Friday, September 17, 2004

Blocking ad-blockers

There is another discussion raving on sitepoint today. It's about subverting pop-up blockers.

My stance on blocking people with ad-blockers has always been strongly and firmly:

If you have a lot of people coming to your web site, find out how to make money on them. Don't turn them away, you goddamn idiot.

It's not good business sense, unless you are shooting for exclusivity, which you are most likely not.

As a busienss owner, you should react to consumer trends and react to them as soon as possible. There is a very strong trend away from popups, and even from web advertising as we know it in general. In fact, the trend has been in-your-face-waving-with-lit-fireworks for the last two years. Sitepoint saw this trend quite some time ago, and has thus moved to the way more stable and profitable model of book publishing. While other webmaster sites are making peanuts, Sitepoint is making millions. They don't have skyscrapers. They don't have a fastclick popunders. They don't have banners. They don't use adsense. I remember Matt saying that the adsense revenue was pathetic, and not worth keeping on the forums, which tells a lot about what they make from their books.

Move your business model away from advertising as soon as you can. It's ridiculously competitive, risly and it's almost impossible to grow your business with it. As aspen so eloquently put it once, eCommerce is where it's at. As long as you are advertising other peoples products, you are just getting breadcrumbs. Go for the loaf instead.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Mattias Take on the Future of online advertising

What I believe will happen with Online advertising.

Or rather, what the smart people will do.

Recently, Microsoft has released SP2 for Windows XP, which includes a popup blocker. Most likely, this will eventually lead to the demise of popups in the market. Now, what advertising formats will prevail in future?

Well, I don’t rightly know. I do know how to advertise well, though.

Why most online advertising is a waste of money
Answer: Simply because it’s delivered at the wrong time.

The problem: You probably know that a surfer is almost always looking for some specific piece of information (what is the name of the king of Uzbeigrablahan) or to perform a specific task (play an online game, watch a little movie, check email). When the surfer is on a mission, it doesn’t matter how much flash banners, interstials or popups you throw at her. She’s on a mission, and no advertising in the world is going to prevent her from accomplishing that mission, even if she is a little interested in your product.

If you place an ad in front of a surfer that is on a mission, she will, at best, take notice of your ad, and think “hey, that’s interesting, I have to check out that later”. She will then proceed on her mission and forget about even seeing your ad, because like the average citizen, she is bombarded by over 20 000 advertising messages every day, and can’t be bothered to remember your ad.

The solution is, of course, to deliver your advertising message just when the surfer is done with her mission. At the end of an article, after the highscore of a game, after the user have signed up for a newsletter, whatever. But DON’T try to interrupt a user when she’s on her mission. It’s a waste of advertising dollars. You want the interruption to occur when she’s not completely focused on something else.

As such, you can understand why I think the biggest stupidity in the entire industry is rotating ads. You know, the FastClick kind that appear randomly on web sites. I have countless times seen an interesting ad while I was looking for some other information, thought “Hm, interesting!” and then went on to find who’s the King of Uzbeigrablahan was. After I was done there, I clicked “back” to check out that ad I saw before, only to find out IT’S NOT THERE anymore, because the stupid idiot people who dares call themselves “marketers” ROTATES IT. Argh! They are simply just shooting their advertising wildly everywhere in the hope that is will hit someone. It you ever tried to advertise via this channel of advertising, you know how badly it works.

So, what do I think is the ideal kind of advertising? Well, the kind that follows the visitor around for the entire visit. Even better - for several visits. You need follow the surfer along her path, pacing her unobtrusively, until she is ready to accept your interruption. Amazon has done this with flash ads that pop onto the screen and then “minimize” themselves into the menu, so that the user can act on it when she is ready to do so. I recently purchased a simple GIF 468px banner on a community site. The unique thing about it was that it was there for the entire session of the surfer, and it was the only ad on the site. 12% CTR the first week. If you check out GameSpot right now, you’ll see that they have a “The Sims 2” ad heavily integrated into their design at the top, which follows you around for the entire visit. While you’re at it – check out the videos. They have a sponsor message in the beginning of the movie, and then have the ad sitting on the right of the movie, ready for clicking when you’ve watched the movie.

Friday, September 03, 2004


I just saw that Jeremy Wright over at Ensight linked to me, which is great, because he has 4 hojillion pageviews per second and he wields the power to summon Robert Scoble and have him attack at whim.

Ensight feed below. Subscribe.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

iTunes Affiliate Program

That's about time.

$.05 per sale is really crappy, but you've got to start somewhere, I guess. Since the purchase is so small and people already know of the service (they have iTunes and an account) the conversion and click-thru rate is most likely going to be very good.

I will eat my hat if this kind of affiliate programs don't result in a huge increase of music and lyrics directories.