Saturday, August 28, 2004

Sell Side Advertising, Part II

Seems like this is an idea that's going quickly around the web. Joi Ito wants to b e in the middle of the creation of a Sell side advertising system.

The thought of a pool of ads, that bloggers could choose and use, is the next step beyond an ad sense system.

What would it take to set a system like this up? I suspect that some affiliate tracking software could be tweaked to do quite nicely.

Trackback in Your Blogger Blog?

There was a great suggestion by a member of the Cre8asite Forums that I'd like to share.

One of the things I've wished for in my Blogger-based blog was a track-back like the folks at Movable Type blogs have.

I never noticed the wish/suggestions part of the feedback form that Blogger titles Blogger: Talk To Us.

If you use blogger, and you're wishing you had trackback, it's more likely to happen if you ask for it from the people who can give it to you - Blogger.

Pick Your Own Ads

Imagine that you decided to try to make some money on your web site by running some ads.

So, you go to a page where ads are available to be chosen, and used, and you pick out three or four that are appropriate to your site.

You check to make sure that your site is appropriate for the uses envisioned by the advertiser, and if it is, you cut and paste the code for those ads into a text editing program, and then into the template for your blog, or the html for your static web site.

The ad runs until the owner's cash reserve is emptied - then the ad disappears.

This is more work than something offered by some text-ad programs, but owners of sites get to choose the ads that run on their sites. There's a lot of value to that.

Will we ever see this model of advertising? I hope so. It's described in more detail on John Battelle's Searchblog: Sell Side Advertising: A New Model?

There's a lot of value to being able to choose your business partners. It's always possible to find them on your own, but not really easy. Unfortunately, most systems for showing ads are accompanied by adhesion contracts where the large company supplying the ads have all the power, and all of the say, and the people displaying the ads have no ability to negotiate.

I've had troubles with automated, contextual ads from one of the large online booksellers showing products from competitors. (Fortunately, you could choose which books to display from them rather than just use the contextual system.) I'd once signed up with a large reseller of hosting and domain services to act as an affiliate, only to get so disgusted by their practices that I yanked all links to them, and never contacted them ever again.

It would be great if someone set up an advertising clearinghouse where people could select the ads they wanted to show quickly and easily.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Google Hate Me

[There's an update to this post titled: Apologies to Google and Blogger It was an error on my part that caused this misunderstanding between the Google AdSense team and me.]

Excited is what I was, by the Biz Stone article There's AdSense in My Blog.

Actually, there was Adsense in my blog since the day Google bought Blogger, and put it in the header at the top of my blog. I have been AdSense free ever since last week, when those ads were replaced with a Blogger Nav Bar.

And then there was this Biz Stone article.

I've sent an email to Biz asking him to remove his article on ad sense from the Blogger Knowledge base. Biz does work for the company that claimed in its IPO filing with the SEC that they follow the credo "Do No Evil." Still I don't know if they would be happy if he removed the article. I wouldn't want him to take the food off the table of his children for doing the right thing. But I suspect that I'm not the only one being treated badly by Google.

I guess that Google hates this site. Or they do now. I don't blame them. It's typical of a lot of blogs. I suspect it doesn't get as many visits as Biz Stone, Genius which displays AdSense ads, even though he says at the bottom of the blog, "The thoughts and ideas expressed here are mine and mine alone. Not those of my employer."

And frankly, Biz has a lot more "my cat's breath smells like catfood" posts than I do.

Mark Pilgrim's wonderful blog, Dive into Mark explains the difference between a corporate blog and a personal blog, telling us:

So, I have a corporate blog now, in addition to "dive into mark," which will remain a personal blog. A corporate blog is like a personal blog, except you don't get to use the word "motherfucker."

I never use those types of words here. It's not because this is a personal blog, or a corporate blog, but rather because I think that type of language is a tired cliche.

As excited as I was to read Biz Stone's article, I was even more excited when I received the response from Google fairly quickly after I followed the link in Mr. Stone's article to Google's sign-on for adsense. After reading what I now take for fiction in the Biz Stone article, I figured that my adsense ads would return, but this time I would get paid for click-throughs on them.

I imagine that I haven't made much money for Google over the last year or so. But, I had these visions of writing long, beautiful essays here to attract large audiences, and massive amounts of clickthroughs - you know, like the daydreams you have when you pretend you've won the $100 million jackpot in the lottery.

While that seems like a silly pipe dream, I suspect that between blog posts and forum posts, I've probably written around 500,000 words on the web over the past couple of years.

But my site is a personal site. And I use blogger software to publish it - blogger. Oddly, that seems to be one of the reasons why my site was denied. I'm not sure. I don't quite understand this reason:

Client-side software use: A site or third party cannot display our ads as a result of the actions of any software application such as a toolbar. We may not accept sites that are associated with some types of client-side software or offer these types of client-side software.

The other reason was insulting, and infuriating:

Page type: Your website is a type of website that we do not currently accept into our program. Such websites include, but are not limited to, chat sites, personal pages, search engines, sites that contain predominately copyrighted material, and sites that drive traffic through cybersquatting.

I'm not sure if I'm being accused of having a personal site, but it's less personal that that of Biz Stone, Genius. It's not a chat site, or a search engine.

I'm not a cybersquatter. At least not intentionally. For one thing, the domain is "blogspot" which belongs to Google, so if anyone is cybersquatting here, under the ICANN definition, it would be the holder of the domain name.

But, I'll look at the subdomain, too. There were some trademarks with the word "nasty" in them at the US Patent and Trademark Office, such as these:


Actually, there were 131 trademarks listed which included the word "nasty." I can only imagine what services or goods some of them protected. Not a single one of those is "nastybit" or "a Nasty bit of business". Now I know that I would likely have to look at state trademark databases and common law trademarks and first use in commerce, if anyone is even using those phrases in commerce. But, to the best of my knowledge, I have a good faith belief that there is no one I am depriving of their livelihood nor harming anyone's good will by using this domain name.

So, it's either that I have a "personal" site, or the site contains "predominately copyrighted material." I confess. This site contains predominately copyrighted material.

As soon as I write it, and publish it, it is copyrighted. All of it.

If I use a quote here, I try to limit my use of other's materials to fair use. I suspect that Google means someone else's copyrighted material. So, I'm either being accused of being a thief or writing a personal site.

I'm ready to use the types of words Mark Pilgrim mentioned above after being told that.

Funny that there was no problem last week displaying Ad Sense ads on these pages.

I asked for an apology after being told this. It's never a good customer service approach to accuse your customers of theft or cybersquatting or writing personal web pages.

I was told that I would be violating the terms of use of the Google Ad Sense program if I repeated any of the correspondence between Google and myself in public.

What I remember of my first year of law school contracts class is that there needs to be offer and acceptance to have a valid contract. There is no acceptance, so there is no contract.

I also picked through the boilerplate on the adsense contract page they pointed to, and tried to find out where it said that I couldn't talk about a conversation that I was a party to. I did not agree to that contract.

I never agreed to the Adsense ads on the blog when Google took over.

Granted, Google has a right to choose whichever sites they want to when they want to advertise. Honestly, I would have been happy with a "your site doesn't do enough traffic" or something similar. But, to call me a content thief, or a cybersquatter, and to make legal threats in my direction doesn't fit the method of operation of a company that swears to "do no evil."

If this site disappears, I may have to find some new blogging software, and a new place to blog.

I liked google, and I liked blogger.