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Concessions To The Pioneer Woman: Is BlogHer Giving More Ads To The Pioneer Woman At Our Expense?

Concessions To The Pioneer Woman: Is BlogHer Giving More Ads To The Pioneer Woman At Our Expense?

Pioneer Woman doesn't have to post links

A little birdie called my attention to this post at My Sister’s Farmhouse alleging that there are some kind of shady dealings going on with the recent contract made between BlogHer Ads and Ree Drummond, aka The Pioneer Woman. I decided to take a look for myself, since the goings on of advertising in the blogosphere is of major concern to me, and since the other post on this topic seems to have been pigeonholed by the standard-issue “you’re just bitter and jealous” accusations, I thought perhaps I could try to present a more balanced evaluation of the controversy. What follows is my stab at trying to be fair to everyone involved and not jumping to conclusions or betraying any kind of biases. Still, in the interest of full disclosure, please note that I am a member of the BlogHer Ad network, and that all of the ABDPBT blogs currently run BlogHer ads.

Input From BlogHer Brass And The P-Dub Herself

Before posting this, I first attempted to make contact with five different BlogHer and BlogHer Ads employees (via both Twitter and email) and received no response. After that, I emailed all three of the founders of BlogHer individually to see if they wanted to weigh in on the allegations made against them. Elisa Camhort Page wrote me back to let me know that BlogHer is, at present, in the process of drafting a “message to members” in response to the several inquiries that have been made about the BlogHer/PW deal and its impact on the rest of the BlogHer Ad network. She said that we (BlogHer Ad network members, that is) should be hearing something from them soon — a response that is encouraging at the same time as it raises more questions than it answers (e.g. “Why would it take more than a few minutes to draft a response if everything is on the up and up?” or “Should I take from this that you have a response that needs to be OK’d by a lawyer first?” or “Is this going to require a lot of reading on my part?” &c.) Update: Here is BlogHer’s Statement.)

As for Ree, she was kind enough to respond to my email asking for her comment promptly, letting me know that she would give me a response once she was done dealing with “kids and cows” for the evening. (I have to say, it is really hard not to be charmed by that woman, even when you’re like me, and there’s just a black piece of coal where your heart is supposed to be.) When she was able to respond at length, Ree had this to say, which struck me as a genuine sentiment, for what it is worth:

I am currently working with both BlogHer and Federated Media on advertising for the various sections of Pioneer Woman. My decision to begin working with BlogHer was not based on any sort of sweet deal (the agreement seemed very standard to me), but on the desire to find a good fit for Pioneer Woman and its readership and, frankly, to be part of a network of mostly women authors. And if my site can in any way contribute to helping BlogHer attract quality advertisers and great campaigns for the network, all the better. In fact, that’s what I’m hoping for.

Some Allegations We Can Settle Up Front

The complaints leveled by Rechelle of My Sister’s Farmhouse (as well as through some rumors that are circulating on Twitter and elsewhere) include: 1) the Pioneer Woman is getting special treatment from BlogHer and is not being made to adhere to the same standards as are the rest of the publishers in the network; 2) that BlogHer has bestowed The Pioneer Woman with privileges that allow her to ipso facto control how many ads she serves on ThePioneerWoman.com in a given time period, often to the detriment of other BlogHer Ad network members; and 3) that the Pioneer Woman has been given more control over the identity of the other sites/other bloggers that are promoted on her site in the form of BlogHer headlines. (Jibberish? Read about the anatomy of a BlogHer ad here.)

Make no mistake: it’s my opinion that Ree Drummond should absolutely be given special treatment by BlogHer Ads, because her site is a huge moneymaker and it’s a big deal for her to be part of the BlogHer network, and besides, there is a stipulation in the BlogHerAds Affiliation Agreement that allows for such a situation, viz., that any publisher who serves more than one million impressions per month shall receive a higher cut of ad earnings than do the rest of the publishers.

