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Archive for January, 2004

Does political blog advertising work?

by henrycopeland
Friday, January 30th, 2004

Jerome Armstrong , who handled the Dean Blogads purchases, had an interesting comment in today’s Online Journalism Review. “Campaigns are not evolutionary models. They’re what works now and will get us through the next election. Institutional memory skips every four years, so there’s a lag time on innovation. As far as big purchases that really make an impact — we’re not there. We’re able to push the envelope to do some of this, but I don’t have nearly the resources as the people doing television ads.” I definitely got this sense from talking to Jerome when he was buying Blogads for Dean.

Well, I guess maybe the innovation is going to happen in the Congressional races, where the campaign is perpetual. A couple of days ago, I heard from Mark Nickolas, campaign manager for Democrat Ben Chandler, who is running for Congress in Kentucky in a special election. Impressed by the political heat blogs are throwing off, Nickolas had decided to divert some cash from radio spots to blog advertising. After we talked, he bumped his blogad budget up 40%. His aim was to learn something, and hopefully cover the cost of his campaign.

The ads started running Friday. That afternoon, heard from Nickolas. Nickolas said the campaign had already covered the cost of the ad buy. At that point, the ad is not yet even running on 1/3 of the buy. Earlier today the campaign treasurer called Nickolas on his mobile, saying “Get in here. We must have some kind of bug. We’ve gotten 5 online contributions in the last three minutes ending in 18 cents.” After a little poking around, Nickolas figured out that the gush of $X.18 was coming from Atrios’ post suggesting that if his readers gave, they should tack on 18 cents so the contributions were identifiable.

I asked Nickolas if this information could be repeated by e-mail or blog and he said, “sure, we’re thrilled.”

The indispensable political blog

by henrycopeland
Friday, January 30th, 2004

Just found myself quoting this AP article about political blogs in an e-mail to an advertiser, and realized I’d failed to blog the memorable lines. “Web journals like Joshua Marshall’s have become indispensable this campaign season: They mobilize supporters, question traditional media coverage and feed the insatiable appetites of political junkies.” And then this classic: “Larry Purpuro, coordinator of the Republicans’ e.GOP Project in 2000, said many bloggers were little more than ‘armchair analysts in their bathrobes (with) no serious interest in leaving their living rooms to actually help the campaigns.'” The headline? “The indispensable political blog.”


by henrycopeland
Thursday, January 29th, 2004

It’s rare that I’m an early adopter. Of course, I got in early on Blogads, but I still don’t own an iPod or digital camera or GPS. So I’m proud to have gotten in early on Furl. Ck it out.

New server…

by henrycopeland
Tuesday, January 27th, 2004

Appears that condor, the server caching blogads, is being swamped by New Hampshire primary traffic. We originally planned to bring on a new server Friday to absorb projected load, but will accelerate launch to tomorrow morning. The new server will be named “sparrow” — fast and lite-feeding.

The good news, for tonight, is that Americans on the East coast are going home, which usually drops blog readership. Usually. We’ll see.

Update 7.24AM The sparrow if flying happily. Tamas and Csaba have reconfigured so that even at three times yesterday’s load, adstrips will serve fast. Now we’ll start planning for what comes after 3 X growth… in a few weeks?

Update 2.53PM Kill one bottleneck and find another! All images are being served swiftly now after some load balancing this morning. Have just rented one more server to absorb any over-flow from these bubbly primaries.

Web populism

by henrycopeland
Tuesday, January 27th, 2004

Up to the minute coverage from New Hampshire: Jerome Armstrong.

The federal budget as a pile of oreos.

Glenn Reynolds, a mild-mannered law professor in Knoxville, opens the latest Wired magazine and finds himself dubbed an “Internet rock star.”

Newspapers blog? Naaa

by henrycopeland
Monday, January 26th, 2004

Last week, Newspaper Association of America threw a blog at its annual Internet convention and nobody came.

