sounds like the opposite of empowerment.

(I updated this post to clarify how BlogHer's revenue sharing works, after getting an email from Page.)