Another complaint was that Pioneer Woman is allowed to run other ads on her pages above the fold, and the general (incorrect) assumption is that other BlogHer ad network members are not allowed to run other ads above the fold when they are on the BlogHer ad network. This is not true, according to Section (I)9(ii), which says that a publisher can run another ad above the fold in the event that BlogHer cannot offer another ad at the same CPM or higher. This can continue until BlogHer is able to bring the price up to match the other ad network (To read the actual text of the BlogHer Ad Affiliation Agreement, please click here.)

So to review, the contract that we all signed allows that Pioneer Woman should get a bigger cut of the ad revenue, and says that she can run Federated Media ads for as long as they are paying out at a higher rate than what BlogHer is paying her. If your traffic increases dramatically, this might one day apply to you as well.

Allegations That Are A Little Trickier To Get Around

Some other complaints concern the use of headlines under BlogHer ads that promote other bloggers in the network. The claim was made that Pioneer Woman is choosing her own links, so that all of the bloggers pimped out on her site are her friends. There is no way to concretely prove that she handpicked the people, but we can definitely conclude that the Pioneer Woman’s links are being handled differently than are everyone else’s. For one thing, her links go to sites on cooking, parenting, and elsewhere — usually, one has to choose one area and have their links go to that area. But more importantly, there are BlogHer ads being run on The Pioneer Woman.com that don’t have the standard BlogHer links underneath them, which is a violation of BlogHer’s policy and this is a particular violation for which I have personally been busted before. Behold:
Pioneer Woman doesn't have to post links

My landing page would look a lot better if I didn’t have to run those stupid headline links, too, by the way — so, yeah, I’m a little bitter about this one. But let’s deal with the headlines that do appear on some of the other pages, shall we? These links are controlled by some javascript that is marked with topic and group numbers. The code on The Pioneer Woman’s site suggests that they are taking the headlines from a pool called “parenting 100.” This theory is in keeping with my own ad code, which pulls titles form “parenting 22.” The only difference is, if you go around to all of the posts linked on my site, they are also members of the “parenting 22” group. On ThePioneerWoman.com, the other bloggers are from both parenting and food networks, and there is no rhyme or reason to how they’re chosen, since in this example alone I’ve found “parenting 51,” “parenting 17,” and “food2” represented.

What does it mean? It means that they’ve created a new group for pulling headlines to be displayed on ThePioneerWoman.com, and this group draws from blogs in both the parenting and food networks, but this isn’t revolutionary, since her blog deals with both of those topics. What is unclear, though, is how it’s decided which blogs get featured in “Parenting 100,” and who chooses. But, as much as I’d like to stick my own blog in line for a slot in the Parenting 100 queue, the BlogHer Ad contract allows for the ability to determine these things at its own discretion. It’s an agreement we all signed, and as far as I can tell it’s not a problem.

Does The Pioneer Woman’s Site Take Ads Away From Us?

This is the allegation that concerns us all the most, and I believe it’s the most difficult to prove one way or the other. I was intrigued to write this post in part because, admittedly, it did seem as though I’ve been serving more click-throughs (a click-through is the ad that comes up when there are no spots available for a particular ad slot at a certain time; on those occasions, my ad spaces go either to Google ads or blanks; other people might serve PSAs or their own ads at that point) and house ads (ads for BlogHer itself, which pay like pretty much no money per impression) lately on ABDPBT. I believed it was credible that this could be happening, because the way BlogHer ads are served is that there are a certain number of ads released every 15 minutes, and it’s kind of first come, first served as far as who gets those ads. If you have a lot of people on your site while there are ads available, you might make more than someone else. This system has always favored the bloggers with higher traffic, of course, because it stands to reason that they would always have more people on their site refreshing the page. The thing is, up until now, there hasn’t been a huge discrepancy between BlogHer publishers and their traffic — at least not to this degree. The PioneerWoman.com serves as many as 12 million pageviews per month, with up to two ad impressions per pageview. She could take up all of the ad revenue on her own in every 15 minute period, easily, unless the people at BlogHer had segregated her into her own network.

