Posts from March 13, 2005

Open-source ad tags calls: Followup

Open-source ad tags calls: Followup

: A few notes on my call for an open-source ad tag:

: I called them open-source ad tags because that’s common media jargon now. But the word “tag” is so loaded with flickers of Flickr that I think it’s a misnomer. This is really just about putting a call (an include) on a page to insert an ad, with data about the opportunity attached. So how about “open-source ad call”?

: Amy Langfield sent email letting me know that BlogAds’ Henry Copeland has started some specialized ad networks. [I can hear Henry growing: If you’d call once in awhile, Jarvis, you wouldn’t have to hear these things second-hand. But more on that in a minute.]

Blogads now has a specialized network for New York blogs and another growing network for gay blogs. Each is just a start but a great start.

Advertisers will want to buy networks of similar blogs to get to a critical mass of audience that’s worth their effort. This means that being part of a network beats selling ads alone.

When other folks have asked me how I think they should start such ad networks, I’ve sent them to Henry and I’m delighted he’s starting them.

: I want to make sure I’m clear on one point about my open-source ad call notion: This does not in any way replace existing networks — BlogAds, Burst, etc. Instead, I hope it would send more business their way.

Let’s say you’re a New York blogger in the BlogAds New York network but you also write about travel (hello: Amy) and along comes an advertiser wanting East Coast blogs about travel. Let’s say the advertiser wants 100 of them and there’s no established network, like the New York one, that already exists and, besides, the advertiser wants to pick the blogs on a number of criteria (traffick, topics, location, Technorati authority, and so on). The idea is that with an open-source call, you could join that network through the BlogAds network; it simply makes you eligible for more (and if they’re properly targeted, better) ads.

Sitting out there on your own and trying to sell ads on your lone weblog won’t work. Handing over space to Google AdWords will get some revenue — but on the lowest rung of the value chain. It’s far better to join a BlogAds or a Burst. And it’s better yet to also be able to join in ad hoc quality blog networks agencies, advertisers, and media companies could put together … if there were a standard, open-source ad call.

See the post below for more.

: Fred Wilson likens the open-source ad call to sell-side advertising. Not to quibble, but they’re actually two different things:

In sell-side advertising, the advertiser puts an ad out on the web and publishers (bloggers, media companies) select the ads to place on their sites and they get paid only if the ads perform with clicks. In this case, the publishers are selecting the ads.

In open-source ad calls, the publisher (blogger, media company) makes an ad space available to advertisers (or their agencies). In this case, the advertisers are selecting the publishers’ sites.

What open-source ad calls allow is for advertisers, agencies, and media companies to put together selected, quality ad hoc (which is to say temporary) networks of sites based on any number of criteria (data that will be associated with the site and its ad call).

I know from meeting with advertisers in my BlogBoy routine that they want to do just that, only the means don’t fully exist today to allow it. And that means we’re leaving money on the table, as they say.

: Searchviews says there’s a danger of spam. Well, in life today, there’s always a danger of spam. But I’m not so sure that’s a killer problem here for two reasons:

First, in either sell-side advertising or with open-source ad calls, I imagine that most advertising will pay only on a performance basis. The fraud, in that case, is about manufacturing clicks, but that’s a different problem.

Second, I would bet that most of these ad hoc networks using open-source ad calls would be put together manually by agencies and media companies wanting to offer advertisers “safe” and “relevant” networks. So you could spam and say you have a site about great art. But when it turns out to be tattoo art, someone will see it.

: Susan Mernit also weighs in. See also AdJab.

: Mark Pincus has a not-unrelated concept about open-source people tags.

: Finally, if I do all this speculating about ads on blogs, how come I don’t have them? I’m lazy and disorganized and I have a day job. I was also going to redesign the site first, but I’ll get around to that sometime after I clean out my in-box and my car.

But I do realize that to learn about how this really works, I need to start taking ads. So I’m about to sign up for BlogAds [yes, Henry, I’ll call!] and I’ll experiment with others (Burst, AdSense, Kanoodle, FeedDirrect RSS ads [full disclosure: I’m on the Moreover board and Moreover is behind FeedDirect]).

