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30 September 2005

The Trillion Dollar Homepage. Not quite!!

Alex Tew who set up his Million dollar homepage in early September draws a striking paralell to the early pioneers of the Klondike gold rush. The story of the Klondike is fascinating and anybody with a passing interest in economics and social trends should read up on the details. In summary the story goes that a couple of chaps "struck gold in them there hills" made a fortune, and more importantly became the celebrities of their day, enjoying seismic newspaper headlines. The result was a stampede of naive prospectors. Unfortunately, the thousands who followed largely found nothing but squalid conditions and death on the infamous Chilkoot Pass. Enough of the history lesson already!
The point is that these imitations will probably find limited success, although I had to laugh at seeing a post on Adjab for the $10 million dollar homepage. Will it be long before we see the billion dollar homepage or the trillion dollar homepage!! Come on guys use some imagination please.
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New Adsense Electronic Transfer of Funds - About Time To!!

According to Jensense Adsense's long awaited Electronic Transfer of Funds (EFT) has come out of Beta. Say goodbye to snail mail cheques and hello to an easy life!

29 September 2005

Blog Advertising Gives Value For Money

Interesting post from Marketer Today which highlights how blog advertising can be value for money.
Marketer Today mentioned two success stories:
  1. "A campaign strategy that the CEO of GMD Studios ran for Audi, titled "The Art of the Heist" spent one-half of one percent of their media buy budget on BlogAds. Those ads selling space on some of the highest-trafficked blogs ended up accounting for 29 percent of the traffic sent to the campaign's landing page. "
  2. "Another illustration of blog success lies in the Xanga’s “advergame” campaign garnering 250,000 posts containing the game, and 3 million interactions with the game."

Blog Advertising Survey by Qumana

I can't see much information about who took part in this Qumana survey and therefore I am a little sceptical of it's content, but it's worth a look nonetheless. Not surprisingly Adsense was the most popular ad program.

Fastclick Ads Could be Worth Considering

The feedback seems to be generally positive although you'll need to be generating more than 3000 impression a month to join. If you're running Adsense and want to try Fastclick then just be aware of your TOS, in particular running ads that look similar to those of Adsense.

28 September 2005

Blog Boom or Bust

A Reuters article entitled "Has the blog phenomenon been blown out of proportion?" (via Adpulp) seems to take a dim view of blog infiltration into the wider UK population. It claims that "in a survey of British taxi drivers, pub landlords and hairdressers nearly 90% had no idea what a podcast is and more than 70% had never heard of blogging." These professions are often seen as a barometer of popular trends and even economic activity, which should make this survey highly relevant? Well not quite.
Whilst this offers an interesting perspective, there are a few points to bear in mind:
1. Yes there is always a habit of getting ahead of ourselves when a new technology appears. The internet and the subsequent bubble is a case in point. The fact that the internet is still here and has revolutionised the world is a compelling paralell to blogging, even if they maybe of a different magnitude.
2. The survey fails to recognise that there may well be an unseen osmosis of information from customer to service provider. For instance, I was in a taxi only yesterday and the driver happened to ask me my opinion of the new ipod nano he had just purchased, I nodded in admiration but mentioned reading various worrying reviews. The taxi driver did not ask where I had gleaned this information from, taking my words at face value. In fact, I recalled later in the day that the reviews I had seen were in fact from blogs. This is obviously a microcosm, but how many others are relaying information about products or services in the same way? This is where the survey completely misses the point.
3. Interestingly the survey was conducted by the DDB agency a unit of New York based advertising group Omnicom. Coincidentally they specialise in conventional mass media, so absolutely no hidden agenda there whatsoever!!

27 September 2005

Blogs Trusted by Consumers

A recent survey quoted on seems to indicate that UK consumers see blogs as a reliable source of guidance for products and services. The survey found the following:
  • 75% of shoppers consulted blogs.
  • Shoppers trust blogs because they are written by real people, drawing on personal experiences.
  • Blogs could soon rival other media for information on products and services.
  • 83% of those in the 25-34 age group were likely to let opinions on blogs influence what they bought.
Paul Halfpenny, product manager at survey sponsor Hostway is quoted on as saying "Consumers are tired of marketing gloss and so the interest in blogs is not surprising. We all want impartial advice and information, as far as consumers are concerned blogs deliver this," (Via A time to reflect)

Business Blogging Survey

According to Adrants the Guidewire Group (Organiser of the BlogOn conference) has joined up with content management company iUpload to survey businesses on corporate blogging and blogging strategy. It will be interesting to see what they come up with.

