9 Surefire Ways To Infuriate Your Ad Network

by anna on April 26, 2010

  1. Attempt to democratize the process of making money from a mommyblog by posting a series of how-to articles explaining different models for monetizing blogs and blog-related endeavors exclusive of large network sanctioned display advertising.
  2. Suggest that there might be a means of throwing parties and having fun without cultivating sponsors with the help of venture capital-funded Silcon Valley douchebags.
  3. Discuss the moral repercussions of promoting the world’s worst brands with the world’s worst business practices at the world’s worst compensation rates.
  4. Find innovative ways to mold your content to meet your own ends while still adhering to even the most draconian of editorial laws.
  5. Actually take the time to run your advertising reports and figure out what they mean.
  6. Point out that, under the terms of your contract, you can still do product placement, even if you are running their display ads, if you go about it the right way.
  7. When they try to say that you cannot run product placements, point out the open secret that somebody else on their network is doing the very same thing, right now, in fact, with their endorsement.
  8. Point out that there is a standard method for measuring pixels and that it does not include changing resolution in Photoshop.
  9. That, in fact, people can check such things on their own copies of Photoshop at home, because most people come equipped with their own brains standard issue at birth.

Got a list to share? Here’s what to do:

  1. Write a “list” post on your blog.
  2. Copy this code, and paste in the text of your post:
  3. Either comment or email me at anna at abdpbt View definition in a new window dot com to let me know you’re participating, and I’ll link you up below.

Check out these list lovers:

  1. So . . . About That Post That’s Been Giving Me A Headache | ABDPBT Personal Finance
  2. Juliet at Temecula Blogorama
  3. Ginger at Ramble Ramble
  4. Heidi at The Maxwells Madness

{ 13 comments }

animzmirot April 26, 2010 at 2:25 am

You know, I’ve been following your blog for a few months now, since the first Blogher expose a while back, and I thought to myself often, “I really really LIKE this woman.” I don’t say that often, because for the most part people do not think the way I do, nor do they see injustices the way I do. And they certainly don’t see that particular organization the way I have from the very beginning. I’ve NEVER been a fan, and like you, when I see something wrong, I posted about it. Until they dropped my blog. Surprise, surprise. Now my issues with them went in a lot of different directions. They are TOTALLY clueless about Jewish issues and absolutely REFUSE to admit to it, or to all a Jewish person to post about Jewish issues. I’d love to see them do that with a hispanic or black topic. But they will not listen to reason and allow only one (non-Jewish) viewpoint about Judaism, the most liberal to the point of water-downed Christian-Jewish support for all Jewish events. I’m sorry, but maybe us Jews don’t want our most holy days circumvented by Gentiles writing about their interracial, intergenerational, inter-religious seder experience. It is not how WE celebrate, it’s about how the world celebrates. And Jews mostly hate it.

But I also am infuriated when they do not ask all of their blogs to conform to the same rules. They allow one blogger to post 2 times a year to keep their ads, but threaten other bloggers who post regularly on a weekly basis. And that’s just one of many issues that annoy me.

Plus the conferences. OMG, they are the biggest fucking joke ever. Two years ago when they had the brilliant idea to ‘take it on the road’ they sold tickets two MONTHS before they posted any agenda or speakers. Talk about taking your money and running. Maybe a lot of these husband supported bloggers can toss out a few hundred on a conference that they really don’t want to attend, but most of us can’t. Plus, have they EVER heard of handicap accessible conferences? They mention one chair-bound blogger who gets everywhere and that’s their only model for the disabled. Unfortunately, that’s not how MY disability works and they would not even bother to listen to what I and another blogger had to say about this. They don’t care.