The thing is, they might have done this. I have no way of knowing whether they did or not, without a statement from them. I have tried to find some kind of thread suggesting whether they have done this one way or the other to no avail. I have only my own gut reaction to go by, and my thoughts are this: it’s possible. It’s possible that they are serving her ads on the same system, and that this is affecting our bottom line. But it’s also possible that they have separated them, and put her on her own system with her own allotted number of ads. The problem is, I’m not sure that this system is much better, because if they did allot a certain number of ads to Pioneer Woman, that means she is being guaranteed a certain number of ads per period, whereas I’m not getting any such guarantee. But I have to say this: as far as I can tell, there is nothing in the ad agreement that precludes them from doing whatever they want with their ad contracts and the deals they give to individual bloggers. We might not like it, and it may not feel fair, but that doesn’t mean it’s a violation of the terms to which we agreed. That, my friends, is life.

Just as I was about to hit publish on this post, I got an email from BlogHer about their official statement. Here’s what they have to say about the number of ads affecting other publishers:

There is one special consideration that we keep top of mind as we work to develop relationships with advertisers and sponsors: Every time we add a large blog to the network, one of our first questions is how including the site might affect the rest of the network. This care may mean that we consider how much advertising we expect to have, and bring only certain, network-appropriate sections of that site into the network, or even delay membership until the impact of the added impressions will be minimal.

I suppose this is reassuring, but I would feel better if I had some kind of explicit explanation of how they plan to control the disbursement of individual ads. Because even if they don’t allow the other sections of ThePioneerWoman.com into my network, she’s still going to be getting a bagillion more hits than I am on parenting. I’m kinda hoping we’re not from the same pool, and this statement doesn’t do a whole lot to quell my fears. It kind of smacks of “Relax, kids, we’ve got it under control.” And I’ll tell you what: me no likey.

Where Do We Go From Here?

That said.

If you are frustrated by the policies of BlogHer or BlogHer ads, you have every right to yank your ads from the system. As a network, BlogHer Ads will suffer greatly if many of its authors pull out, because even with the big fish like Pioneer Woman, what appeals to advertisers about BlogHer (over, say, an ad network like Federated Media) is that there is a large number of blogs represented. They like big numbers. They don’t like small groups of publishers, even if they are “elite.” BlogHer Ads is nothing without the other 2,499 publishers who serve their ads, even if they don’t serve the majority of the impressions. Make no mistake: we are not powerless in this situation. But that does not mean we should act rashly. I think we need to calmly discuss the ramifications of this and give it some serious thought. To clarify, I am not calling for a boycott (DO NOT NOT BUY MAYTAG!), but I am calling for a more thoughtful consideration of the integrity of the partners with whom you choose to do business. I’m hoping in the comments we can have a constructive discussion about how this might be done.

Comments (36)

  1. Feb 10, 2010

    Thankyou for the well balanced response, I really like getting your take on things.

    This of course doesn’t affect me in the slightest, as I left BlogHer advertising a few months back. But it’s still interesting to watch and pay attention too, as so many of my friends are still running blogher ads.

  2. Linda
    Feb 11, 2010

    I recently joined the waitinglist over at blogher and one of the points they list is, and I quote: “that don’t belong to another ad network, requiring “above the fold” placement”.
    (http://www.blogherads.com/for-bloggers)

    Now I’m not familiar with Federated Media, but what I can find on google is that, like Blogher, they require above the fold advertisement.

    So according to Blogher’ own rules, her blog shouldn’t even have qualified for their network in the first place. So I’m really surprised to read about Section (I)9(ii).

  3. Feb 11, 2010

    It’s nice to see a journalistic approach to this for once.

    Here’s what I don’t get: how is it not a good thing for the people in the network when the network lands a big fish like PW? She lends credibility and visibility. Whether you like her blog or not (I can’t stand it, actually, although do I think I like her personally), you can’t ignore the fact that she’s successful. I’d always rather be in the company of successful people. It makes me look smart, and in my experience it increases the odds that I’ll be successful too.

    I’m glad to see that BlogHer is running their business like a business. I see a lot of people in the blogosphere who want to run things like a charity or a Campfire Girls troop or some other “let’s all be friends and share and share alike” kind of thing. Bullshit. If you’re in this for the hugs, that’s fine, but then don’t complain when other people are running a business and reaping the rewards of that approach.

