Buying and Selling Blog Advertising

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Story Text:

There are a couple of interesting posts out there today about blog advertising. Whereas for many here, you're likely thinking "yeah yeah, it's advertising, it doesn't matter if it's on a blog or on a static site.." i'd have to ever so slightly disagree..

The first post is from B.L. Ochman. She's talking about some WSJ article that there's no point linking to as it's paid subscription only, and says, after a recap of the article which essentially just goes to serve as a demonstration of how WSJ doesn't understand the media or market...

And then the writer, Jessica Mintz, finds someone to make this dim comment: "For now, many big companies are sitting on the sidelines. "We're in a wait-and-see mode," says Stuart Bogaty, senior partner and managing director of mOne Worldwide, a digital ad agency that is part of WPP Group. He thinks that companies will remain skittish until agencies can better monitor and control what individual bloggers are saying about them. On the other hand, that might undercut their renegade appeal. "If we were able to convince a blogger to do that," he notes, "it would reduce the value of his blog in general." DUH!

Blogs are mostly read for the same reasons gossip magazines are read IMO - at least outside of technical fields, and they need to be in yer face, to be on the edge, and first with the info and a snarky comment to go with the link - if advertisers dont get it, fuck 'em, there are always more where they came from.

The second piece is by Sean over at Organized Shopping and talks about his experience advertising on John Battelle's blog.

Coming from the opposite end. Sean posts his reasoning for taking out ads on John's SearchBlog:

Now, I like text ads -- always have, always will. I also believe in having an online advertising slush fund, i.e. forcing myself to use a small part of the budget for unadulterated experimentation. So after seeing "Want to Sponsor Searchblog" on a near-daily basis, it was only a matter of time until I gave it a whirl. If you put me on the spot and demanded an objective for this advertising campaign, I would say to put my site in front of an audience of super-interesting, internet-obsessed people. From there, whatever happens, happens.

I can understand that, i've had the notion in the back of my mind that some strategic ads for TW might be in order at some point in the future, though i can hardly say it's top of the agenda :)

I've seen MarketingVOX out there advertising and, like all such endeavors, it's most likely worth it if targetted well. Though with nothing but an advertising business model it's a coin toss as to whether this is really sensible at best.

Interesting stuff and food for thought. I've not come to many conclusions on this so far, which is why i raise it here, perhaps it will spark some debate that can add to the information pool on ads and blogs...

Comments

 

At SXSW I watched a panel called "making money with online ads" and it seemed most bloggers did not know much about the ad business. Between marketing and blog publishers there is a huge gapingvoid if you will.

Admitidly I am not the best at the ad sales stuff, but I do understand that at some point if you pour yourself into something it should pay for itself and your efforts.

I kinda am of the train of thought that I would prefer to sell ads to people I knew and trusted (like your webuildpages and text-link-ads ads) than to sell random ones, but sometimes it makes sense to stack ads since it lowers risk and they may be far more profitable that way.

As time passes it seems to me more and more traffic will be sold everywhere on a per click or per action or per...

The one thing that gives fairly commerce free blogs a chance to compete is that they build trust and develop ongoing relationships.

Not sure the best way to leverage that for profit without alienating the audience, but I think what you did with the keyword cash special was probably about close to perfect if the payout was decent.

I do not think there should be any single guiding golden rules other than

  • those giving you ethical ad sales advice might be blinded by success or intentionally handing out misinformation.
  • mix stuff as needed to stay afloat and live decent
  • do not do things that will overtly alienate your most loyal readers unless you have a strong reason to do so

The WSJ Article

I wrote an article today on the fact location matters in PR and used the WSJ article as an example.
link

Here is a free link to the WSJ article:
link

 

Thanks Rich, do use the bbcode mate, had to alter your links to avoid scrollism :)

Quote:
As time passes it seems to me more and more traffic will be sold everywhere on a per click or per action or per...

I think for sites like blogs, or shall we just say sites that have a regular and dedicated readership, cpc or cp...anything is absolutely the wrong way to go. Your next point says why:

Quote:
The one thing that gives fairly commerce free blogs a chance to compete is that they build trust and develop ongoing relationships.

So, now we're back to branding. I think for most types of websites, with the obvious exclusion of search engines, cpc is redundant, and publishers selling on that basis are selling themselves short.

I've deliberatey set the rates here at what some have told me is a high level, though in truth i think they're underpriced - it's not about clicks, it's about association and trust and relationships - i've tried to convince some folks that becoming a part of the conversation is the way forward but for the most part advertisers either just dont get it, or are afraid of it, but one thing that they do understand, which may surprise some people, is that it's not all about clicks.

CPC for this type of site, and any site that has a regular viewership seems like such a waste..

I had a conversation with one guy recently that went like:

Adv: Can i have it at 2/3rds of the cost?
Me: No
Adv: Can i have it for one month instead of 3?
Me: No
Adv: Ok... can i have a fix on the cost for a rebooking then?
Me: No, unless you want to book it now and pay now.
Adv: er... ok, how would you like to be payed?