Blocking Unwanted Ads in Adsense

A post at REvenews suggests that the elevated limit of blocked urls (to 500) in Adsense, should almost eradicate unwanted ads.
REvenews further suggest culling the lower value ads to maximise revenue. This tactic is a little bit contentious as you maybe inadvertantly blocking highly relevant and optimised ads. Google have also voiced their concerns in a recent post at Inside Adsense, but then I suppose they would do, wouldn't they!!

Online Ad Figures Mean Good News For Blogs

According to a ZDNet article via Search Engine Watch Forums, the Interactive Advertising Bureau have annouced online ad figures for the first half of 2005:
"As of June, advertisers had spent $5.8 billion to place ads online this year, a 26 percent increase compared with the first six months of 2004, according to a new report. Overall, search ads accounted for 40 percent of Internet ad sales, in line with last year, the group said. Banner ads and classified listings were the next-biggest ad categories, attracting 20 percent and 18 percent of the spending, respectively."
This IAB news release offers more detail. The complete report will be available via the IAB web site next week.

26 September 2005

Adverts on Flickr Cause a Stir

According to Adrants - Yahoo have begun using their recent purchase of Flickr to insert ads onto subcriber's personal pages. No surprise there then! By all accounts it's causing a bit of stir amongst Flickr members, although I can't see they have much to complain about considering the service is free.

MSN Paid-Search Launched in France and Singapore

According to the New York Times Microsoft have announced the launch of it's very own ad service in France and Singapore. It has been imaginatively named MSN adCenter and MSN Keywords. According to Danny Sullivan and reported in the New York Times "They will definitely raise the bar on what Google and Yahoo have to provide." U.S. testing of adCenter is set to begin in October.

The Microsoft Press Release confirms that the new service will make it easier for advertisers to optimize their campaigns and reach a specific audience. The service is reported to include the following tools:

•Keyword Selection allows advertisers to indicate whom they want to reach based on geographic location, gender, age range, time of day and day of week, and suggests keywords based on the desired audience.

•Site Analyzer assists advertisers by suggesting keywords based on the content of their Web site.

•Audience Profiler provides advertisers with an expected profile of those customers who are most likely to search for specific keywords.

•Cost Estimator helps advertisers remain within their budget by estimating rank, traffic and cost per month per keyword.

•Campaign Optimization allows advertisers to respond quickly and decisively throughout the campaign to easily refine budget allocations and keywords, as well as apply targeting filters such as geographic, demographic and dayparting.

•Post Sales Audience Intelligence & Reporting provides advertisers with detailed reports on campaign performance and audiences reached including click-through rate, estimated position and spending levels.

(Via Paid Content)

23 September 2005

What Are Some Blogs About?

Ads On Blogs is currently compiling some pretty interesting research which will be ready for release in the next week or so. It should make interesting reading and may even put a few noses out of joint! Can't say much more than that at the moment.
However, I thought it might be worth raising a gripe I have encountered during the course of visiting literally thousands of blogs. The gripe is this - What are some blogs about?
I have pitched up to so many supposed A-list blogs and wondered what is meant to be the theme here? Where's the explanation for what this blog stands for? If there is an explanation it's quite often tucked away or full of self congratulatory techno blather. Give me a simple synopsis of a few words and I'd be happy. Whether these blogs are aiming for a subliminal experience of discovery I don't know. What I do know is that most people are time precious and want to know what a blog is about within seconds of landing on a home page.
Obviously I hope there's no confusion about what Ads On Blogs deals with. I know we drift slightly off topic sometimes but the clue is in the title!!

Explosion in Readership Spells Good News For Blog Advertising

Some interesting info from Business Blog Insight on the explosion of blog readership which should be music to the ears of advertisers and bloggers alike.
"Internet Tracking results indicated in the first quarter of 2005 nearly 50 million blog readers a 45% increase since Q1 2004. " The interesting part for advertisers is that these readers predominantly comprise affluent Americans earning in excess of $70K and above.
According to Business Blog Insight there are some other juicy marketing facts released in the ComScore Blog Report
1. Blog visitors are 11 percent more likely than the average Internet user to have incomes of $75,000 or more.
2. Blog visitors are 30 percent more likely than the average Internet user to live in households where the household head is 18 to 34 years old.
3. Blog visitors are 11 percent more likely to access the Internet (from either home or work) using a broadband connection.

Will Blogs Make The Press Release Redundant?