    This reminds me of when I had employees complain that so-and-so makes more money. 99.999% of the time, it was because so-and-so was a better employee who worked harder and brought in more revenue. You want the same deal PW has? You have to perform like she does. People who are more successful get bigger rewards. That’s how it works.

    That said, I can see the concern about the ads running out because she’s sucking them all up. I don’t know how they’re doing it either, but I’m guessing they’ll come out and clarify in the near future. We have to remember that this is new territory for all of us, including them…and the posts elsewhere on this topic have been anything but a “calm discussion,” which doesn’t help at all.

  4. Feb 11, 2010

    Very well-done analysis, Anna. It would be nice to hear the fine-print details of the deal PW hammered out, but I do think that, baring the discovery of something truly biased, this lends credibility and success to the entire BlogHer network.

    As I was reading some of the more sour grapes posts and comments about this, it struck me that some bloggers seem to think there is an implied promise from BlogHer to make everyone rich, that BlogHer is some sort of service publishers hire to better their position in the blogosphere when it’s just an ad network. An ad network run by women largely for women, but a business no different than Federated Media. There’s a basic misunderstanding about what BlogHer does, which I think you cleared up nicely.

  5. Feb 11, 2010

    Those are the rules for the blogs they are looking for through a waiting list. Do you think that they are going to make a blog with 12 million hits a month wait on a waiting list? That is like expecting a scale actor to have the same contract as Angelina Jolie.

    Besides, that is a general description, not the nitty gritty of the contract itself. You could argue that they need to be clearer on that page, but I think that’s kind of hairsplitting.

    I’m not trying to be all pro-BlogHer or whatever, I’m just trying to get people to look at this beyond their emotional response.

  6. Feb 11, 2010

    Thanks for this. I’ve never managed to get into the BlogHer ad network, but this post is helpful even as general perspective on using ad networks. They all come with strings attached. Even the BlogHer “yay, we’re supporting women!” one.

    Also, you’re funny. (“DO NOT NOT BUY MAYTAG!”)

  7. Feb 11, 2010

    Agree. My major concern is really the ads being sucked up, because that might be a reason for me to leave the network. I’m not sure how they’re handling that issue and I’m not really reassured by the statement they released last night. I don’t fault them for it, but it may make me reconsider my partnership with them, simply because it takes money out of my pocket. I’m still mulling it over.

  8. Feb 11, 2010

    I did try to get the fine print details but was not able to do so from either party. There is, apparently, a confidentiality clause.

    🙂

  9. Feb 11, 2010

    Really? That’s crazy. I wonder why they wouldn’t let you in?

  10. Feb 11, 2010

    I received this comment via email:

    Hey, I don’t want to make a comment publicly, but I do want to point you to the BlogHer “Welcome Letter” which we are all required to sign (which makes it a contractual agreement with BlogHer) as well as their FAQs–both of which state that the blogs running in your headlines may not be chosen by the blogger. Period. It is clear that Ree has chosen her headline blogs. Unless anyone believes the coincidence that the blogs in her headlines are all her friends. (Evidenced by these people have been featured on her blogs in visits to her house etc plus they have long been among the relatively few blogs listed on her favorites and friends link pages.) Coincidence much? BlogHer is absolutely in violation of their stated polices if not their contract as well.

    Also, the Welcome Letter and FAQs state that all network members have equal access to advertising, so if a separate pool of ads has been set up for PW, that is also a violation and breach. (The affiliation agreement is not the end all be all of BlogHer’s promises to its publishers and we are required to sign that Welcome Letter like a contract, remember? It goes both ways. BlogHer has to abide by it, too.) Note that PW’s ad spaces are always full. Sure, she may well have opted out of PSAs and house ads, but then her spaces should run empty at the bottom of quarter hours when EVERYONE ELSE’S are running empty or PSAs or house ads and hers never do…. Hmmm. Coincidence much? I don’t see BlogHer addressing the real points, just making empty airy blah blah statements.

    Try checking PW at the bottom of any quarter hour. You can do it all day and she’s still running real paying ads. Then try other BlogHer publishers and see them running house ads or PSAs at the same time.

    his is not about whether or not BlogHer can have a special deal with PW. They can have all the special deals with her they want. It’s about whether or not BlogHer is fulfilling its contractual statements and policies to the REST OF US.