I think publishers are underselling themselves.

 

I think for most types of websites, with the obvious exclusion of search engines, cpc is redundant, and publishers selling on that basis are selling themselves short.

Many sites are made with no constructive purpose in mind and are of low quality. (as a disclaimer some of my sites may not be high quality and I think ThreadWatch is high quality)

Letting others handle the ad sales on a CPC basis is a good way of making low quality content production a scalable and viable business option.

More of what I was saying is that lots of sites and businesses are built upon recurring income streams, or getting paid more than once for a unit of work. Automating income.

At the same time I was also trying to state that legit blogs are a ton of work, and people who are in the know are often the least influenced by ads (unless the ads are amazing).

If you have a strong brand and pour yourself into your site then of course you should get extra out of it. Sometimes that will require stacking ads, special partnerships, or creating your own products. It is not always easy to properly profit from pouring hours into a blog.

More of the profits, IMHO, are social or networking type profits. Units of social currency which can be converted into cash in other ways.

I've deliberatey set the rates here at what some have told me is a high level, though in truth i think they're underpriced - it's not about clicks, it's about association and trust and relationships - i've tried to convince some folks that becoming a part of the conversation is the way forward

I agree this is true. But how does one spend their way into the conversation. I think ads are best if they are augmented by regular participation in the discussion.

Unless you really enjoy the content and are in part paying for it then the ads that build relationships take a long time to become profitable. I do not think most people look that far ahead.

CPC for this type of site, and any site that has a regular viewership seems like such a waste..

I think one of the best ways to sell ad space is to create a product around an audience or a subset of the audience, or partner with those who do.

 

Quote:
If you have a strong brand and pour yourself into your site then of course you should get extra out of it. Sometimes that will require stacking ads, special partnerships, or creating your own products. It is not always easy to properly profit from pouring hours into a blog.

More of the profits, IMHO, are social or networking type profits. Units of social currency which can be converted into cash in other ways.

Now that hits home in a big way...

The challenge here is that i never planned for a 'real website', just a place to spout off a bit..

However, now im in it... I think developing one's own products is a wonderful way forward. Although I can't say i've done any more than think about it, i have thought about it a lot.

The point about contacts is also well made. Sean in his Organized Shopping post linked above mentions that aswell, the contacts and relationships i've built doing TW are amazing, really amazing.

Quote:
But how does one spend their way into the conversation. I think ads are best if they are augmented by regular participation in the discussion.

I like the idea of having comments on ads, ongoing discussions of the product or service, but i think for many companies that's still to radical - though fuck knows why they dont get it. The other way is as you mentioned later, to give something away of genuine value, or real serious "take a look at THAT" worth to the membership of such sites and let them enjoy it (or not) and freely discuss it...

It's kinda along the lines of permission based marketing, though not quite, the principle being that you need to pay dearly to get some types of exposure, but im a beleiver that the price is well worth paying.

Just ask CashKeywords...

However, now im in it...

You have to choose to be in it, you don't have to be.

Just saying.

Chosen

No question or dilemma....

Less than a month after launching, i dropped all other projects to concentrate on this site - as im pretty sure you know?

TW is full on, i resent having to sleep, and am even looking at other ways to expand - madness, but lots of fun..

Chosen

Thats cool, I don't want to take this thread OT nor get onto a fight but....

>i dropped all other projects to concentrate on this site - as im pretty sure you know?

I know, not disputing that. As a balence I also change my 9 year olds nappy each day, he is big and strong and not too keen on the nappy changing. Somebody has to do it though and personally I think it is a really cool thing to do. Nobody pays me for it though. [For those still reading I find it easier to change said nappy while he is standing, may just be me but if it helps feel free to use].

The transition between a site for "love" and a site that pays the rent is a hard one, I don't envy you on that. All I'm saying is that not all sites make money, this may be one of them or not.

If I'm being brutally honest, and I hope you know this is said with love, I don't think the site is as good as it was a few months ago. Its easy to blame the thrust for money but I think its deeper than that. As my evil twin once said, being a dancing bear is not a great business model.

To sum up...being an innovative site may require innovative business models, as an example text hyphen link hyphen ads don't strike me as such! But I suppose that is your choice?

Addictive

Blogging is a wickedly nasty addictive habbit. When you hit the right subject, at the right time, and the hits keep coming, it's like a virtual orgasm. When it's gone though, you just keep thinking man that was good, what can I do to make that happen again ...

 

Quote:
I don't think the site is as good as it was a few months ago.

Then you'll have to tell me why, if im to be able to use this in any positive way :)

Blogs and Ads

I think the best thing about the cashkeywords deal was that it was done with knowledge of the product and audience. We all might like free cake but MrsMigginsCakeShoppe.com isn't going to get a lift in business doing the same deal :O)

she would

but she sells pies ;)

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