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The Narrow River of Content

Winthrop Yu, former head honcho of PC Magazine Philippines led me to this Forbes piece on how specialist blogs are stealing rich advertising from tech media – and I don’t just mean traditional tech publications, but their online counterparts also. In other words, if I were an advertiser, I’d actually see more value in putting ads in TechCrunch and Engadget than in CNET, PC Magazine and its online PC Mag website.

What?! Why the online counterparts? Because the surfing public is smarter now. They use popup ad blockers to get rid of annoying and unwanted ads that cram content into a funnel, you’d be forced to sprawl a 600 word article into 4 pages just to get more page views.

According to the article, Google Search revolutionized advertising, as searching for content in the form of products and services proved to bring in a sense of “demand” from the consumer and contextually targeting advertising to match content. Hence, Google AdSense is raking in tons of cash from just technology blogs alone.

In the “old model” of print, you’d need a publishing house and a printing press as well as your editorial, sales and marketing staff to run the business. On the web, you barely need an office. You don’t even need a sales team as the consumers themselves target ads for you via contextual search.

OK hold on. Before this post grows into a “new vs traditional media” rant, I kid you not, it isn’t. Let’s talk about traditional web sites.

The problem with traditional web sites is that they aren’t very generous with giving the reader a very pleasurable browsing experience. With all the popups and “funneled content” between columns of advertising, it looks almost as if the editorial team is being bullied over by sales, generating tons of banner ad spaces because they’re “virtual” anyway.

With the way blogs are formatted, you have a huge ass column of rich content with contextual advertising on the sides. Basically, that’s it. Why is there no need for so much ad space? Well, the answer is simple if you really think about it. Traditional websites have huge costs to cover. They have a sizable full time staff, an office space, and other offline business components.

On the other hand, all a blog network needs is a server housed in a bomb shelter somewhere, a guy to run it, a blogging platform, and passionate guys who can upload content from time to time.

What I’m really trying to say is that blogs are becoming more attractive advertising platforms because they are more generous with the information they provide in a single click as compared to traditional tech websites that flood the browser with very little content per click to begin with.

By Jayvee Fernandez

Jayvee Fernandez is a tech enthusiast, EAN certified SCUBA Diver and underwater photographer based in Metro Manila, Philippines. His photos and videos have appeared in various international and local publications including Random House Germany, Discovery Channel Canada, and CNN.

8 replies on “The Narrow River of Content”

True and perhaps this is the reason why a number of the big media websites have set-up blogs and podcasts inside or on the periphery of their website.Also if you notice in some of the big media websites there always seems to be a change in the page layout from time to time. Maybe an effort to adapt to the times.

Operations of the big Media companies also seem to be changing. Instead of maintaining big staff to manage stuff a number of them have opted to outsource locally and internationally -drastically cutting down costs. Not as economic as a blog network or a blogger but they are getting there – one way or the other.

Basically, I agree with your observations. I would just like to add though that the big media company is also a learning animal – it will and has been adapting to the times.

I don’t think that the line that draws between “traditional websites” and “blogs” are defined by the advertising platform. The ad platform is independent of any form of new media. Whether or not it’s a static website or a blog, these ad platform can be applied to either of them.

I see tons of blogs running Kontera intext ads, or blog networks employing AdBrite’s intestitial ads (in your face floating ads).

there is a line on the contrary – it is defined by traditional media ad models that inculcate websites in their media package for added exposure.

The same ad models used by traditional media are now also being used by blogs and blog networks. I believe it is because the online advertising model has already matured with traditional media and with blogs, it’s only just beginning.

Besides, it’s the advertisers that choose the real estate and not the other way around. Meaning, you can’t employ pop-unders or the likes if no advertiser (yet) wants to do that with blogs.

For one newspaper website I know very well traditional ads still bring in huge amounts of revenues. Maybe that is the reason why said company invests heavily on a sales force that sells ads.

Exactly. The fact that “it’s not always true”, means that it’s sometimes true. And during those times that it’s true, the ad model cuts across all web properties — static, blogs, web 2.0 and eventually web 3.0. The delineation becomes moot and academic.

i re-read your first comment and realized that i was arguing about something else.

blogs didnt proliferate because of traditional advertising. they did so because of google adsense.

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