Interesting post at Search Engine Journal on how blogs are becoming the tool of choice in manipulating PR exposure.
E.g: "Yahoo has taken a more intimate approach to announcing new product offerings from Yahoo Mail, Yahoo Search and Y Search Marketing on the Yahoo Search Blog" The beauty of this blog in particular is that it allows interaction between reader and publisher, something that is becoming increasingly restricted on some of the bigger blogs.
Others who have joined the bandwagon are Ask Jeeves Blog and MSN Search’s WebLog often using the blog as an alternative to a standard press release.
Personally I am finding the utilistaion of blogs in PR, marketing and advertising fascinating. Developments seem to be occurring at break neck speed and I'm holding on for the ride!!

Blogger Tool For Adsense

Problogger picked up on a new Blogger tool for adding and blending Adsense into your template. It also allows users to preview before going live with their ads. For further info see Blogger Help : How do I put AdSense on my blog?

Maximise Your Blog Advertising Revenues

If you're interested in maximising your blog advertising revenues it might be worth considering some of the new gizmos Google have in their toolbox.
1. Recognize traffic trends on your site with Urchin.
2. Have some video content with Google Video.
3. Embed Google's interactive maps using Google Maps API into your web pages with JavaScript.
4. Help people discover more of your web pages with Google Sitemaps. Which apparently helps improve your site’s representation in the Google index.
For further info on Google's growing list of gizmos take a look at the publisher tools site.

22 September 2005

Business Week Wins Best Google Blog Search Review

If you want to read a nice succinct review of Google's Blog Search go no further than this one by Stephen Baker at Business Week. It pretty much encapsulates all the pluses and minuses without the reems of techno jargon I've seen on other sites. (Via Micro Persuasion)

Million Dollar Blog Advertising

They say the simplest ideas are the best and they don't come any simpler than this one. According to Problogger a young enterprising guy in the UK has set up a blog entitled the Million dollar Home Page in an attempt to raise some money for his university tuition.
Quite simply you buy advertising on his home page in 100 pixel blocks at $100 each. $74,000 dollars worth of pixels have already been purchased out of the million available. Judging by his blog the growth in traffic has been phenomenal and a little tricky to cope with.
Personally I think Darren Rowse of Problogger ought to consider this guy as a guest contributer to the "six figure blogging course"! Alternatively he should consider setting up his own course named "six figure blogging in six weeks"!!!

Targeting High Value Adsense

If you're struggling with your Adsense revenues it maybe worth considering which ads are the most valuable. But how do you target higher value ads ?
Diane Massy confirms in her recent post that "there is no information provided by Google on what advertisiers are paying", but suggests using the Overture/Yahoo pricing tool as a comparison. She explains "Type in a keyword or phrase and the tool lists the advertisers using that word and how much they have paid."
Using this information as a guide to what's going on at Google can enable some subtle tweaking of your blog to accomodate words that attract the higher value ads. I guess the health warning with this is that you shouldn't implement this strategy at the expense of your content. As with SEO it's all about striking a balance.

21 September 2005

Blog Drives Business at English Cut

As we reported in our business blog success stories on the 15th September - English Cut is making waves and a mention in the New York Times to boot!
Specialising in bespoke tailored suits for the rich and famous including Prince Charles, Bryan Ferry and Graydon Carter, English Cut had some pretty good material (Apologies for the pun) from which to create a business blog.

The content targets a high value niche and is rapidly creating a bit of a buzz around the art of bespoke tailoring. This strikes me as such an excellent example of how to utilise the power of blogs in promoting a business. It's subtle and easygoing with a refreshingly uncluttered feel.

Check out his most recent posts which are really quite fascinating:

1. Savile Row Who's Who. A brief introduction to the famous firms on Savile Row, so the first time you walk down it, you won't feel a complete stranger.

2. How To Spot A Drunken Tailor. The pubs around Savile Row that the tailors all frequent.

3. In Manhattan. Every three months, I visit my customers in America. This article explains the nuts and bolts of how Savile Row tailors generally operate on the other side of the pond. [NB: details of my next U.S. visit in October are here.

4. Why Use Thomas? What you're getting if you decide to have me as your tailor, as opposed to the other wonderful firms on the Row.

5. How To Draft A Pattern. Every bespoke Savile Row customer will have his suit cut from a unique individual cutting pattern, hand-drafted by his tailor. This article lists the three main techniques used on Savile Row, including "Rock Of Eye", which is my specialty.

6. The Three Main Fittings. A guide to the Skeletal Baste, the Forward, and the Finish Bar Finish i.e. the 3 main fittings needed for a Savile Row suit.