  11. Feb 11, 2010

    Good point, anonymous commenter.

  12. Feb 11, 2010

    Does the Welcome Letter/FAQ/Contract state that they’re not allowed to make a different deal with someone else? Because otherwise this makes no sense to me.

    Your contract says you can’t pick the headlines. You’re not picking the headlines. Contract fulfilled.

    Clearly her contract doesn’t say that…so nobody’s violating anything.

    This is like saying, “My offer letter said the company was going to pay me $100K, but I found out they’re paying him $110K.” Apples and oranges. Your contract is with you–not with anyone else.

    If there’s a “bias,” good. There SHOULD be a bias on the basis of performance. It SHOULD be unfair on the basis of performance. If they paid everyone the same, and treated everyone the same, it would be called “communism.” Also “stupid.” People who bring in more money get treated better. Otherwise, what’s the point of bringing in more money?

    BlogHer isn’t a writer’s support group. It’s a business.

  13. Feb 11, 2010

    I don’t have copies of the things she’s talking about. I would be willing to bet there is a contingency in the language for there being separate contracts for other bloggers. I would guess it does not say anything like “all network bloggers have equal access” and instead says something like, “by signing this, you agree that YOU will not have control over the headlines.”

    Does anybody have copies? If you send them to me via email I will post and not reveal your identity or anything.

  14. Feb 11, 2010

    Right. I’d like to see those docs. I’ll look around here, but I don’t think I have them. I really think they would have allowed for this contingency, though — you have to imagine they’ve been hoping to get PW or somebody like her on BlogHer from the beginning, and were allowing for that possibility.

  15. Feb 11, 2010

    I just send you my welcome letter, which was from last May.

  16. Feb 11, 2010

    Thanks to the person who sent me the welcome letter. I’m going to post it in its entirety, but here’s the part about headlines:

    “One of our favorite features of the BlogHerAds network is our headline rotation. When we approve your site, we select a category that best fits your content, and assign you to a group within a topical network. There are typically about 30 blogs in each group – some large, and some small. While you may not select your own group, Jenifer and I do our best to pair your site with other great blogs that you and your readers will enjoy.”

    While YOU may not select your own group. It does not say “while no BlogHer ad network blogger is allowed to choose their own group.”

    The bit about inventory is also careful to use the word “you”:
    strive to fill your ad units with the highest quality, best paid ads. Periodic inventory fluxuations are inevitable, but our sales team has established important relationships that will keep the ads flowing to your blog.
    We will keep you updated on new campaigns in our weekly newsletter, and of course, we welcome any questions.

    They will strive to keep the ads flowing to YOUR blog. Doesn’t say what they’re going to do with PW’s blog.

  17. Feb 11, 2010

    Thanks, Kerry.

    Here’s the entire text:

    http://www.abdpbt.com/blogher-welcome-letter/

    The gist is that they use the word “you” instead of “all bloggers” and that there’s nothing to indicate that this is the only welcome letter sent to anybody.

  18. I have BlogHer ads on my site and have been a BlogHer attendee since 2005, the very beginning. I am a blogger on teeny, sub-atomic, microscopic levels. With my last check, bought a new kitty litter box for my cats. ‘Tis sad, I know.

    Conversely? Pioneer Woman is a blogger on astronomic levels. As already noted, BlogHer is a Business. I think bringing on Pioneer Woman is good business. The gals that run BlogHer are business women (one of whom I have had extremely positive interactions with every single time I have met with her.) I seriously doubt that PW is going to “drain” all of the ads from the rest of the network. If the network implodes, what good would that be to anyone?

    While I AM disappointed in BlogHer’s ambiguous, one-size-fits-all response, I am not surprised that it was carefully crafted. This is BUSINESS. Not some extracurricular blogging club where we braid our hair, give each other mani/pedis and gossip about boyz. Oh sure, some of us are buying poo bins for our pets and others are supporting their families, but it is still a business.

