A comment left on the thrilling Why Blog Networks Failed discussion sparked some interest in this mind of mine and I would like to dive a bit deeper into it.
I’m not sure which of you guys has the most sand in his vagina, but I suspect it is Mike Rundle.
At least we’re having a discussion about BUSINESS MODELS rather than ROUNDED CORNERS and associated bullshit.
Media buyers are still lazy, only vaguely get ‘the web’ (proof: they still buy page impressions), and major publishers are useless at targeting / segmenting.
Look no further than the slow-moving online ad industry if you want to look at why blog networks / bloggers (aka online publishers) aren’t doing amazingly well.
Now besides the fact this sounds like total resentment for not finding enough advertisers to monetize on your own sites, this shows something a bit deeper. It’s no secret that I don’t like the idea of having your sole revenue stream come from advertising. The problems are just too deep.
- Too much competition for ad dollars. How many sites out there are targetting the same audiences?
- Stats are scary. Unlike offline, on the online world you can actually get a pretty accurate measure of how many people are seeing your ads and what they are doing with them. Bad numbers equal no reason for people wishing to jump online quickly to advertise.
- Not enough respected online brands. There simply are not enough great online brands around. Sure you may like a site and visit it daily, but does it have a strong enough brand to even appeal to larger advertisers? This isn’t television where you know the sports brand is ESPN or the teenager/young adult brand is MTV. Online who represents the big brands?
- More ways to exit. With radio or television the only way to escape an ad was to change the channel/station or turn off the radio/television. Online though you can install adblockers, go to another website quickly or choose to simply skip the banner. The ads that try to get right in your face (interstitials) just piss people off.
It’s not that the online ad industry is moving slow, it’s that there is no real reason for them to make a big splash online. MySpace is the MTV brand, but who pays attention to those ads? The ones who put ads up there are doing so for pennies on the dollar. The fact is the online ad industry needs to get more creative with how they fit into the user’s experience on websites and much of that responsibility falls on the site owners so if anything I think it is safe to say the site owner industry is the one moving slow.
Too many site owners have this idea that they can create a site, find a spot to place ads and think advertisers will jump onboard. If life were only so easy.
Originally posted on February 23, 2007 @ 4:38 pm