This image was lost some time after publication.

VentureBeat reports that online ad network Federated Media is close to raising a $30 million round of financing, at a valuation of $200 million. The deal is not as advanced as VentureBeat suggests, we hear. But let's assume a large investor is seriously weighing a term sheet. Awesomely tan tech-reporter-turned-salesman John Battelle must be torn.

He saw Wired, where he was a founding editor, sold to Conde Nast for a pittance. The Industry Standard, which he launched and ran, crashed and burned. Federated Media, which caters to independent bloggers like Boing Boing and Dooce, could well be more successful than either, redeeming his reputation as a businessman. And with the economy teetering, now's a good time to take the money and run, before people deepen their questioning of the blog business model. Still, taking that much money from investors now — if Battelle can even get it — only increases the odds of a sale down the road.