blog: Don Marti


oversimplified ad network

03 March 2020

(updated 31 Jan 2021: placeholder ad in step 1)

Problem: Blog ads don't pay and web ads don't carry economic signal. And if you use a regular ad network you'll probably get a bunch of shitty ads on your blog anyway, so not worth it.

Thinking about a solution (work in progress, comments and suggestions welcome)

How it works (for bloggers)

  1. Put the ad tag on your blog, apply to the ad network stating how much you want per day for that spot on your blog. (You can attach analytics and stuff to your application, but a lot of that stuff is bogus anyway so don't sweat it.) At this point, a sample placeholder ad starts showing up on your blog, so the other members can check it out.

  2. The other members vote. Result can be: you're in at the rate you asked for, you're rejected, you get told to come back with a lower rate or change your site design to give the ad better placement or both.

  3. If you're in, you're in. Any time a paying ad gets accepted, it runs on every member's blog and everyone gets their daily rate.

  4. If you want, you can make a "house ad" for your blog that might run (members vote) on everyone's blog, on days when there is no paying ad.

  5. As long as you are a member, you can vote on ads, new members, and the house ad of the day for unsold days.

How it works (for advertisers)

  1. You can see a list of members, the site analytics they choose to share, and an estimated total rate at any time.

  2. You make an ad and upload it, along with the URL of the landing page you want it to link to.

  3. Members vote up/down. (Your ad must get a 2/3 yes vote, but it's a short voting time and a missing vote counts as a yes. So you're probably in, unless you're that gut doctor begging people to throw out vegetables in which case go try a conventional ad network.)

  4. You pick days you want the ad to run, and sign an insertion order.

  5. Your ad runs. You are charged only for blogs that were members at the time you signed your IO. Members approved between the time you signed your insertion order and the time your ad ran are free.

  6. You get an invoice and pay it. (No, you don't have to pay for your ad up front. If the bloggers didn't trust you to pay an invoice they wouldn't have trusted you to sell your stuff to their readers.)

The reason it's one ad everywhere is to try to get some signal out of it. Readers will be more likely to check out their favorite blogs in the network, and not block ads there, when an ad is more like a magazine ad or a trade show booth—a clear signal that the advertiser is investing money in reaching a community of practice.

(Yes, this is sort of the spawn of The Deck and Project Wonderful, and both of those failed, but these are the days of countdown to the end of the third-party cookie, so worth trying again imho.)

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