John Battelle mentioned on his blog today that he’s experimenting with some new ad pricing models on his blog. It got me to thinking about the blog advertising space generally, so I decided to take a look at the current options for advertisers seeking to target blogs specifically.
Note that I did not include ad networks that do not permit targeting specifically to blogs. For instance Google AdWords and AdBrite include blogs in their networks, but (to my knowledge) do not permit targeting only those sites.
The BlogAds network created by Henry Copeland skews heavily toward the political, though certainly not exclusively. Here’s how they describe it:
We represent the blogs you read — Dailykos, Perez Hilton, Hotair, Atrios, MyDD, Americablog, PoliticalWire, GoFugYourself, OverheardinNewYork, CrooksandLiars, RightWingNews, IndieWire, OutsidetheBeltway and Cuteoverload. And we rep many blogs you don’t read but should. In all, we place ads on 1100 peer-selected blogs with 300 million impressions a month in hives like: New Yorkers, Gothamist blogs, lawyers, evangelicals, gizmophiles, gays, conservatives, baseball fans, foodies, liberals, scientists.
The site is organized by topical “hives” (or groups of sites). You can choose to buy hives or individual targeted sites. Browsing through the options allows you to drill down and see the components of a particular hive and how much traffic each receives. It is relatively easy to use and generally transparent with the information it provides. Ads allowed are mixed media with images and text, or simple text.
This firm serves more as a matchmaking society between advertisers and bloggers. Here’s how they describe their offering: “We offer 3 basic types of Sponsorship Opportunities: Blog Entries/Advertorials, Blog Home Page Links, Blog Home Page Banners.” And here’s how it works: “The blogger receives an advertising request from you/our system. They accept or decline the offer.”
It is impossible to browse their offerings without registering, so I can’t speak to the number of participating blogs or the quality of their product interface. It does appear that they are in the same vein as PayPerPost, in that they pay bloggers to write about companies. They don’t require a specific message and bloggers can be critical, but I saw no mention of any sort of disclosure policy on their site. Their site indicates that advertisers pay $4 to $20 or so per post.
This one seems to be more of an SEO play than a blog advertising one, despite how they are marketing themselves. I’m not going to get into the merits of the idea, since that has been adequately discussed here and elsewhere in the past.
Providing a pay per click (PPC) advertising network covering more than 3,000 blogs with more than 421 million impressions per month, I was surprised I hadn’t heard of them before I went searching today to to find blog ad networks that had escaped my notice. They do have some surprising language on their site, so I wonder about their track record. For instance: “We currently have 6,000 text advertisers available on our blog network. However, our CPC Text Ads are currently offline to the general public. They will be restored in the near future.” I’m not quite sure what that means exactly. The web site also includes news on the home page, but it hasn’t been updated since 2005.
After digging a little more, I discovered that CrispAds had been put up for sale on eBay late last year but received no bidders. They claimed a 30% gross profit margin, but set the minimum bid at $90,000 so there seems to be some disconnect there. If it were really profitable, why sell it so cheap?
You can’t search their inventory without registering, so it is hard to say what they really have to offer other than the broad category statistics they provide on their site. I find this one intriguing, but the evidence suggests this may be one to be avoided until they provide more information on their site about their reliability and viability.
The blog network assembled by Federated Media includes a number of “A-listers.” As their promo materials describe it: “Ten of FM’s first twenty partner sites – Boing Boing, Dooce, Fark, Metafilter, BuzzMachine, TechCrunch, Google Blogoscoped, GigaOm, TechDirt and Searchblog – are among Technorati’s Top 100 most-influential weblogs online.”
Options include graphical or text ads, as well as CPM or flat fee pricing. Their search interface for finding advertising options leaves a bit to be desired, however. The search results take a while to navigate and there is only page navigation at the top
of the search results, wit
h none at the bottom where it would be more logical. When I get to the bottom of the page, why do I want to scroll back up to the top to go to the next page? The search results also include all of the advertising options for each blog. Ideally, I’d love to see it return the blog names with the ability to click a button to expand the listings to include that level of detail. Frequently, you may want to see which blogs are available first, then drill into the pricing and sizing details later.
Despite the awkwardness of the interface, FM’s network quality make it a winner for potential advertisers.
The established leader of blog feed distribution, FeedBurner, now provides an advertising network as well. Using this service you can advertise not only the web sites of blogs, but also in their feeds (naturally). Ads can be in graphic or text format. Targeting is done by channel, not by individual outlet. Categories available include: Arts & Entertainment, Business, Computing & Technology, Consumer Electronics, Current Affairs & Politics, Digital Culture, News & Information, and PC & Console Games.
Using the site is pretty easy. You simply browse through the available networks and channels to figure out where you want your ad to appear and go from there. CPM rates are clearly posted for each and you have access to a list of included sites and recent blog posts to give you a clear idea of what you’re signing up for. There’s even an online video to help you get started if you’re at all intimidated.
If you’re interested in blog advertising and haven’t heard of these guys … I’m not sure where you’ve been. Clearly the most controversial player in the space (and arguably not even in the space since they are generally perceived to be more SEO focused than advertising oriented), PayPerPost has certainly developed considerable name ID.
Nevertheless, they describe their offering as blog advertising, so they’re included here. The basic concept is that advertisers pay bloggers to mention their company or product. Bloggers need not write positively. They must disclose that they have been compensated for blog posts, but many believe the disclosure policy does not go far enough because it does not require the individual item to be labeled as a paid post. (Here is not the place to discuss the merits of this, so I won’t.)
Without registering, advertisers can’t learn much more about the offering beyond a blurry screen shot and a picture of a smiling woman. So I can’t comment on how easy it may be to use or the quality of sites included in their database.
PayPerPost is certainly a lightning rod for criticism so it would be wise to consider this as an advertiser since it could end up reflecting on you in the end. If the company can sort out its image and disclosure issues, it could provide value. Clearly identified sponsor posts likely have merit as a blog advertising device and would go beyond the SEO play they currently have going, for better or for worse.
Advertisers have more choices than ever in how to communicate their message throughout the blogosphere. Let me know what you think about the companies included in this roundup and tell me if I have missed any that you are aware of.