7. What If You Only Have £200? Classic tailoring on a limited budget: my advice.

8. Worsteds And Super Numbers. An article about the basic cloths used in Savile Row tailoring.

9. Mr. Cameron. An article about one of the greatest tailors of all time, the man who taught my teacher, Dennis Halberry, back at Anderson & Sheppard.

10. Mr. Sheppard's Shears. The story behind my pair of cutting shears.

I can only congratulate Mr Mahon on what is a wonderfully innovative blog topic and wish him further success in the future.

BBC Using Contextual Ad Headlines in RSS Feeds

According to Brian Morrissey of Adweek the BBC is launching a marketing campaign that streams headlines into RSS banner ads. The campaign will focus on the, Washington Post and various entertainment sites which will incorporate contextual BBC headlines as ad units.
Alan Booth controller of marketing at the BBC is quoted in Adweek as saying "Simply having a good message isn't good enough. We feel they're more likely to click through on headlines than if we just had a great slogan or piece of creative."
Gavin Marshall of Agency Republic who is running the BBC account is quoted as saying " already receives 50 percent of its visitors from the United States, with potential for growing that audience, particularly with foreign affairs at the top of the national agenda."
(Story via Micropersuasion)

20 September 2005

Alternative Contextual Advertising

If you're thinking about alternatives to Google and Yahoo's contextual advertising then you may want to consider Kontera. According to Revenews Kontera uses Adlinks instead of Ad units. These Adlinks "highlight particular words already in a publisher’s text and present ads in a floating tool tip, only when a user mouses over." This strikes me as an excellent way to minimize clutter on your web pages while maximising relevancy to content.
Joel Comm of Revenews has experimented with Kontera and has found revenues to be encouraging, although there seems to be some ambiguity about whether Adlinks on the same page as Adsense are in breach of Google's TOS.

18 September 2005

Blog Advertising Used to Promote TV

According to Marketer Today there have been reports of TV executives either utilising or considering to utilise blog advertising. VH1, TBS, and PBS are believed to have already experimented with advertising on various blogs to promote upcoming television programs.
A PBS publicist is reported to have said "There aren't a lot of places where you can spend $1500 - $5000 and get that much exposure and to such a targeted audience."
Marketer Today noted "A week of the most expensive ad space, the premium spot on Daily Kos, a weblog with political analysis from a liberal perspective, costs $5,000; in a recent week the site received more than 5 million visitors."
Given the attractive demographic of blog readers and relatively low cost of advertising inventory it seems likely that other networks will follow suit.

16 September 2005

Blog Ad Revenues Down in August

According to Blog Herald - BlogAds has experienced a down turn in ad revenues for the month of August.
BlogAds have circualted a note to publishers confirming that revenues should be back on track by Autumn.

Juicy Fruit Blog Isn't All Bad

Ever since Wrigley released their promotional Juicy Fruit blog there have been any number of commentators cueing up to criticise it. I think they have missed the point.
Quite simply it caused a talking point and as such attracted a lot of attention to the brand. For example, I have not thought about buying juicy fruit since my childhood but I recently found myself checking out the different varieties at the local convenience store.
I guess it maybe a question of "all publicity is good publicity" and that's what I suspect the clever marketers at juicy fruit were trying to achieve.
Check out some of the comment in the blogosphere:
Adpulp headline with Juicy Fruit "Blog" Lacks Flavor "like several brands before it is taking a beating in the bloatosphere for their psuedo blog."
Random Culture "This is why we talk about not every business needing a blog because if done improperly you will get some major backlash like the Juicy Fruit folks are receiving right now. What makes this silly is that if they replaced the world "blog" with something else on their site then there would be no complaining." (via Adpulp)

15 September 2005

Business Blog Success Stories

Stuart Bruce of UK based PR firm Bruce Marshall Associates has highlighted some interesting business blogs which have succeeded in driving sales in diverse industries such as soap, wine and even signage.
They include from the UK:
English Cut - Thomas Mahon - Saville Row tailor.
Eie Flud - Soap blog.
Isabella Oliver - Stylish maternity clothes.
The Tin Basher - Butler Sheet Metal which has apparently increased turnover by 35% to 45% as a result of starting it's blog.
Stormhoek - A new South African wine being marketed via the blogosphere.
And from the USA:
Signs Never Sleep - a small business which claims to have boosted sales by $35,000 thanks to its blog.

