Blogads: advertising hand-delivered at light-speed
Tuesday, September 3rd, 2002
Congratulations to Bill Quick for selling the first Blogad for $32.
Some folk object to advertising in blogs for ideological reasons, arguing that blogs are meant for a higher, purer calling. Others say bloggers don’t have the requisite audience or commercial acumen.
First, society needs professional blogs. Journalism as we love it is being crushed by the vice grip of price/earnings. Journalism survives under a few old-school publishers, but everywhere else swarms of mediocre local monopolists, bleed-to-lead TV stations and Murdoch duopolies are killing the honorable fourth estate. Autonomous, dedicated, low-overhead bloggers can save
Second, logic demands professional blogs. Many print publications — with smaller and less influential readerships than a good blog’s — sell enough advertising to pay 20-person staffs. And every surface from newspapers to matchbooks to taxi doors to movie screens to telephone books to cellphone screens to stadiums has eventually found advertising underwriters. Why not blogs too?
Blogs offer advertisers and sponsors intimate contact with influential, passionate audiences. Blogs disintermediate gutless traditional media and offer greater value for money. Blogs articulate new demographics and new market metrics. (For more context, see my early Blogonomics post.)
The old media economics ‘ he who controls distribution wins the most eyeballs and serves advertisers best ‘ will soon be plowed under by a new economics ‘ she who relates best attracts the most valuable audience.
We hope to help make it happen. Blogads brings to advertising the simplicity, low-cost, power and atomic-level automony that tools like Antville, Blogger, Greymatter, MT, pMachine, and Userland deliver to editorial content.
Blogads work seamlessly in all blogforms. Each blogger can sell ads on her own site, setting her own prices, rhetoric and standards, approving or rejecting submissions. Advertisers can upload images, create mini-sites, invite comments and classify their ads. For readers, Blogads classify ads by affinity and commercial category, reducing search costs and boosting serendipitous contacts.
For buyer, seller and reader, Blogads deliver a new commercial kick in a few clicks.
So bloggers will get rich quick, right? No. Not any time soon. Bill’s sale notwithstanding, the money won’t gush tomorrow or next month or even this year.
It took nearly 200 years to advance from the invention of the movable type printing press to the publication of the first newspaper. Nearly a decade passed after the web was spun before the blogging culture bloomed. And the dream of harnessing advertising to personal publishing has been pursued for many months by people like Matt Haughey, Rusty Foster, Dan Chan, Arnab Nandi, Evan Williams, and Pud.
Technology isn’t the challenge. The tools exist. What does not exist yet is the right words and ideas.
We need to invent a new mentality, carve a new space in the crowded minds of advertisers and consumers, articulate new values.
As with previous new medias, Blogads need new metrics, benchmarks, rhetoric and business logic.
Blogads need people experimenting with advertising content and forms, seducing advertisers, thinking in new directions, discovering weird new businesses that will benefit from the Blogad’s unique simplicity and audience grip.
Blog readers need to see the blog-advertiser not as another PR-geyser, but as an ally, a comrade, somebody who has invested in a mind-set they care about.
I’m not worried. It will happen. Bloggers are the ultimate intellectual entrepreneurs, history’s largest and most powerful class of autonomous scribes. Blog passion, inventiveness and audience-grip guarantee that this medium will detonate a new commercial universe.
Sign on to sell your own Blogads if you have patience. Sign on if you are willing to wait months for paying advertisers and, in the meantime, prime your adstrip with interesting, humorous commerical content — your friend’s gig, your aunt’s e-Bay auction, your son’s scout troop’s spaghetti supper. Put up affiliate links to books you love. Put up free links to charities. Link to great businesses whose ideas you want to boost. Experiment, see what works. Woo advertisers with brilliant tales.
And if you aren’t ready to invent Blogads and prefer to watch, please do click a Blogad and remember that the advertiser supports something you value.
(9/04/02 Matt Welch sold a Blogad on his site before his adstrip was even live. The ad promotes an e-book that costs $3.95 — a great product/price point for Blogads. The advertiser must be a regular reader of Matt’s blog, because he punches reader hot buttons like he’s Casius Clay. Elsewhere, Heath Row notes that since he’s got a fulltime job, his blog will remain a Blogadless labor of love. Still, “Blogads could very well become the tail that wags the blog dog, just like with most media,” he writes.) Rick Bruner thinks hard, declares “By jove, I think it just might work!” and buys an ad. (Look left.) Smart, personality-based marketing for the blogosphere. Thank you Rick!)