AdSense Add Targetable Custom Channels

AdSense have added a new targetable channels feature to their system that allows you to label channels so that advertisers can specifically target them for their ads to appear on.

This takes AdSense to a new level for advertisers as it will enable them to specify where on your pages they want their ads to appear (if you enable it).

Thinking this one through – there are a number of reactions that come to mind (I’m thinking out loud here on the fly):

  • The first thing that came to my mind was – who could be bothered. I already have over 100 channels with names that would mean nothing to advertisers and the thought of going through them all and renaming and thinking them through isn’t particularly appealing.
  • I also immediately wondered whether this could lead to decrease competition for bidding on ads on ad units that were not quite as prominent (decreased competition means decreased ad value).
  • On the flip side this could cause a bidding war on highly visible and sought after ad spots – increasing the cost per click. Smart publishers will probably set up targetable channels for their best ad positions.
  • Then I wondered whether advertisers could be bothered with this level of targeting. Although – I suppose AdSense have tested this and found that it is something advertisers want.
  • It’ll only really work though if publishers use the channels. I think AdSense have a task in front of them to get this to happen and they’ll need to prove its worth/benefits

Do you think you’ll use them?

There’s a little more information on targetable channels and how to set them up on this help page at AdSense.

Linkbucks Beta

LinkbucksAnother new advertising system that is causing a bit of a buzz at the moment is

It’s currently in beta (isn’t everything these days?) and has a different model to many others (one I’m not sure I’d use personally).

From what I can tell – LinkBucks is different because it doesn’t actually require you to place any ads on your site at all. Instead you insert code into your blog that displays ads after readers leave your blog either as an intermission ad (an ad that momentarily shows up before readers get to the new site) or as a banner ad showing at the top of the next site.

I’m not really a fan of this type of advertising as it interrupts a reader’s experience and publishers using it run the risk of annoying those using their site (ironically one of the benefits that Linkbucks mentions of their system is that it helps you ‘Extra Money without annoying people’).

Payment isn’t that lucrative either at $1 per 5000 top banner impressions or $1 per 3500 intermission impressions – that’s a pretty low CPM, especially with such an intrusive type of advertising.

BlogBurst Announces Rewards Program

Blogburst-1BlogBurst has come out of Beta testing and is entering into a ‘commercial offering’ and has announced to it’s bloggers that they are instituting a Rewards Program.

For those who don’t remember – BlogBurst is a system that gives bloggers exposure in main stream media’s online sites. They sell your content to online newspapers which until this point ‘paid’ you with a byline and link back to your blog.

Now however they’ll be paying their Top 100 bloggers with a payment system that is quite different to anything I’ve seen before in the blogosphere. They are basing their rewards program upon a system like the PGA leaderboard where there is an amount that will be paid out each quarter which will be split between the top 100 in a prearranged way.

Position 1 will earn $1500, position 2 $1250, position 3 $1150 right down to positions 81-100 earning $50.

It’s an interesting model and will of course appeal to their top bloggers and put offside a lot of the smaller publishers.

The actual numbers seem smallish to me (remember they are paying these amounts for 3 months rather than monthly) but then again I’m not privy to knowing how much of a blogger’s content is actually used in that time. If it’s just a few articles then it’d be fine but I’m not sure I’d want to be seeing my content appear on other sites regularly for around $16 per day ($1500 divided by 90 days).

[Read more…]

Blog Hosting Recommendations

A number of readers have sent me emails in the last few days asking for advice on blog hosts.

I’ve always had my hosting through a private arrangement with a friend – so I’m not the best person to ask for recommendations – so I thought I’d open it up for readers to make suggestions.

Who do you use? What do you think of them? What advice would you give someone shopping for a host for their new blog?

Skype 3.0 Beta – A Bloggers Paradise

Skype 3.0 (for Windows) has just been released in Beta and there is plenty for bloggers to be excited about in the new features being added.

Click to Call – The new release includes ‘Click to Call’ which allows website owners to put an icon on their blog or site which allows readers to simply click it to call the site owner via Skype (I can just see my productivity levels plummeting! This will be useful for many – although larger website owners could end up spending most of their day on skype.

One addition I’d love to see added would be to add a way to charge for skype calls for consulting work. To be able to have this ‘click to call’ functionality but to be able to charge per minute/hour etc and have the money earned go into a PayPal account would be an interesting feature to see added. Surely integration with PayPal is on the cards as both Skype and PayPal are owned by the eBay team.

Win3 Splash

Public Chats – Also in this release is ‘Public Chats’ which are text based chat rooms available to anyone with Skype to enter (think IRC chat rooms and you’ll be on the right track). There will be moderation and the ability to promote your Public Chats via a link from your site. There are obvious applications here for bloggers wanting to create community interaction among readers.