Online Ad Expenditure to Grow

Emarketer is predicting a rosey future for online advertising with further increases in revenue expected at the expense of traditional media channels. Emarketer reported "projections, in 2005, for US Internet ad spending will surpass $10 billion for the first time, shooting past that mark to $12.9 billion."(via Micro persuasion)

14 September 2005

Google Blog Search May Spell Trouble For Competitors

Problogger picked up on the breaking news from Searchblog that Google has released a Blog Search Facility. There are two url's (Google-style interface) and a second blogger version at (Blogger-style interface) which is also incorporated into the blogger dashboard. A third interface has been included into the blogspot nav bar.
Personally, I predominantly use Ice Rocket or Technorati depending on the research I am undertaking. There are definitely improvements that could be made to both but on the whole they serve me well. However, with the emergence of Google Blog Search I think they will have to rapidly consolidate their positions or lose market share to the behemouth that is Google.
I had a play around with the new Google facility and was fairly impressed. I have noted some quick thoughts below:
1. Compared to other search facilities it seemed to throw back results at lightening speed.
2. There is quite a nifty option to easily switch your search results by relevance or time.
3. For those using blogger there is a long over due, incorporation of the search faility into the dashboard.
4. Correction to my earlier post - Link references are shown but to be honest they appear to be pretty out of date.
5. Google Blog Search just shot ahead by listing some of my more recent posts within the hour. Pretty damn quick!
6. There are advanced search options for criteria such as authors, titles, languages etc.
7. Every blog that publishes a site feed (either RSS or Atom) is to be incorporated into Google Blog Search.
8. Automatic pings from a service such as should enable your blog to be listed.
I suspect it won't be too long before we see an Adsense for Blog Search facility.
Take a look at About Google Blog Search for further info.

AdsOnBlogs Top 50 Blog Word Search

Ads On Blogs has published below the top 50 searches incorporating the word "blog". The data has been aggregated from Overture/Yahoo and Wordtracker for the month of August. For anybody who is contemplating a career in blogging and are a little unsure as to your choice of topic, this list may give you some ideas.

1 blog

2 blog site

3 radio blog

4 blog katrina

5 sex blog

6 celebrity baby blog

7 free blog

8 sky blog

9 pink is the new blog

10 create blog

11 blog host

12 blog rss

13 blog quiz

14 bad girl blog

15 blog hurricane katrina

16 blog definition

17 porn blog

18 real world road rule blog

19 blog glasses reading

20 blog video

21 blog search

22 nude blog

23 blog directory

24 adult blog

25 yahoo blog

26 msn blog

27 photo blog

28 babe blog

29 baby blog

30 blog things

31 blog template

32 web blog

33 blog skin

34 blog for america

35 music blog

36 new orleans blog

37 blog survey

38 radio blog club

39 blog layout

40 iraq blog

41 gay blog

42 political blog

43 sexy blog

44 military blog

45 free photo blog

46 big blog brother

47 teen blog

48 blog advertising

49 celebrity blog

50 blog software

13 September 2005

Blogs and Ad Agencies

There's no question that larger ad agencies are trying to carve a role for themselves in the corporate blogging arena. There is even a subtle marking of territory going on. However, I suspect they are ill equipped to provide the relevant expertise.
Hugh at Gaping Void is thinking along similar lines. He states in his recent post:
"The big agencies can react, but they're incapable of making the first move. Ergo, anybody who pays big agency money to make blogs for them is either a fool, or is being ripped off. Just my opinion."
He goes on:
"When done well, blogs are CHEAP and EASY. Agencies are in the business of selling stuff that is NEITHER."
I think he has a point.

12 September 2005

Marketing Shift in Blog Sponsorship Deal

Micro persuasion has picked up on a new sponsorship deal linking Apostle (an underground clothing label) with marketing shift blog. The deal has been brokered on the basis that Marketing Shift will receive free clothing and products in exchange for promotion of the Apostle label.
Not sure there's much synergy between a marketing blog and a clothing company, but I say good luck to them!

Cure Yourself of G.A.S.S!

If you're an Adsense statistics junky (or suffereing G.A.S.S. - Google AdSense Stats Syndrome)there maybe respite at hand. Inside Adsense reports that the new version of Google Desktop has a plug in called 'AdSense Status'. Apparently this feature allows you to continuously monitor your AdSense earnings and avoid the hassle of logging into your account every 15 minutes.
So go and download the new version of Google Desktop together with the plug in and say goodbye to your G.A.S.S. problems!