    Overall, it seems obvious that this is just another reason to hate PW and bring out the torches. Listen, I could care less about PW. The only interest she holds for me is that also hails from Bartlesville, as does my mother and family. Otherwise, I think she is boring, her photos are overdone and I don’t cook enough White People Food to warrant buying her book. Gol-durn it! 🙂

    I cannot say that I am excited! tickled pink! that PW came on board. Most certainly, I am cautious. But I do have some faith in the BlogHer gals that they know what they are doing. Overall, I think it makes logical and fiscal sense to give a blogger who brings in MILLIONS of impressions with her a special, sparkly deal. And folks are surprised?? Really? It is called BlogHER, not BlogTOPIA.

  19. Feb 11, 2010

    The picking of the headlines thing may very well be on the up and up, but what of the anonymous commenter’s claim that PW gets all paying ads and no house ads or PSAs? Has anyone had the time to monitor PW on the quarter hour?

    Sure, it would be nice to see one’s own blog promoted on PW, but there is no promise in anyone’s contract with BlogHer that we’ll get X amount of traffic from that practice. It’s the type of ads and amount of ads PW gets that BlogHer needs to be upfront about because that does affect the contract everyone else signed with BlogHer. (Assuming there are two contracts in play here — PW’s and everyone else’s.)

  20. Feb 11, 2010

    The welcome letter says that they will do their best to keep premium ads coming to “your” site. When there are not any available, they will show house ads or PSAs. They don’t say anything about what they will do with individual bloggers, so they might have a different deal with PW. I did see some house ads on PW, but I haven’t been watching it enough to see if there are any click-throughs or PSAs.

    I absolutely believe that PW would have allowed for this situation in any contract she signed, because I believe unsold inventory was part of the problem she had with FM. Like I said in the post when I first noticed she had switched, PW had been running blanks for a while, enough so that I had noticed it. They were having trouble keeping up with her over there, I think.

  21. Feb 11, 2010

    Have we determined if the reference to “Heather Armstrong [having] her own show” with HGTV was an insider’s spilling-of-the-beans or just a really inaccurate way of wording the deal with HGTV yet? I have no news from BlogHer.

  22. Feb 11, 2010

    That is the part I found waaaay more interesting than the ad thing. I’m dying to know if it’s speculation or fact (even though I’m 98% sure that that’s exactly what she’s doing).

  23. Feb 11, 2010

    Someone on Twitter said they saw her on HGTV recently, but there was no context or details. I thought it was mighty soon after that press release for them to be running promos of a show. Didn’t that press release say she’d be “developing” content? That’s a far cry from “we already have some episodes in the can.”

  24. Feb 11, 2010

    My dealings with BlogHer over the years have taught me that they do not follow their own rules, nor are they in any way truthful in their correspondence to you. In fact, they lie like rugs. My issue is that they threaten people who do not post often enough with dropping their blogs, but allow SOME blogs that only carry one new post every other month to continue carrying their ads for years and years. And when you call them on it, they give you a song and dance about how they won’t discuss other blogs and how what that blog is doing has nothing to do with what YOUR blog is doiing. (Note, this was never about MY blogs, which were being updated multi-times a day, but the blog of a wonderful writer that needed this tiny share of revenue.)

    Additionally, they pay different people different rates. The first group to sign up, before membership was opened to the general public, get more $ per clicks than the rest of the groups. Blogher will deny it, but it’s true.

    I think they are a money-grubbing organization that has pretended to be a community and to encourage bloggers, but the truth is, they’re ONLY in it for the money and now that there is blessed competition from their conferences, they have to clean up their acts a bit. What other organization have you heard of that sold conference tickets MONTHS before an agenda or speakers were announced. How unprofessional is that?

  25. Feb 12, 2010

    If you have some kind of documentation for this stuff, I’d be very interested. I’m sure there’s no reason why they cannot pay out at different rates per click to different bloggers, or pay some bloggers with a flat fee (I’ve heard a rumor about that as well), but I would still love to know about it if it really happens. I need some kind of proof, though, not ephemera from years ago. I’ve only been blogging for a year and a half, so stuff that happened several years ago is not something I can vouch for. I’m not particularly interested in spreading more rumors about what BlogHer does or doesn’t do, but I would LOVE to know all of the things they are doing, whether contractually allowed or not, provided you can give me some kind of proof.