I hate them and I’m honest about it. I hate that they promote the same 100 bloggers over and over again and never even bother to look further to see if they can find more capable folk. MOST of their circus acts know little to nothing about their topics. They aren’t professionals at all. And with all the drinking and swag and mwah tongue exchanges, just how professional are they ever going to look? I’m an ex-academic and if that kind of crap ever happened at one of the many MLA events I attended, people would fall over dead. I worked for 20+ years in the software industry and lordy… you don’t see a bunch of computer nerds with sparkly unicorns. It’s juvenile at best and at worst…plain insulting to serious women working in serious jobs who don’t need cocktails to make an evening interesting and informative. Conferences are supposed to be learning experiences, right? Well, not that one. It’s a fashion driven drunk fest. And I don’t and won’t waste my money on that.

Anyhew, enough ranting. I totally love your viewpoint. Just sayin’

anna April 26, 2010 at 9:24 am

Hi Margalit:

That is you, isn’t it? I was writing this and thinking, I’m starting to sound like Margalit, and now everybody is going to dismiss me. Oh goodness.

Look, I’m not going to lie to you, having you support me is not going to help my cause. Right now, I’m tempted to take support wherever I can get it, but the thing is, when we get so blinded by the injustices we see the message starts to lose credibility. I want to try to avoid that here. I really appreciate you speaking up in support of me, I do, but I can only talk about what I know, and what I know is the stuff I’ve been looking into with the ad network. That’s the stuff I’m going to try to get to the bottom of.

Thank you for being willing to talk about it to me, publicly, and for being willing to support me publicly, though. I do appreciate it.

Juliet Grossman April 26, 2010 at 8:18 am

It can be hard to stay true to yourself. You are so thoughtful and sincere about your approach. I know this whole experience is hard for you. Keep your chin up!

I have a list up today: http://thanksgivingfeast.blogspot.com/2010/04/lists-spiritual-view-of-blogging.html

anna April 26, 2010 at 9:21 am

Thanks, Juliet. I hope that is what I am doing. I think that is what I am doing, I really do. It’s hard to know sometimes, when you keep getting told that this is not what you’re doing. (I’m not sure if that makes sense.) It may not be immediately apparent, but I am extremely susceptible to criticism, so when people say that I am being unfair or trying to force some other agenda, I immediately go back and look at everything again trying to figure out if that is in fact what I’m doing. Then I start to wonder if everybody else is right. It can be crazymaking. But I really feel like I don’t have a choice in this case.

I promise I won’t be making this blog all about this, though. I know it’s getting tedious to read about at this point. Still, thanks for the support, both public and private, from everyone.

SoMo April 26, 2010 at 10:06 am

Just wanted to say I am glad you are talking about the stuff that no one else is willing to talk about. I don’t understand much of what is going on, but I am willing to keep an open mind and look at all sides.

I am sorry that you have lost your ad revenue, but I have noticed more bloggers have long ago stop using BlogHer ads. Hopefully, you will find another program or develop one yourself to bring back in what you have lost.

Good Luck

anna April 26, 2010 at 11:50 am

Hi Somo,

Thanks. Yes, that is an important thing to note. Many, many people have stopped using BlogHer ads, and I would guess it is for the reasons I’m talking about, but we don’t know because they haven’t shared the information publicly. So I’m going to go ahead and share it and then people can decide on their own if they want to partner with them or not. It seems like that’s the best approach — it may be that many people will still find that BlogHer ads meets their needs, but for people over certain traffic thresholds especially, it’s just not a good idea.

Brooke April 26, 2010 at 11:22 am

I have been following your very thoughtful and intelligent breakdown of this whole issue. I don’t know a whole lot about monetizing blogs. I didn’t really want to have someone else dictate my content, so take my comments with that in mind. While reading this list I started wondering about that concept. In ethical journalism, the editorial section and advertising sections are kept separate so that the ad dollars don’t corrupt the reporting. That’s not to say everyone is ethical and that it works as though it’s some utopian profession. But I do think that there is at least an attempt to maintain editorial freedom. Most journalists I know are just trying to write their stories, not run a PR campaign or satisfy advertisers. That doesn’t seem to be the case with a lot of blogs, and I think part of that is that the blogger is both the writer and the advertising department. There need to be some standards in blogging especially with ads, and I think you are asking the right questions.