Yahoo Publisher Incorporates Category Ad Targeting

Jensense recently reported that the Yahoo Publisher Network has added a brand new ad category targeting feature for publishers. This should be a welcome addition which "will help create tighter ad targeting."
Jensense goes on to say:
"In addition to the contextually matched ads that Yahoo serves, Ad Targeting enables you to target your visitors with ads based on their specific interests. In addition to the contextually-matched ads that Yahoo! serves, Ad Targeting enables you to target your visitors with ads based on their specific interests. You can choose up to two ad categories to apply to your web site (e.g.,, a specific directory of your web site (e.g., or a content-specific web page on your site (e.g., Your ad category selections, in combination with our matching technology, will determine what types of ads will be displayed. Selecting ad categories for a Targeted URL, however, does not guarantee that only ads from those ad categories will appear."
Will Adsense follow suit?

09 September 2005

Fashion Blogs - The Next Big Thing?

Fashion blogs are apparently going to be the next big thing according to Adjab. If you need to hit those opinion formers then I guess it's not surprising fashion houses and fashion retailers are becoming interested in the blogosphere.

Could Blog Advertising be the Answer for Hollywood?

The LA Weekly has predicted that the major film studios could allegedly be about to withdraw advertising in the Los Angeles Times and The New York Times newspapers.
Demographics would appear to indicate why, with "the Motion Picture Association’s 2004 U.S. movie attendance survey showing 12 to 39 year olds accounting for 57 percent of total moviegoers, 40 to 59 year olds only 31 percent, and 60 plus year olds only 12 percent." Needless to say the readership of traditional newspapers is often shown to be predominantly weighted to the upper age brackets.
So I guess the questions are, how will the studios reach out to the 12 to 39 year olds and where will the studios go with their formidable ad budgets if they do decide to change strategy? Well, we don't know yet, but with online access rising to 66% in the US, there's a good chance some of it will filter through to blogs. What should particularly make studio executives take note is the attractive demographics of blogs, which tend to favor the lower age ranges. My previous post on the receptiveness of teens to digital promotion further supports my belief that blog advertising could increasingly be utilised within a wider marketing strategy.

Teens Receptive to Blog Marketing

Recent research published on imedia connection seems to indicate that online and mobile phone marketing is having an increasing influence on teenagers. Debra Aho Williamson confirms that the "Promotion Marketing Association and CMO Council ranked teens and college students as the most receptive of all demographic groups to digital promotions"
This sentiment certainly supports the view that part of reaching the teen audience is now increasingly seen to be the blogosphere, where embryonic trends can often be identified first. As Debra alludes to in her article there are moves to further weave the power of blog marketing into wider strategies incorporating instant messenger, text messaging, broadband videos and immersive environments such as Neopets.

08 September 2005

First Half Ad Spend Numbers by TNS

ClickZ have reported onTNS Market Intelligence online ad spend figures which show growth of 9.4 percent compared to the first half of last year. TNS analysis does not currently include paid search, which is regarded as the fastest growing segment on the Internet.
ClickZ have also listed the Top 50 advertisers by media spend which I have anlayzed by % spend in each sector:
25% Finance
20% Technology
12% Miscellaneous
9% Entertainment
8% Consumer Package Goods
7% Education
7% Retail
6% Classifieds
3% Travel and Hospitality
2% Health and Fitness
1% Online Dating

Pro Active Search for Ad Dollars

Following on from my post yesterday about shortage of quality inventory pushing up ad costs, Problogger picked up on a great post at Web Dev Source titled Making Money Beyond Adsense by Selling Ads Directly
The tenet of the post is why not identify suitable advertisers in your field and contact them direct. It's an approach which I know works well on many blogs.

07 September 2005

Online Advertising Costs on the Rise

"Ad dollars are increasingly looking for outlets on the internet." Or at least that's what Media Buyer Planner and Ecommerce Times has stated in recent posts. This has predictably resulted in higher prices for sort after inventory.
Some publishers are apparently wising up to the supply problem by holding back inventory to negotiate a better deal later. Jumpstart Automotive Media, which sells space on automotive sites, has been shifting large amounts of ad dollars online for the likes of Ford and General Motors. I haven't heard whether any of that money has made it's way into blogs, but I would make an educated guess that it has. See the related post: Alpha Romeo's recent sponsorship deals
The thought occurs to me that the blogsophere is well placed to take advantage of this tidal wave of money hitting the net, the question is whether it will evenutally filter down to even modest sized blogs?

Google Voice Demo

I realise this is a demo with probably a strategic vision, but I am a little baffled by it's potential application. I can only deduct that this must be a step towards something else.
Google have not explained their intentions very well as far as I'm aware, but I guess reading between the lines, this is potentially a step towards two potential technological paths:
1. A voice recognition, search capability on your computer.
2. An automated and truncated oral search and response facility by telephone, although exactly how this will work is mind boggling.
From an advertising aspect it will be interesting to see how Google develop this technology.

