Blog Post

Why Publishers Need To Serve Fewer Ads

imageBill Day is the chief executive officer of ScanScout. Prior to joining ScanScout, he was the chief media officer of Marchex and before that was CEO of MeMedia. Bill co-founded About.com, and held the titles of CEO and president.

Call me crazy, but when I think about furthering online advertising, it always starts from a user perspective — and the current model needs some work.

Since the introduction of internet advertising, the relationship between advertisers and consumers has been a somewhat discordant one. Publishers intent on making money from site traffic clutter pages with ineffective, run-of-network and downright unsightly ads (think dancing hamsters and free IQ tests) just to make a few hundredths of a penny per ad. All the while, they are collecting valuable information from the audience through the use of cookies. There simply hasn

9 Responses to “Why Publishers Need To Serve Fewer Ads”

  1. couldn't agree more with the post and the comments… would be amazing to see the web really try to some drastic changes here… undoubtedly would please users, publishers and brands alike…

    (sincere) plug alert: finding the 'right' content/ad experience (attractive + relevant + engaging + contextual + informative) is something we're working on at our company, FlipGloss.com… would love any comments from those of you engaged on this thread… lots of progress to be made out there.

  2. It seems to me that this is the same argument that's been going on for years. And the promise of the Internet was that finally had the power to know enough about the user to deliver, on a consistent basis, truly relevant and engaging ads. I know when I saw the Apple/Mac ad on the front of the NYT a few weeks ago, I clicked – and I already own everything Apple could possibly sell me. But the ad was so compelling that I had to watch it.

    I hope we can move away from the flashing lights and half-naked women and into quality advertising. But, I've been hoping for this for over 10 years and it's still not happening.

  3. Victoria Bianchini

    Your last point is the one closest to my heart. I see evidence of this at some female oriented sites. iVillage was good at this in the beginning—understanding their audience and integrating advertising in a value added way. DivineCaroline has done some of this recently with Prego and Biore. VibrantNation used to ask very pointed questions about brand preferences during registration.

    My favorite and I'd be interested in your perspective on this, because you might call it a sponsorship and not advertising, but I love what BlogHer is doing with Tropicana. The Juice is a really fun video that delivers a number of interesting tid bits, including bringing members of the community into view.

  4. There is a new firm called Online Intelligence that will reportedly be headup by some guy from MySpace. It aims to clean up the online ad world by weeding out and shining a light on the spammers scammers and nere do'wells.

    Maybe once the junk is culled from the sites and search engines, advertising will become more of an art than the in your face slop it is now

  5. Could not agree more with the sentiment. My concern is that ad clutter and noise actually DO work well enough, in the absence of viable alternatives, to make publishers very nervous about simplifying their pages.

  6. You have relevant points. Radio discovered that the high volume of ads/hour was detrimental to the listening experience and many stations have reduced the hourly inventory (better for users, advertisers, and the stations).

    You touch on "Smarter Ads," but I was hoping you'd refer to the quality of the content of the ad. Effective ads are clever, watchable, and entertain and sell. Then, the consumer doesn't mind reading/watching ads in exchange for free content!

    Good article. Hopefully your points will be acted upon, sooner than later.

    A Commercial Message
    http://davidpolakoff.wordpress.com/category/the-windmills-of-my-immediate-mind/a-commercial-message/

  7. I think that Yahoo and Google could also help with your first point It seems the majority of the of the web sites that have irrelevant and unsightly ads use Adsense or YPN.

    Fantastic article!

  8. This is a great article and really piqued my interest. Part of the reason we don't have this, is that some people have learned the wrong lesson of the old network model. The bad thing about the networks was a lack of choice. The good thing was the ability to engage with consumers in a direct way through a few convenient points of entry.

    There should be a new ad network which mandates large format, high-quality, user-tested and approved ads. Members of this network should agree to show only one ad per page, and users would be able to click them away after seeing it 3 times. The CPM on these should be similar to half or full-page newspaper ads or daytime network television.