  26. Feb 12, 2010

    I have a ton of respect for PW and am convinced that a business that has her on board is going to prosper. For that reason, I’m glad she’s on BlogHer now. However, if the sheer number of ads being served does not increase in proportion to her membership in the network (I would assume, perhaps foolishly, that it will at some point), then it’s not going to be beneficial to me specifically to stay. That’s my biggest concern: the BlogHer statement does not give me confidence in the idea that there will be any kind of safeguards against this happening, and while I respect why they’d make such a decision, it might be something that makes me reconsider my network affiliation.

  27. Feb 12, 2010

    Hmm. I am really wondering about that.

  28. Linda
    Feb 13, 2010

    There’s definitely something strange about the headlines PW is being given. If you check them out, you’ll see that the same headlines (simplyrecipes and other friends) have been there for at least 4 days now, while the headlines of other Blogher authors change on a daily basis.

  29. Feb 14, 2010

    Thanks for this well written article. You bring up a lot of good points that have me really wondering about what’s going on in our ad network. I can’t see how suddenly adding a site with millions of page views to the network won’t be taking away revenues from the rest of us – especially considering how low the ad inventory has already been these past few months. I’m really hoping BlogHer will respond to us with something more than that vague one paragraph statement.

  30. Feb 15, 2010

    Interesting and good job sorting through all this, Anna. I am late to the party and I confess that even though I am in the Blogher network I don’t know that much about the business and how it all works, so these kinds of posts are always interesting to me. Blogher is funny, I was on the waiting list for a while, and then one day I was magically summoned from the waiting list. Don’t know why (except for my awesomeness, of course).

    I do like PW, even though I’m not a regular reader. I just went over there, though, and noticed that one of the network headlines she’s serving is the same as one on my page. Does this mean that we’re in the same pool thingie or whatever, and that one of my posts could possibly appear on her page? So I should go pick out my Oprah show outfit? 🙂

  31. Feb 15, 2010

    I hope for more from BlogHer as well. I’m guessing we won’t get it, though.

  32. Feb 15, 2010

    Sorry, but I think that one is on all of the BlogHer ads today, because it’s a link to a post that’s actually at BlogHer. I will say that I have been noticing far fewer click throughs and blanks since I wrote this post. I didn’t want to make a big deal about it, because who knows if it’s coincidental or not, but something’s up lately.

  33. Feb 17, 2010

    This is fascinating! While I am not yet ready to make the jump from “blogging for fun” to “blogging for ‘a job’,” I am very interested in seeing how this all plays out. Now that I understand how the ads are assigned and the methodology by which blogs get promoted, I can see how this could be a huge revolution in how BlogHer operates. Much like how Google can rule the world with a single line of code, the ins and outs of how BlogHer manages the PW influx could really change the landscape of blog advertising as we know it.

    Thanks for explaining it all so well and articulating the many questions the whole situation poses. I can’t wait to see how it all goes down. As for the “sour grapes”… I think most people are just trying to explain how this is an industry concern and not just and anti-PW or Anti-big-blog issue. You explain it best of course!

  34. Feb 18, 2010

    Well, I dumped Blogher ads months ago. This just makes me all the more glad that I did.

  35. Feb 21, 2010

    Great article,Anna. I’m just starting some research on the Blogher network. While I understand the concern about PW siphoning off ads, I think it’s misplaced worry. It might be my television background, but more readers (even if they are PW readers) are good for the entire network. It will attract more and bigger advertisers that’s bound to spill over to eveyone else. As someone pointed out earlier, this is a business (and please, please let my blog be one those that shows on on the Blogher crawl on PW’s site!).

  36. Anonymous
    May 18, 2010

    I quit BlogHer a year ago to get my own ads – thinking I was going to be making more money that way. I hate the way I can’t even mention a product and not worry about the contractual agreements in fine print. I don’t want another ‘review page’ because it compartmentalizes my blog. I have missed the revenue, but I don’t want to go back because of all the hoops I have to jump through… and why shouldn’t I accept an offer to give away a 200$ item if I want to? After all – we have Walgreens and CVS across the street from each other in real life.

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