AdsOnBlogs - BLOG SEARCH 500

It's been a fascinating couple of days here at ADS ON BLOGS. After posting my rather innocuous ADS ON BLOGS - BLOG SEARCH 100 we have received unprecedented interest. Thank you for all the emails of which there are literally hundreds. I am working my way through them and promise everybody will receive a proper response.
We have decided to now produce a more comprehensive list which will be the BLOG SEARCH 500. This will not only be a single list but incorporate sub lists for various blogosphere categories e.g. politics, entertainment etc. It will be interesting to see what we come up with.

06 September 2005

AdsOnBlogs - BLOG SEARCH 100

From a blog advertising perspective I have become interested in the ranking of blogs by various methodologies, whether it be by links, or by those limited numbers of sites that submit site meter figures. Advertisers who are waking up to the potential of blog advertising, in the UK at least, are using the rankings as a starting point for making sponsorship approaches.
As these various rankings are now being used by advertisers as a prima facie selection tool, I thought it might be interesting to compare one of the ranking systems - (In this case the Feedster 500) with a ranking based on the number of searches for a particular blog. Such a ranking system does not exist to my knowledge, so Ads On Blogs has decided to try and analyse the Top 100 blogs from Feedster, based on the number of aggregated searches a blog receives from Overture/Yahoo and Wordtracker. Afterall, a high proportion of blog visitors originate from search engines/metacrawlers and it struck me as an interesting cross check analysis.
I didn't expect a great deal of difference, but to my surprise I noted a site like Bootleg Fark going from 100 in the Feedster list to number 2 on the Ads On Blog's list. Now before I receive a deluge of emails outlining potential problems with this analysis, I would like to stress that a number of checks were undertaken. However, as this is an embryonic attempt to analyse blog rankings there maybe some work to do before I can honestly say it has a great deal of relevance. Nonetheless, I think it looks at the issue of rankings from a different angle and throws up some interesting questions.
The top 100 sites are listed below, with the Feedster ranking to the left and the Ads On Blogs ranking to the right.
7 Fleshbot 5
18 Gawker 14
59 Wonkette 17
43 Defamer 19
1 Engadget 21
8 Gizmodo 25
34 Eschaton 33
83 Tapped 36
50 McSweeney's 37
46 Wizbang 51
33 Autoblog 52
92 Ongoing 53
19 Joystiq 54
71 Curbed 55
73 Jalopnik 57
22 Lifehacker 64
99 Workbench 74
38 Luxist 85
25 TV Squad 89
Ads On Blogs is receiving enquiries on a regular basis from both advertisers and bloggers looking for marriages made in heaven! If you have a successful blog or you're an advertiser looking to place inventory/sponsorship then please let me know on we may be able to help.

05 September 2005

Pay Per Call Advertising

Those who aren't very excited by the boom in pay per click search advertising could be made to sit up by the advent of pay per call. Advertisers who prefer to put their faith in the persuasive oratory talents of their employees, rather than the rather ubiquitous click ad or email, are paying close attention to this new service. The principle of pay per call is exactly the same as pay per click, in that key words are auctioned off but with the difference that clicks don't link, they dial straight to the switch board of the advertiser. There are variants on how this works but the theme is generally the same, either way the advertiser is billed for the referral.
America Online along with other partners including pay per call expert Ingenio and backed by eBay and Microsoft, are paving the way for this technology to infiltrate the internet.
There is a widely held belief that for small service businesses like lawyers and accountants this service could provide an excellent conduit for customers to pose questions. Particularly so given that many smaller service companies do not have a web presence. In addition, the quality of those customers coming through is likely to be high, with a greater likleyhood of the customer purchasing a service or product. The key is the elimination of the browsing culture purveyed by the conventional pay per click system, with customer coversion rates estimated to be up to 20 times higher. This could make a crucial difference to a small, local business with thin margins, looking to maximise the impact of an ad campaign
There is a catch. The price is pitched at an average of $7 per call compared with an average 50 cents per click. Like all new products and services, competition will bring prices down to a lower level in time. How far this technology will be adopted is unclear, but market research from Kelsey Group Projects estimate that pay per call will become a $4 billion dollar industry by 2009.
It will be interesting to monitor it's development and to see whether it will have any applications in the world of blog advertising.
For further analysis on this topic please see

