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Weblog Ad Directory Idea Floated

There’s a fascinating post over at the Jason Calacanis Weblog about talks between Gawker, Weblogs Inc and Federated Media about putting together a Weblog Ad Directory.

Looks like a pretty interesting idea for those of us (big and small – although not too small with the costs he mentions to get in on it) who are wanting to put our blogs ‘out there’ to advertisers.

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Comments

  1. stuart says:

    A novel idea, but the author talks of cutting out the middleman, which in one sense he is, yet goes on to discuss membership fees and traffic based fees. Surely they’re just a middleman’s fees dressed up as administration costs…

  2. Robb D says:

    You are right Darren. It definately is an interesting idea. Because of the cost of entry you probably won’t see too many small traffic blogs signing up. On the contrary however, this is the type of venture that could move a small blog to the next level. Advertising aside, it may be worth the $1000 just to get in a directory like this if you can get in early. With the big name, A-List Bloggers that are behind this, there would undoubtedly be a lot of buzz behind the Ad-Directory whenever it launches. Having your small blog directly linked to all that hype would probably send a visitor or two your way.

  3. HART says:

    (sarcasm on) Yah. Let’s get the AOL lawyers right on it. (/sarcasm off)

    MY GAWD doesn’t anybody else see the inherent problems with this? While they’re at it .. maybe Mr. Big can get Google to change their TOS and let us be able to compare eCPM figures too? Don’t get me wrong – I’m a big fan of both of these individuals and their blogs and what they stand for. I just believe something like that will further expand the rift between us small fish and the big sharks… in black and white statistics.

    Dear Mr. John Blog .. you’ve been rejected … because your traffic proves you have nothing valuable to contribute to society and the internet.

  4. Jason says:

    1. It wouldn’t be run by AOL HART. It would be a nonprofit and I would be one of say 8 rotating board members and it would be an open board (which means anyone can tune in). The idea only works if it is open.

    2. if would be providing services at cost… do there would be no profit or markup. The costs of running the business would be disclosed and if there was any extra money left over it would serve as a foundation for the business, be spent on marketing blogs, or dues would be lowered.

    3. i just made up the numbers. $1,000 to join is a reasonable benchmark for folks who are making this into a business. If you have over 100,000 pages a month then you would join, if not what’s the point? It’s not really a business! That being said, I made up the $1,000 number… maybe the number is $250 or $500 or $100.

  5. Jim Kukral says:

    I left my comments on your blog Jason, so I won’t repeat myself here completely.

    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.

  6. Darren Rowse says:

    I’m a bit more positive about it Jim – while I hear your concerns I think bloggers could do some pretty amazing things working together on this type of project. Whether this is the right model I’m not sure – but I like that its being talked about.

  7. I tend to agree with HART here just a little – “I just believe something like that will further expand the rift between us small fish and the big sharks” and Jason’s comment about 100,000 pages a month not really being a business simply proves it.

    C’mon Jason, why bring this out in the open as Jim said as you’ve probably just alientated 95% of bloggers who get under 100,000 pages a month.

    I know of blogs doing very well (financially) with “only” 10,000 pages a month

  8. Are there antitrust implications to these talks? For US and EU bloggers anyway?

  9. pcunix says:

    I guess I’m in the 5% range – half a million page views or so per month.

    I have to say there is no way I’d put up that kind of money for this. It’s way, way too much for the service provided (in my cheapskate opinion, of course). I’d say that’s a $50.00 a year value, maybe. If even that.

    What “management” do you need? This would all be automated – what do you have to do? What’s the “board” for? It all makes very little sense to me.. this is no different conceptually than Monster.com or any similar site: a web site lists its features, its stats come from Sitemeter or whatever, so what’s the difficulty? Where’s the big expense?

    Actually, better to turn the thing the other way: charge the advertisers for access to your carefully constructed database. Let the resources list free.

    As for that SiteMeter package: that’s way overpriced too. There are plenty of free web-log analyzers and add-on Javascript that will do everything they offer. And I can guarantee you that I would NEVER put their free version on my site, so if running Sitemeter were a condition of joining, I wouldn’t. Make your own Javascript to log directly to your databases if you do this – this isn’t exactly rocket science.

    Sorry to be such a grump, but I think this is nonsense as presented. The idea itself is fine, but the pricing is ridiculous (in my cranky opinion, of course).

  10. Jim Kukral says:

    Darren, like I said, it makes sense for the big bloggers, yourself included. Ultimately though, let’s call it what it would be, a private club for the 1% of our community. Not saying that’s a horrible thing, just pointing out that’s what it is, lest anyone try to make this into something that it’s not.

    My point then is, let’s not pretend this is something for bloggers, rather let’s admit this is for business, that blog. It’s all in the delivery.

  11. pcunix says:

    And look at http://www.blogkits.com/ which seems to be doing the same thing free..

    I’m not saying someone else couldn’t do it better (and I have no idea if Blogkits does good or bad). But that kind of pricing, and that ridiculous SiteMeter foolishness, just turns me off completely.

    A server to handle the likely load of such a service is no great shakes – figure maybe a few hundred a month at most. Heck, go all out and have replicated systems and redundancy – a few thousand dollars. An admin to keep on top of it is hardly a full time job, but what the heck: throw a full time experienced admin at it, and with everything, I think you’d have a hard time spending $200K a year.

    How many bloggers would be interested? I’d guess quite a few more than 200, wouldn’t you? Two thousand? Twenty thousand? SorrTake your lowest, lowest estimate and divide that $200K by that, and just to be ridiculous, multiply it by five. Or ten. You’d still be nowhere near the kinds of costs Jason bandied about.

    So.. that makes me think that either somebody is horrendously greedy or hasn’t even begun to think the idea through. Neither choice leaves me feeling very excited, does it?

    Sorry to be so negative..

  12. Jason says:

    Did a followup post… good questions all.

    I could have been a little more clear in my first post… just getting back on the blog posting horse after closing up the AOL deal. Forgive me. :-)
    http://www.calacanis.com/2005/11/04/weblogads-com-the-open-weblog-advertising-directory-part-ii/