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Summary:

BlogAds’ CEO and founder Henry Copeland stirred up the audience at Wednesday’s Networked Journalism Summit with two points about blogs and a…

imageBlogAds‘ CEO and founder Henry Copeland stirred up the audience at Wednesday’s Networked Journalism Summit with two points about blogs and advertising. First, he told attendees of the conference, which was organized by CUNY’s Graduate School of Journalism, that only “dozens” of the 1,500 sites he works with can can sustain their sites solely with ad revenues. Then, he said that the only blogs that attract significant brand advertising are those that can keep the ads separate from comments, which tend to make marketers uneasy with their unpredictability. Many felt that suppressing comments in order to garner ad revenue was antithetical to the foundation of blogging. After the session, Copeland and I discussed that, among other issues:

Making Blogs Safe For Ads: The appeal of blogs to marketers is their singular brand identity, making it possible to accurately target their ads. Copeland: “Advertisers say, ‘I know I can trust Blog X, but I also know that Blog X has 100,000 readers – and God knows what those 100,000 readers are going to say.’ It’s not me, it’s the advertisers who are saying this.” And so, BlogAds,which handles advertising for Perez Hilton, Cute Overload and DailyKos, offers to quarantine ads away from the comment pages. “If you look at Perez Hilton, there’s certain kinds of ads that can run on the front page where you can’t see comments. And then on pages where you can see comments, there are other kinds of ads. That is exactly what is occurring.” He praised Gawker publisher Nick Denton for maintaining a controlled environment around its sites’ various comment pages. For one thing, Gawker Media requires commenters to formally apply and those that break the rules can have their commenting privileges immediately revoked.

Still Better Than Before: As for being able to make a living by blogging, Copeland amended his earlier statement, saying that “less than 100″ of the bloggers in his network can live off their blog’s ad revenue. “I think people expect too much… I’m disappointed by that number, on the one hand. But to have a whole lot of people making a living out of blogging – and they weren’t doing that five years ago – is a wonderful thing… and to a lot of people, an extra $200 a month makes a lot of difference.”

The audio of our conversation can be downloaded or streamed here. (MP3, 1.5MB)

  1. Interesting that you guys have ads in your comments section, do you see a problem with that?

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  2. angela
    not sure what you mean…do you mean people who self promote themselves in the comments?

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  3. No, what she meant was that ads are showing on the right. What your article suggests is a system where adverts would only be shown on the front-page and not when you click on an article and decide to comment.

    Still, I know that just because you write about something, doesn't mean you have to practice it too. Though I do think it's an excellent idea. I've heard multiple times that repeat visitors are far less ad-susceptible or -tolerant, than 1st time visitors, and this seems like an interesting way to get around it. Of course since I clicked this blog via Techmeme, I land right on the article-page, this throws that whole theory into the water.

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  4. Blogads is a great company that gets little press due to its not being located in Silicon Valley or New York. I remember when Copeland was first starting the service, and a few people chastised him for even wanting to put blogs on ads, which at the time seemed antithetical to the ethos of blogging. Now he's able to put millions of dollars in the pockets of bloggers– the vast majority of whom aren't trying to make a living from blogging, they just want to get paid for their work.

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  5. Oh the irony is just too rich! In effect, what the ad buyers are saying is:

    "I'm deeply embarrassed by the association of merely having my ad appear next to your words. Nevertheless, I will pay a premium to encourage you to be my customer."

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  6. I think he's saying that advertisers are trying to be careful with how their brand/product is placed. Sometimes, comment threads can get out of control, hateful, or maybe R-rated. And when you have ads next to those comments, there's a certain rub off that readers get. Readers may associate the ads with the comments, so I think this guy is saying they don't mind having the ads associated with the blog articles. BUT they're worried about having their ads along side some out-of-control comment thread.

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  7. Why has advertising supported Boing Boing just added comments if they put off advertisers?

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  8. Debbie: Not only did Boing Boing just add comments, but they attracted an advertiser who's specifically sponsoring the comments. (We at Federated Media sell the ads and helped with the launch.) The comments are thoughtfully managed and moderated, so the quality of the conversations remains high. Firms like BlogAds and FM work every day with those apprehensive advertisers Henry described, but we're seeing those fears replaced, gradually, by excitement about some of the great conversations on the best sites. It takes time, but it's definitely happening.

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  9. I didn't even know advertisers were carefully placing ads and avoid dirty comments. To do this I thought senseless. Why? I always thought that dirty comments shouldn't affect the ads on the side of the blog page. I guess I was counting on people being smart. To filtering out comments is to defeating the purpose of a blog. Do you guy the big disclaimer texts will work instead of filtering out ads?

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  10. Is there really a difference between obscene comments posts and a Perez Hilton homepage?

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