TechCrunch pulled an interesting stunt the other day, asking the readers if they should accept advertising from PayPerPost, er, Izea, for their new RateRank product. A poll, which got 3,437 votes – a pretty puny number given that TechCrunch’s got 626k+ readers according to the FeedBurner badget – said no, and so the answer from TechCrunch to Izea was no.
I’m all for reader integration like this, Wisdump readers know that, but I’m also a bit curious as to how Michael Arrington reasoned here. He voted “no” himself according to the post, and that should be the end of story, right?
Personally, I couldn’t care less if TechCrunch runs ads for Izea products or not. While I think PayPerPost is a bad idea for bloggers, I do think Izea is taking a lot of unnecessary heat. I mean, I’m sure there are other companies that gets to advertise wherever they want, that do “evil things” as well, right?
The blogosphere needs to grow up a bit here, add a touch of cynicism I guess. They’re for profit companies, and that means that a lot of them will try to make money that doesn’t rhyme well with the visions of Matt Mullenweg and his cohorts, no matter how nice they may sound and be.
Speaking of Matt, he takes a pop at Text Link Ads in his post on this TechCrunch thing. He’s got valid arguments here, although his wordings are a bit strong.
On that point, I would encourage the crew at TechCrunch to re-examine their advertising and implicit endorsement of Text Link Ads, which pollutes the blogosphere in the same way PayPerPost does, by selling links with the intention of gaming Google.
Yes, Text Link Ads – and a bunch of other companies – are indeed selling text links, and they are being bought to game Google. They are also being bought for traffic, as most ads are, but sure, Matt’s got a point. Most media buyers using Text Link Ads are probably doing it for SEO purposes.
To close this up, I’d like to say that I’m thinking the blogosphere is in a serious transition phase, and I’m not sure where we’ll end up. While every blogger should have some kind of ethic guideline for what kind of ads he or she would run, I believe that we’ll all have trouble monetizing. Text links used to be a great source of income, but people are scared of losing their PageRank. At the same time, traditional advertisers won’t target the smaller bloggers, choosing the select few that’s got the big bunch of readers.
Which puts us at the same place where the Web was post-blogs (I use that term ironically by the way). It’s been pretty easy to make a buck without having thousands of readers for a few years now, but that’s passed, I think. It’ll only get harder from now on.
Thord Daniel Hedengren is a designer, writer, and blogger, and also the former editor of The Blog Herald. He used to be a hotshot in the gaming industry in Sweden, but sold everything and went International. Most recently he wrote a book called Smashing WordPress: Beyond the Blog, and does loads of kickass design.