WeblogAds.com – Self Serving Nonsense or Food for All?

Jason Calacanis has announced plans to build a weblog ad directory where bloggers can pay to submit their sites, and have them ranked by their traffic so that prospective advertisers can find and contact relevant blogs. There are some problems i see with this, not least of which is the fact that on the surface at least, it looks to be just a self serving old boys club, and damn expensive too.

In that first post, Jason threw a few numbers around as to what it would cost publishers to get listed:

  • $1000 startup
  • 1 listing free, additionals at $250 each
  • $100 – $250 a year depending on traffic volume

You can see where my problem with this is from that list above right? There are actually very, very few blogs making enough page views to be able to justify being in that directory. Yes, there is an argument that says advertisers only want the top trafficked blogs anyway, but this doesn’t address the universal problem that affects both advertiser and publisher: The long tail needs to be monetized!.

Sure, Adsense goes a looong way in doing that, but Adsense alone is not enough, and not even when YPN and MSNAdCenter come out to play will it be enough. In an ideal world, advertisers would be able to advertise right across the entire length of the long tail in their sector, in a manner suitable for them, and publishers, big and small, would be able to pick up those advertising dollars direct from the advertiser.

That scenario may indeed be impossible. We’ll see.

Clarification?

Just yesterday, Jason clarified his original post on the ad directory, but i can’t say it inspired me with any more confidence that this was anything but something for the few, not the many.

“In my experience advertisers are just not going to bother with a blog with under 100,000 page views a month”

Well yeah, that kind of hits the nail on the head doesn’t it?

I tend to agree, in general principle with the quote from a reader in point #9

“Why bother even making the idea public? Just get all the blogs that meet your criteria and ask them to join the club privately. The point is, any way you slice or dice it, yours and Nick’s and the other biggies get the most out of this, in attention and most likely media buys, for the same cost that others would pay. You can then walk around saying “look at our numbers, validated by a not for profit third party”. The whole thing just rubs me the wrong way.”

And no, the clarification post didn’t really change my opinion.

Not all doom and gloom…

Still, there are a few worthy points to this. Not many, but there are a few.

  • It’s a non-profit org
  • It has a board, complete with yearly elections to run it
  • It could give blog advertising a push in the right direction

And i think that last point is really the very best point i can charitably find to like about this idea. If they actually do it (Calacanis, Denton, Jarvis) then it may well bring much needed exposure to the blogosphere’s commercial potential.

Then again, it could just be an ego-rubbing, backslapping boys club for a bunch of folks who’d do better to work on less stupid ideas.

You decide.

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