How Vox Media's New Gadget Blog Circuit Breaker Will Earn Revenue

E-Commerce and Facebook Live Product Placements Are All Possibilities

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The Verge's new Circuit Breaker
The Verge's new Circuit Breaker

On Monday, Vox Media tech and culture site The Verge announced the introduction of a gadget blog called Circuit Breaker, which the company said will be "dedicated to the resurgence of consumer gadgets in new categories like VR, drones, and the internet of things."

While Circuit Breaker will have a dedicated home on The Verge's website, it's being presented as a Facebook-first destination that will tap into the social media's newly popularized Facebook Live video offering.

Circuit Breaker content will be published on Facebook as Instant Articles, and the company will reap the benefits of the advertising opportunity presented by the publishing program. But Michael Hadgis, global VP-revenue and partnerships, said the company could potentially make money from Circuit Breaker in other ways.

Mr. Hadgis said the company will ink editorial sponsorships, allowing brands to advertise around a specific topic of content.

As for Facebook Live, which has become a priority for news organizations, Mr. Hadgis said the company will explore the possibility of running advertising that would resemble a typical podcast read, in which a narrator talks casually about the merits of a specific product or ad. He also suggested that product placements, which have found their way into podcasts, could be a fit for Facebook Live.

"Could we do product placement, or we could do a typical advertising read? Totally, that's something we're going to explore ...," he said, noting that Vox Media will work with Facebook to ensure that the social network's advertising regulations are followed.

Vox Media has also been exploring e-commerce as a potential revenue opportunity, and while Mr. Hadgis declined to get into the details, he said it could be a fit for Circuit Breaker.

At other companies, The Wirecutter has been able to generate revenue from product reviews by linking out to products for purchase and taking a cut of sale profits. Gawker Media has done something similar.

"It's an area we're definitely going to look into as we look to monetize Circuit Breaker, as well as across other Vox Media brands," Mr. Hadgis said of e-commerce. "It's just another lever on the monetization side."

While Mr. Hadgis suggested that Circuit Breaker could be ripe for interesting advertising opportunities, he said the company is not interested in running "sponsored reviews or anything like that."

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