03 September 2005

Benefits of Being a Blogger

An interesting little summary from Online Business of why blogging can be so alluring.
1) Easy to manage. A blog can be set up by even a novice in no time. All you have to do is post and publish.
2) Easy to update. Blogs can be updated weekly or daily instead of sometimes monthly for a static website. Even adding a few paragraphs a day can be done in no time and can be beneficial to your search rankings.
3) Get spidered quickly. Search engine spiders crawl blogs with greater frequency than static webpages.
4) You can get your website indexed quicker. An article or a piece of news about your website with an optimize anchor link will send the spiders your way in no time.
5) Sell advertising space if you have a popular blog.
6) Similarly, you can incorporate Adsense to your blog to monetize content.
7) If you have a blog that is in a niche then you can find affiliate programs for that niche and do reviews of them for a commission. Every time someone purchases the product or service through your link you make money.
8) Blogs and RSS feeds are used by the minority of internet users which makes it excellent for you to start blogging right now. Less than 10% of Americans utilise this service at present.
9) Can be syndicated. An easy way for your readers to stay in touch with updates is to add your blog to their My Yahoo and My MSN. They can see the latest information and how long ago it was added.
10) Add your blogs to My Yahoo and you can have it indexed in no time by Yahoo.

02 September 2005

Technorati - Ranks Blogs By Subject

Technorati the weblog listing service has brought in an interesting new tool to rank blogs by subject and keyword tags.
If you have a Technorati account and have claimed your blog, then you can specify the tags you want associated with your blog. As others have found, I did have problems changing my tag settings.
Check out Josh Hallet's brief review which is fairly informative. Overall I share his opinion that this feature is a useful addition and the initial bugs should be ironed out fairly quickly.
There is further analysis by Josh Hallet in his most recent post "Further Analysis of Technorati's Blog Finder "

Big Ad Agencies Play Blog Catch Up

It's a fact of life that the larger ad agencies move slower than the smaller nimble ones, often resulting in the gobbling up of said smaller agencies to fill skill voids. Could it be a case of trying to claim the blogging turf when Wayne Bickerton head of partnerships and emerging media at Diffiniti (formerly Carat Interactive UK), is allegedly quoted as saying:
"agencies are best placed to provide clients with advice and consultancy on blogs because they are involved in the overall communications strategy that brand blogs should fit into. We would never sell blogs on their own, they are just one part of what a company should consider doing,"
Stuart Bruce of Bruce Marshall Associates who talks about the above comment in his post , quite rightly sees the implication " Wayne Bickerton is talking about the big ad agencies."
I don't think anyone disputes that blogs should be used as a tool, in combination with a battery of marketing methods, but this does strike me as a typical protectionist stance by claiming to be a "jack of all trades" rather than accepting that certain specialist knowledge may have to be sought from outside.

Brands Wising up to Blog Power

A Malaysian company Sunsilk is demonstrating how blogging can integrate with a multi faceted media campaign. They are running a TV series to promote their brand to teens and young adults which is supported by SMS inviting viewers to suggest how the series should develop. Online viewers can download wallpapers for their mobile phones, and can access the fictitious Illyana's blog, where they can post comments.
Mars, are also experimenting with some success with the Cesar brand in Singapore, having launched My Cesar, "Your companion to online blogging". This blogging community encourages Singaporean dog owners to "create your own personal doggie blog where you can impart your thoughts about your favourite pooch."
Hill and Knowlton picked up on these developments in Asia and intelligently comments "Sunsilk and Mars understand that consumers no longer want brands to talk at them, but give them the tools to talk to others."
It's a pertinent interpretation of how marketing and advertising are developing globally.

01 September 2005

Alpha Romeo Paving the Way to Blog Sponsorship

Blog Herald has picked up on the interesting news of a growing Italian Blog Network gaining sponsorship from Alpha Romeo for , the first signing of it's type between an automotive company and a blogging network in europe. According to Blog Herald this follows their deal with Ducati back in July for their motorcycle blog .
Sponsorship of blogs is not new, but I find it interesting that this is beginning to catch on in europe. I guess the big question is even with the various protestations to the contrary, will such sites keep their impartiality? Time will tell I guess.

Blogs - The Second Coming!

Allbusiness have spotted a useful artcle from iMedia - Blog Bots by Jim Meskauskas. It provides an interesting perspective on blogs and blog advertising. Pouring large doses of cold water on the theory that blogs are now a marketers "pixie dust" or the "second coming".
It's an interesting, well constructed article but for me it states a little too much of the obvious. The main premise that "blogs should be only part of the marketing mix, not the whole enchilada" could be said for any medium you choose.
Is blog advertsing targeting a niche audience? Yes and that should be it's strength, particularly considering the attractive demographic profile of blog audiences.
Is blog advertising going to supplant existing media channels? Not likely!!
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