New labelling guidlines
Thursday, February 3rd, 2005
There have been questions about several sports adstrips running in parallel on larger nonsports blogs.
On the one hand, I don’t want to stifle experimentation and innovation. Lots of the blogosphere’s most interesting features come from stretched envelopes and burst expectations.
On the other, I’d like the Blogads.com order pages to provide transparent, apples-to-apples information that is useful to advertisers and Blogads staff as we prepare proposals. So I’ve drafted these guidelines for the information that appears, going forward, in Blogads.com order pages. [Stuff in brackets denotes new wording since original post.]
— any adstrip running on more than one blog should identify the blogs contributing to
our [the adstrip’s] traffic tally.
— labels like “Premium” should be used sparingly, either denoting exclusivity or ads priced at some multiple to “standard” ads on the same blog.
— if an adstrip is one of several posted in a blog’s HTML, the quantity of adstrips should be noted; something like, “the first of three adstrips,” or “third of five adstrips” or “middle left of six adstrips” or “one of many.” (From Blogads perspective, two or three adstrips per
page [blog] are easiest to understand and sell.)
— every adstrip should appear adjacent to content or functionality.
— adstrip names suggesting topicality should deliver audiences focused on those topics. If a blog’s focus changes, rename the adstrip.
— adstrips listed in our topic-specific pages should deliver audiences focused on the respective topics.
— one adstrip should not be posted multiple times on the same page.
— [other advertising should not appear in the column above blogadstrips.]
Any suggestions or critiques to these guidelines will be welcome, either in comments or by e-mail. It may be that we want to settle on the rubric of “describe your blog accurately and put ads beside content” and only split hairs when people ask for details.
I use “guidelines” because we can’t afford to spend a lot of time policing blogs. If adstrips don’t fit the spirit of the guidelines, we’ll do what I always suggest bloggers do when an ad is updated and bothers them — unpublish the item in question until its revised.
Call me a libertarian or anarchist or utopian, but I believe (or hope!) well-designed communities, like organisms, do well (or best?) with few rules. (See this fun article about Dutch roads without speed limits or stop signs.)
The lesson for me is that we need to continue to work on the infrastructure for our own marketplace. The order page is increasingly unwieldy and the current logjam is a sign of this. The key to growing the blogads network, both in number of blogs and advertisers served, is coming up with new ways of handline information and allowing the community of buyers and sellers to stay organized and functional. And we’re working hard on that technical infrastructure right now behind the scenes.
(Warning: my comment system is egregiously spammer unfriendly and requires registration before commenting. So e-mail if you like.)