FTW Media

Thoughts about New/Social Media

New form of online ad

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Online publications and social media companies are struggling desperately to find business models. Some are considering charging for content or services. Others are aggressively going down the online advertising path.

I personally prefer the latter – online ads – as a means to generate revenues for websites. The rationale is simple: People have grown to expect free things from the Web. We can fight it and groan about it all we want but at the end of the day, people will still free content and services. That will never change.

Yes, some people will pay for some niche content (WSJ.com is an example and so is Economist.com, which I subscribe to) but on the whole people expect free content. So, what do you do? Advertising.

Traditional banner ads are passe. There needs to be new kinds of ads. Digg has decided to try an innovative new scheme called Digg ads. This is basically how it works: The more an ad is “Dugg”, the less the advertiser has to pay. Conversely the more it is buried, the more the advertiser is charged (yes, eventually it’ll be too costly to the point that the advertiser drops out).

This encourages advertisers to be more creative and come out with ads that are not only eye-catching but relevant and useful for the reader. It’s not true that people hate ads. Many people buy the print version of The Star just to get the ads. People used to buy Malay Mail for the classified ads.

I certainly don’t mind the recommendations that Amazon.com gives me – those are a kind of ad. Why? Because they are relevant to what I want.

According to the official Digg blog, the goal is to give advertisers a way to present content related to their brands and get immediate input on whether it’s relevant to the Digg audience, or not.

Our goal for Digg Ads is to create a better experience by giving you more control over advertising content that appears on Digg… This is an exciting step for Digg as we work to create a compelling, innovative advertising experience for our community and the industry at large.

Will this work? Of course time will tell but I like it. It’s advertiser-friendly and it’s reader-friendly. Advertisers who are successful pay a lower rate and readers obviously don’t mind those successful ads because they are the ones who are litterally “Digging” them.


Written by Oon Yeoh

June 6, 2009 at 12:34 pm

Posted in New Media

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