Just one question: I have no idea what to charge. I once accused Glenn Reynolds of devaluing the CPM for all of citizens’ media, but it appears on that he has raised his rates. I’m curious whether anyone has analyzed existing rates on citizens’ media ads.

The news gap

The news gap

: Following up on the cable-news discussion in the Maher post below… Broadcasting & Cable analyzes some Tyndall Report data to find a huge gulf between the kinds of stories on cable news and those on network news shows. This stands to reason — one crams the world today into 18 minutes, the other fills 24 hours — but it’s striking nonetheless.

TV news has developed a split personality

One lock at a time

One lock at a time

: PubliusPundit — a new favorite blog in this era of spreading freedom — reports that Egypt’s opposition leader has been freed. BigPharoah has great coverage.

The Maher report

The Maher report

: On his Friday show, Bill Maher went after cable news for its news judgment this week:

“Yesterday was just Michael Jackson and today was just some nut in Atlanta,” he said. Neither was a big story, he argued, both were bull. The news networks “have as much to do with news as MTV has with showing videos.”

The competitive overkill on both stories this week was, well, striking. Once one did it, they all did it, afraid to be the one who didn’t do it. That’s the flipside of a competitive media landscape, eh?

Of course, I was part of that festival myself: I gave blog reports about Michael Jackson. Yet I also got to read from blogs that were critical of this very overkill; I got to say that the blogs — the people — were much less interested in Jackson than the nets were.

Mere rationalization? you say. Well, of course, it is. I confess my sin and I will say 10 our Murrows in penance.

But it is notable, I think, that by including comments from citizens’ media inside big media, there is an opportunity to sometimes hear that small dissenting voice or at least a different viewpoint. So I read David Weinberger, who eloquently mocked the journalists taking part in this OD and called it “outlandish pandering;” I said that was a challenge to us there. And no one objected to me saying that. I said it again the next morning when I taped another such segment and read more such criticism (there was plenty of it in blogs) along with other posts that said other things, most funny, a few serious. But — sweet irony — that segment was preempted by the next day’s obsession, the Atlanta story. Here’s more irony for you: The day before, I was set to do a segment on the OD du jour, Dan Rather, but that was preempted by Jackson.

Apart from the tawdry context, I do find it interesting that the sudden and healthy interest in blogs by networks is really about letting the voice of one medium inside another and that will yield diverse viewpoints and sometimes criticism. I think that’s a good thing.

Oh, by the way, the one person on Maher’s show who defended the coverage of Jackson was Andrew Breitbart. His ID: a contributor to Drudge.

: Separately on Maher…. Bill delighted in playing against the party line at every opportunity this week.

He said that private accounts for Social Security might be a good idea since the return on the invesment in Social Security is so crappy.

And then there was discussion of the good news coming out of the Middle East, the democracy spreading in waves or ripples all over, and the fatwa against bin Laden.

“The revolution has started,” Maher said. “Is there any turning back?”

Irshad Manji, the author of the wonderful Trouble with Islam Today, agreed: “I actually think the world has turned, the Islamic world…. Since the purple finger of Iraq, more and more liberal voices are being heard.”

Maher quotes someone saying that the fact that Bush — like Reagan before him — had so little knowledge of foreign affairs turns out to be an advantage, for he can dream up a world no one else dares imagine. A backhanded compliment but a compliment from Maher nonetheless.

Last week, Maher drove me nuts, among other things, pushing his Why They Hate Us Pavilion idea on, of all people, the brother of a victim of 9/11. This week, he says: “The answer to why they hate is not that we intervened too much, but too little.”

Richard Belzer tried to argue the old antiwar line — saying that the Muslim world has 7,000 years on us and we can’t “shove democracy down their throats” — but no one agrees with him; the audience doesn’t even cheer the way they do. Manji the Canadian lesbian Muslim journalist goes after him: “You are such a paroduct of the culture of instant gratification in America … If you don’t have freedom tomorrow then obviously it’s a big, old failure.”

A tide has turned.

: Playing against type remains the theme for the night: Maher sounds like an old church lady complaining that “we’ve lost the thread back to what is good and decent.”

And the comes Camille Paglia stunning the panel with her rave review for The Bachelorette.

: Maher, of course, delights in the unexpected… until the unexpected is expected.