Jason has a good post critiquing the CPI (Cost Per Influence) advertising that some have been talking about a bit recently. The theory is that some are trying to come up with an advertising system that rates ‘influence’ of blogs and connects this to the advertising rates that they are able to charge because of it.
It’s a nice idea – in theory – but as Jason say my experience is that advertisers are generally pretty smart at working out how influential a blog is by themselves – I’m not sure a CPI program would help them too much to do this. Jason writes it better than I could so I’ll just let him say it (and I’ll get back to packing boxes for our move this week):
‘To be blunt, as I’m prone to be, the CPI concept is appealing to those folks who don’t have the traffic to back up the claim that they are influential or who don’t want to wait till their traffic reaches that level. It also appeals to those who don’t have the ability or time to demonstrate to advertisers that they are influential.
One thing I’ve learn running online media businesses for the past 10 years is that people buy what they like to read. The advertisers in WIRED, Industry Standard, and the Silicon Alley Reporter were the folks who read the magazine and felt affiliated with it in some way.
Advertising is about affiliation more then influence. High-tech advertisers want to be affiliated with Engadget, hip companies want to be affiliated BoingBoing.net. Some day very soon advertisers will catch up with the highly-influential, but lower traffic, blogs folks like Doc, Jeff, Joi, and Kottke (who knows if these fine folks even want ads, but you get my drift).
When they do catch up it will be because of a combination of those folks increasing their traffic and their sales ability, as well as the advertisers finding them. It’s a natural process, and CPI isn’t really necessary to get it done.’