Blogger Hacks, Categories, Tips & Tricks

Thursday, April 13, 2006
On Tags, Ads and Blogs
A decidedly-mercurial thought occurred to me about the confluence of tags, blogs and advertising made possible by FreshAds ... the possibility of using different advertising account IDs based on tag. Ie you could use this system to display an Amazon or AdSense banner ad, but with different account IDs (and hence revenue destination) depending on the tag. How could this change blogging business models?

Most obviously, you could tag posts by user on multi-user blogs, so each blogger would get ad revenue in proportion to his or her post popularity. (Note to John: I'm not suggesting this for Freshblog!)

Another possibility would be for a blog publisher to "sell" a post (or at least, ad revenue arising from the post) by using FreshAds to insert the buyer's Amazon Associate (or AdSense) ID on the banner ads.

Why would a publisher do this? Well, according to economic theory, this transaction would only occur if the vendor (publisher) put a lower value on the future revenue than the buyer. Most likely, this would happen if the publisher was really strapped for cash and needed the money immediately (sort of like how authors get an advance from their publishers). The trade would also happen if the buyer believes the post will be more popular/profitable than the publisher does, which amounts to derivatives trading on blog posts.

This would also mean that publishers could "commission" posts from other authors and have a mechanism for the guest blogger to capture the revenue. In this way, publishers could put guest authors on a performance-based contract, rather than paying them upfront.

Another possibility would be for publishers to sell advertising rights to an entire tag. (Anyone wanna make an offer for "zingers" on my blog?) We've seen other models of tag sponsorship - but this one at least makes business sense!

Enterprising publishers could use FreshAds to set up a "bounty" system to promote their blogs. Since FreshTags will detect "hard-coded" tags in a URL, a publisher could agree to use the ad ID of registered partners on inbound links.

For example, suppose John engaged a bunch of independent contractors to spruik Freshblog around the internet. One of the contractors - "Joe" - would use the URL:

Note that Joe hard-coded the tag "ad:joe" into the URL. When a reader clicks on this link, she will go to the Freshblog homepage and FreshAds would display a banner ad with Joe's account ID, rewarding him for his link-sprinkling efforts. (Her subsequent pageviews would naturally use John's ad ID.) This same setup could work for individual posts, rather than just the blog's front page.

It's not all greedy commerce though. This also makes possible philanthropic gestures in the form of tithing - call it "advertithing" (groan). You could, for example, associate the ad account ID of a favourite charity or cause with one of your tags so a percentage of your traffic (and ad revenue) goes to them.

Technically, you could just copy their ID from the group's own pages, but, legally, you might need their permission first. (I'm sure they wouldn't object!)

Some of these possibilities are already happening, but no doubt as pro blogging and social bookmarking continue to take off, we can expect more technology-enabled business models to emerge. Who knows what crazy schemes we'll see?

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Posted at 1:11 AM by Greg.

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