We’ve been playing around with a couple of new tools in recent weeks. Both grow from our accelerating knowledge that blogs are fundamentally different from other websites and that, therefore, the best blogads will behave in ways unimagined by traditional advertisers.
One new tool is a simple list of some of the best blogads, a kind of library of best practices that we hope that advertisers and bloggers can refer to as they shove this medium forward. Here’s the blog advertising sandbox.
The second tool allows a blogger to create a mininetwork that pulls together their peer blogs in one convenient package for advertisers. Here’s the beta model, a bundling of options for New York advertising on blogs, a network of nearly 20 bloggers pulled together by Amy Langfield. Amy assembled the list and recruited the participants. Here’s a logo:
All of those bloggers pointing into that page should generate some orders, and it will also make it much easier for us to direct ads to that group, since many are too small to find and monitor as we’re putting together large ad proposals. This tool will be available to some other bloggers in coming days.
Some bloggers will obviously worry that by promoting advertising opportunities on other blogs they will cannibalize their own sales. Wrong. Smart bloggers small and large agree that the ONLY way to grab a significant chunk (0.1%!?) of the $250 billion spent annually on advertising in the US is to band together. What’s been true of blog content will also be true of blogads: a single blog is an easily ignored ant — 100,000 ants together is an unignorable hive.
Why have we created these two tools? Traditional advertising has amount to walking into a buzzing cocktail party and then suddenly, like an autistic sales drone, chanting the same five words over and over: “Buy my book, it’s great!” Or, if the ad campaign is really imaginative, it may say: “OUR BOOK IS GREAT, BUY IT!”
Do that and blog readers, like any community, will immediately turn their backs on you, unless they are really desparate for what you are peddling.
The idea is slowly emerging that smart blogads instead seek to quietly engage the community. Knopf’s recent ad for Hurakami is one example.
Today, new ads up for Pennsylvannia candidate Chuck Pennacchio push the idea in a different direction, offering up actual news, links to MP3s of a conference call between bloggers and the candidate. Finally, a real conversation between advertisers and the blogosphere!
We hope building the examples page should help accelerate learning so more advertisers adopt conversational strategies. And helping bloggers create their own networks should make it easier for advertisers to intelligently communicate with blogging communities.
We’re still elaborating on the very simple ideas articulated in the Cluetrain manifesto in April 1999: Cluetrain Manifesto:
Markets are conversations.
1) Markets consist of human beings, not demographic sectors.
2) Conversations among human beings sound human. They are conducted in a human voice.
3) Whether delivering information, opinions, perspectives, dissenting arguments or humorous asides, the human voice is typically open, natural, uncontrived.
4) People recognize each other as such from the sound of this voice.
5) The Internet is enabling conversations among human beings that were simply not possible in the era of mass media.
6) Hyperlinks subvert hierarchy.
7) In both internetworked markets and among intranetworked employees, people are speaking to each other in a powerful new way.
8) These networked conversations are enabling powerful new forms of social organization and knowledge exchange to emerge.
9) As a result, markets are getting smarter, more informed, more organized. Participation in a networked market changes people fundamentally.
10) People in networked markets have figured out that they get far better information and support from one another than from vendors. So much for corporate rhetoric about adding value to commoditized products. …
Keep watching this page. We’ve got some other ideas to nudge forward in coming weeks.