Atrios explores the link between Congressional elections and blog advertising. He’s right that few candidates will match Chandler’s 50-fold return on blog advertising. He writes: “I do think that there are a lot of campaigns out there who will be able to make Blogs work for them, but it’s going to take a bit more than simply placing ads. If everyone jumps on the ad-placing bandwagon, and then they sit back and wait for the money to roll in, then I’ll get a nice fat check from Blogads but it won’t necessarily do much for the campaigns.” He observers: “The key thing blogs provide is a way to personalize your campaign. Aside from getting the attention of the bloggers themselves, I think ads get a positive reaction from blog readers because they perceive that the campaigns take this seriously. And, then, when they click through the website they want to see something more than just a standard impersonal campaign website which is rarely updated. Nobody thinks that twenty bucks buys them face time with a candidate, but people donate because they think their twenty bucks is being bundled with a hundred other peoples’, and suddenly that makes them part of an interest group which, collectively, wants to feel it’s being heard.”
It’s worth remembering that when Chandler’s campaign manager, Mark Nickolas, originally talked to me about Blogads, he hoped to break even. I secretly thought he could do more than that, but didn’t want to overpromise. The big test for campaigns will be in their willingness to tweak both their ads and their landing pages. Too often, in the bustle of the campaign, ads become frozen in time. Making a new pitch can hit a whole new slice of a blog’s readership.
BTW, a colleague in Budapest sent a translated version of the Wire News article about Chandler’s blogads that had shown up in the newsletter of the Hungarian Információs Társadalom- és Trendkutató Központ. .