Thursday, January 17, 2008

Blogvertising

Tuesday’s edition of the Wall Street Journal had an interesting article with the headline, New Services Help Bloggers Bring in Ad Revenue.

It’s no longer just links in the margin of a page, such as what Google’s Adsense does. This article was talking about audio and video spots being placed within blogs, along with more flexible, customizable placement options.

One company, V2P Communications, is offering audio ads of 5-8 seconds that will play automatically whenever anyone lands on a blog site. Other advertising agencies are inserting ads at the beginning of Youtube videos on blogsites.

In other words, you don’t have a choice. There’s no link to click. If you want to view the content of the blog itself, you have to put up with an advertisement.

Personally, I think this stinks.

Commercial television has ads that, if you don’t get up from your seat, you are forced to sit through as part of the television-watching process. This I understand since it costs a lot of money to produce a television show and someone has to pay the expenses plus the stations by definition are out to make a profit.

But what is the purpose of blogging? More and more the distinction between a commercial enterprise versus a blog is becoming blurred. I can understand people wanting to make some extra money by putting click-through ads on their site. I don’t mind them as long as I have a choice of whether or not to click on them.

But when you are forced to listen or watch an advertisement before you can look at the content that brought you to the blog in the first place, well, that’s perverted.

The WSJ article had examples of some people making quite a bit of money from their blogvertisements. One makes between $15,000 and $18,000 per month and he was able to quit his full time job because of the income the blog brings in.

So I can see that blogging can be a very lucrative venture. Who can blame people when the dollars can be so tempting?

On the other hand, it just doesn’t seem right. All this intrusive stuff – I’d expect it from a commercial website just like from watching network television. But from a blog? Say it ain’t so! A trend towards blogs plastered with inescapable ads will turn us into Howard Beale characters (Peter Finch’s role in the most excellent 1976 movie, Network). Aren’t we supposed to be a community?

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