Stephen Fry is small fry online

New media poster boy Stephen Fry is one of the biggest names in the Twitter universe and has long-embraced the net to build his personal brand, but even he seems to struggle to make cash directly from the web.

Recently his Smallfry company announced the launch of a network of celebrity sites – a collective to monetise the activities of the already pretty rich online.

As an interesting aside to the news it emerged that is struggling to make ad revenues, despite attracting upwards of one million unique users per month* (corrected figure).

Andrew Sampson, co-managing director of SamFry with Fry said: “We’re just taking network ads and are looking at other options.

“We’re only selling 50% of the inventory. At the moment we’re at the lowest yield, it’s not even worth talking about the number we’re getting in terms of revenue, but we are addressing that.”

So, Fry is making pennies per thousand clicks, despite his immense pulling power. Still, I wouldn’t mind betting those pennies add up to a few quid in the end…


  1. A million uniques a day? Good grief. Then again, if you’ve no conumer side to your site or calls to action, why would you click on an ad?

  2. Andrew Sampson

    Smallfry you say?

    • leehall

      I’m paraphrasing your quote Mr Sampson – though qualified with the footnote that what counts as next to nothing for your company is probably a formidable sum for many of us!

      I’d love to hear more about how you plan to monetise the sites. Is it a case of achieving greater leverage to pull in better rates?

      It has to be said that selling 50% of the inventory on a site with so many visitors is high. Are you aiming to get this number up at current rates, or could it go down as you try to achieve a higher premium for advertising?

      • Andrew Sampson

        Call me Andrew.

        Actually it was far from a formidable sum, pennies actually. However we know have a great team in place that is selling 100% of the site. The actual data is 1.1m uniques per month, not week. That alters when Stephen tweets a URL to the site. If podcast downloads are added, the number doubles but over a longer period.

        The plan is to yes, as you state, achieve “greater leverage”. It’s all very well having great numbers but they’re pointless if you aren’t speaking to the right advertisers. We think we’ve solved that issue going forward.

        Overall we are trying to find a balance. We don’t want to provide a poor user experience with ads everywhere but I think most advertisers are empathetic to what we’re attempting to achieve on and eventually, our network. I think ads will be place sensitively and more appropriately.

  3. Andrew Sampson

    Apparently grammar and spelling abandoned me in the last post. Please forgive.

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