anna April 26, 2010 at 11:56 am

Hi Brooke, thanks for commenting. Yes, it’s tough to have somebody dictating your content. They didn’t really dictate my content much at all until very recently. Then, I found some creative ways to get around their guidelines, and it only became cumbersome when they told me those were not acceptable. Regarding the editorial separation of journalism, that’s a farce — I mean, Mr. Right-Click and I were looking at this month’s issue of Details, where there’s a giant ad for this one Gucci perfume, probably the most expensive ad in the whole issue, and then you flip over to one of the “editorial” sections, and there’s that very perfume featured as one of the supposedly unpaid features. It’s just not something that occurs. There’s product placement everywhere, even in newspapers, though I think to a much lesser degree, because reporters are off on their own getting stories and not influenced as directly by the people making deals with advertisers.

But with me selling my own ads, at the very least I am the one interacting with my readers and I know what they like and what they don’t better than BlogHer Ads. I know they are more likely to get excited about hearing about a product from Magpie Lovely (a current sponsor) than they are going to be excited about a product from Tide or Nestle (the kinds of companies BlogHer runs ads for).

It’s a tough issue, though.

Brooke April 26, 2010 at 12:15 pm

I definitely think it’s a bigger issue with magazines than newspapers given how heavily PR targets them. I don’t think that editorial divide is the same.

I think it’s much smarter to sell your own ads. You get to negotiate the terms, and as you said, you are in greater control of the sponsors and how they relate to your readers.

Ginger April 26, 2010 at 12:50 pm

I don’t envy you this position–you’ve said that this came to find you, and given how I’ve watched things unfold, I tend to believe you weren’t just jumping at the chance to throw yourself to the wolves on this. But you’re doing something that is in everyone’s best interest.
If people want to stick with BlogHer, because it’s easy and they don’t have to think and all that, fantastic. But let them do it with ALL the information. If they look at this stuff and go, “well, that’s fine, but I still don’t want to do the work myself” DANDY. But let them make that choice fully informed.
Whatever plays out here, keep in mind that there are a lot of us who respect what you’re doing, both in terms of finding out the truth about ad networks, and delving into (and sharing) new ways to monetize. You’re trying to make it better for all of us.

And on a lighter note, my list is up.

jonniker April 26, 2010 at 2:27 pm

This is what I’m upset about, in addition to the issues you raised here which, if all allegations turn out to be true, are unethical and upsetting:

I’m tired of the hypocrisy. I’m tired of BlogHer and other women-centered organizations and individuals claiming to encourage open, honest, critical dialogue and encouraging open, honest, critical dialogue about OTHER organizations and individuals, but when the lens is turned on them, suddenly behaving like it’s inappropriate and libelous.

You dish it out, be ready to take it. Personal attacks on *personal* bloggers is one thing, but as more blogs and individuals turn into businesses, folks had better be ready.

Man up, BlogHer. Passive-aggressive douche tweets (I’m looking at you, Queen of Spain, and I have no beef with you otherwise) and cries of “She’s lying!” will get you nowhere, except to lose my (and others’) respect. And I’ve personally never had a problem with BlogHer. I would just prefer if a company I do business with engage honestly and behave professionally and honestly. I can promise them that I will.

Which tier do you think this comment dropped me to?

Heidi April 26, 2010 at 9:15 pm
Alexis April 27, 2010 at 11:11 am

I am late to the commenting party because this post (and others on the topic) have led me to spend a lot of time thinking about all this. In a nutshell, what you are doing is great because the benefits of people’s choice within a free-market economy are only benefits if those people have all the information they need to make a good choice. The push for transparency is vital. While I do not envy you for having to do it, giving these issues some attention will only serve to make the business of blogging a better place.

Thank you Anna!

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