The Poynter institute asks:

So why didn’t it work? Were all attendees just too busy? Isn’t it rewarding enough any more to get your voice heard? Are we transforming into a bunch of lurkers who prefer to profit from the work of others but aren’t willing to get involved ourselves? Or are we already at a turn of the life-circle of the blogging phenomenon, where this will become more and more a professional business and the vast majority of people will look for a new tool? [Via Buzzmachine]

I’ve done a lot of puzzling about what makes blogs BUZZ while newspapers just gargle.

Voice? Blogrolling? Simplicity? Authenticity? Speed of delivery? Brainstorming? All of these help.

But can these factors full explain why a blog post by Josh Marshall or Atrios or Glenn Reynolds gets 100 times more readers than an article written by an individual employed by NYTimes.com?

Then, commmenting last week on Welch’s blog, it hit me. Enemies.

Trying to economize to take advantage of the telegraph and pool copy via the Associated Press, newspapers neutered themselves by impartializing their articles. (You’ve heard how partisan AND popular newspapers were 100 years ago, right? It’s been downhill ever since.)

Most communities are forged as much by antagonism to others as by fraternity with peers. To create and sustain themselves, NY needs NJ, the Red Sox need the Yankees, Yale needs Harvard, North needs South, Democrats need Republicans… ad infinitum.

Blogs, which are blatantly and joyously partisan, can actually get into dialogs and debate. And it is partisan debate that drives traffic and passion and community… the wonders of blogging.

And I don’t think any newspaper or, frankly, any top-down VC-funded friendship-linkster tinkertoy is going to match the blogging’s magical partisanship either.

Update: Steve Outing points out that the Poynter post I cite above was written by Katja Riefler, and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Poynter Institute.

La network effect

by henrycopeland
Monday, January 26th, 2004

My buddy Matt Welch writes a long and empassioned plea for bloggers to start selling Blogads titled “Hey Bloggers — Especially You Popular Political Types — Why the Hell Don’t You Accept BlogAds?” He notes that he makes roughly 36 times more from Blogads than from his tipjar. And he makes a ringing call for an LA Blogad network:

The more participating blogs from Los Angeles, the easier it is for advertisers to make a useful, targeted group buy (and therefore pay me more money!). This also works for subjects — media, baseball analysis, DIY music, whatever. If Cathy Seipp and Nancy Rommelmann and Kevin Roderick would spend the five minutes necessary to join the BlogAds network, the SoCal/media BlogAd buy would be exponentially more attractive. I guess they don’t need any extra money’.

Now, we should get all those LA bloggers to point to this page with Los Angeles blog advertising venues.

BTW, I didn’t get to listen to the NPR’s “blogging of the president” show last night. Did any of the brilliant but self-effacing bloggers on the show mention that they sell the web’s cheapest-most-effective advertising… or is mentioning commerce Not Done on NRP?


by henrycopeland
Sunday, January 25th, 2004

Favorite spam subject field of the day: “Re: connotative”

New blog advertisers

by henrycopeland
Friday, January 23rd, 2004

A big thank you to Ed Cone and David Weinberger for encouraging the folks at O’Reilly to advertise on blogs their Digital Democracy Teach-in.

Anybody else out there who has a buddy who needs to rally support for a good cause or publicize something intellectually stimulating or just sell some funny T-shirts, please tell them about blog advertising. It will be good for your buddy and bloggers. Meanwhile, send your enemies here or here.

Josh feasts on Edwards

by henrycopeland
Thursday, January 22nd, 2004

Josh Marshall hears James Carville say John Edwards is the world’s best stump speaker, so he goes to see Edwards speak. “For most of the time Edwards was doing his presentation, putting on his show, I hadn’t the slightest question what Carville was talking about. While I was watching, in the moment, that is, I also didn’t have much question that Edwards would be the eventual nominee. He’s that good. His comfort level with a crowd, his ability to roll with and into their moods and reactions, and his ability to craft his talk into a resonant story (a narrative, as we used to say) is simply light years beyond what Kerry or Clark can manage. (Dean is sort of in a whole different category — he tries for something different.) He’s down-to-earth, gesticulating all over the place, with folksy aphorisms and punch lines all put in the right spots, but in an unforced, uncontrived matter. He’s funny and folksy, in a campaign sort of way.”

Despite the feast, Josh is hungry later.

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