Skypecasts – This was already in beta testing but looks to be being made available to a wider group of Skype readers. Skypecasts are really conference calls of up to 100 participants – controlled by a central moderator. Once again these can be promoted on a website or blog and i see plenty of applications both on blogs but also as a blog network operator trying to pull together bloggers for training sessions. Again – adding a way to charge participants to join calls would be of interest to many bloggers who would use it to run e-courses.

Skype 3.0 has other improvements to user interface and has the ability to show your ‘favorite links’ in your mood message (something bloggers will again love). Of course those of us on Skype for Mac and Linux will be a while off seeing most of this. Us Mac users are only just past Skype 2.0 and have only just had a stable version with video so I’m suspecting some of the above could take a while to see on our desktops.

LoudLaunch to Launch and PayPerPost Accused of Manufacturing Controversy

Loud-LaunchLoudLaunch is yet another service that is aiming to connect bloggers with advertisers. They don’t really give any information about it on their site yet but already there are comparisons to the controversial PayPerPost. It’ll be interesting to see what they’ve learned from the PayPerPost fiasco.

Is PayPerPost Manufacturing Controversy?

Interestingly enough I was chatting with two people (update: it’s now three) who have strong connections with PayPerPost over the last few days and they told me that the ‘controversy’ that has surrounded them has actually been manufactured as a strategy to cause buzz.

My sources tells me that PayPerPost have been creating and even fueling the controversy but have already got things in the pipeline that will change public perception of them and appeal to the wider blogging community.

They claim that PPP has been manipulating the blogosphere and every time a high profile blogger comes out against them that the PPP team silently cheers them on.

Interestingly they also claim that PPP has already gathered a large number of bloggers who support their service. I guess even scathing critiques of their service from A-listers (like TechCrunch) is enough for a certain percentage of their readers to sign up.

Sounds like ‘link bait’ on a fairly major scale.

Performancing Partners to Add New Advertiser Options – Beta Testers Wanted

Performancing are Looking for a few beta testers for a new feature that they’re adding to their new Partners Ad Network. The test seems to be allowing advertisers to use text ads instead of having to make the 125 x 125 pixel ads currently in the system. While I quite like the 125 x 125 ads as they currently are it makes sense to offer advertisers a variety of options as an incentive to use their system.

I’ve been lucky enough to attract 4 advertisers so far using Performaning’s Partners program (there are still two ad spots left for sale for the month) but am hearing that this is not the norm for most publishers so far. From what I can see there have been new advertisers taking out ads over the last few days but I would think it is going to take a number of months for things to really ramp up and would advise publishers to be patient and not pin all their hopes on the one ad system. My approach has been to add a couple of my blogs to give them the opportunity to attract advertisers – but to also run other ad programs simultaneously (including BlogAds). In time I’m hopeful that advertisers will continue to come on board as it is a system with real potential.

I’m also thinking of becoming an advertiser also. I’ve previously used BlogAds to advertise key posts on my blogs and had real success. As I look around the Performancing advertisers section I can see some real value on offer in terms of potential sites to place an ad and in the coming days will probably dip my toe in the water and give it a go. I generally look for medium sized blogs to advertise on – blogs that are highly targeted to the niche of the site I’m advertising, blogs that have the ads in a good position (the higher on the page the better) and blogs that are well priced (I notice quite a few bloggers are choosing to price their blogs attractively in the hope of getting advertisers interested). I’ll give it a go later in the week and report back how I go.

Speedlinking – 9 November 2006

  • The AdSense blog tells publishers what advertisers have known for a month or two now – that they’re basing how much they charge for ads on the quality of the landing page. This apparently means a ‘higher quality’ of ad should be being seen on our sites. While I’m all for quality ads it does make me wonder whether it also means less advertisers bidding for ads in the system and as a result a lower cost per click. Time will tell.
  • David is thinking of Starting his personal Blog Over and talks us through how he’s going to do it and some of the thinking behind it.
  • TypePad Hacks is talking about keeping readers happy with Fast-Loading blogs.
  • In the news here in Australia today is that Google has come out and said that new laws proposed by the Australian Federal Government could cause the internet to ‘promptly grind to a halt’. The full story is here.
  • Tim writes a post asking (and answering the question) What Does it Mean to Be a “Good Blogger”?

Chitika Add New Sizes to ShopClouds

Chitika have added new sizes to their ShopCloud$ ad unit (read my intro to them here).They now not only come in a 468×180 size ad but also:

• 300×250
• 250×250
• 160×600
• 160×160
• 120×600