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Last week, I ranted a bit about the number of blogs who were doing the same sponsored giveaway on the same day for the Windows 7 phone. This week, there was another blanket sponsored post campaign appearing in some blogs represented by both Federated Media and Clever Girls Collective (now associated with Federated Media for these kind of deals) for American Express.

This campaign does not seem to have been run on as many blogs as the Microsoft campaign, though I would venture to guess that the number of total blogs participating was still pretty high (I don’t have total numbers as of the writing of this post), and though the saturation level was high enough to warrant comment, I found the experience significantly less annoying for several of reasons:

  1. There’s no giveaway;
  2. The “Small Business Saturday” theme leads to much more authentic-sounding and, potentially, interesting posts than the stupid “Less is More” writing prompt of the Windows campaign;
  3. The idea of promoting small businesses is something I can get behind, even if it’s a huge credit conglomerate that is promoting it; and
  4. It can *almost* masquerade as a do-gooder, altruistic cause instead of what it is, which is a highly paid advertising placement.

Part of me thinks this campaign is great because it’s very smart, and then part of me finds it very very sneaky and is suspicious of it. American Express is a credit card company and as such I find it not credible that they are doing anything like a disinterested promotion of small businesses. Also, these are paid placements, and they are almost capable of making you think that they are not paid placements because of that altruistic, Horatio Alger bent. From one angle, I want to applaud them, but then I also want to throw eggs at them. That’s kind of how I feel about capitalism in general, though.

I also wonder what the hell happened to regular old display ads. Have we given up on display ads? Are we only doing content column now? Because if so, ugh. I don’t think that’s a good plan. I don’t want to be chicken little, but the sky might fall if all we are going to do is content column ads from here on out.

Thoughts?

Windows recently launched a phone that nobody cares about. But rather than just accepting that fact, Microsoft did what any large company with a mediocre product does: they threw money at the problem. In the social media space, this translated into calling up Federated Media, signing up for content-column placements on 59 blogs in the FM network, scheduling them all for the same day, and having them promote a Windows 7 phone giveaway. The posts were organized under the deliciously ironic theme of “less is more,” because not only does a 59-blog campaign for an unnecessary smart phone illustrate this point, but because there’s nothing like a little lack of self-awareness to announce how well-suited a brand really is to the mommyblogging space.

I was trying to explain to Mr. Right-Click (a non-blog reading, non-social media kind of person) what the problem with this campaign was, and this proved tricky, so I’m guessing this must be why Microsoft thought this would be a good idea in the first place. And it must also mean that, while whomever they have in charge of landing placement deals over at FM these days is clearly talented in selling the idea of social media as an advertising tool, they are not actually consumers of social media or — at the very least — not willing to set aside financial concerns for a better use of the space itself. Here’s the thing: I’m a mommyblogger, so when I open up my reader on Monday, and start reading blogs, I see one giveaway and it’s no big deal. I see two giveaways and I might smirk. I see three giveaways and I start to get annoyed. But now I’m only five blogs into my daily blog reading and ALL of them feature the contrived writing promptless is moresponsored by Microsoft, and bookended by a giveaway for a crappy phone?

Now I’m pissed. Now I’m wondering if there are any bloggers left who haven’t been bought off by Microsoft. Now I’m clicking through my reader trying to see just how bad the damage really is. Now I’m making droll observations to myself about how every single one of the people many of the people giving away these crappy Windows phones are enthusiastic an iPhone users. Now I’m getting on Twitter and making jokes about how bad this phone must be to require this kind of promotion. And now I’m going to find out how much these people sold their trust capital View definition in a new window for — and it better be a lot of money, because I love bloggers to make money, god knows I do, but this is a bad deal made worse by the volume of it, and I’m hoping that none of them knew how many people were involved ahead of time and that this is just a giant clusterfuck that could have been avoided with some carefully asked questions.

But no. This campaign involved 59 blogs, and it is my understanding that people knew ahead of time how many people would be involved. Though there was some variation on how bloggers were paid according to traffic, and though I cannot give numbers I can tell you that I gasped when I heard how well paid this campaign was. So, I’m happy for these bloggers that they are getting good compensation for their content columns. I’m just not sure if the audience alienation is going to be worth it long term.

Am I overreacting?

How To Maximize The Hits You Get From Twitter

by anna on November 15, 2010

I’ve had a Twitter landing page for ABDPBT View definition in a new window for a while, but it is in desperate need of an update, so I thought I’d use the sneeze pages I recently created to make a more complete and updated Twitter landing page for ABDPBT. The purpose of any landing page is to guide new visitors to your blog to your best content so that they are more likely to return. A Twitter landing page is just a landing page that is specifically geared towards the visitors that come to your blog from Twitter; if you are an active Twitter user and you check your stats regularly, you’ve likely noticed that a large portion of your referrals from outside sites come from Twitter. While any page can potentially serve as a landing page, the number of hits you likely already get from Twitter is a good enough reason to make a page that is specifically geared towards the readers coming from there. Below I’ve listed some ideas on how to guide readers from Twitter to content that is more likely to appeal to them and keep them returning to your blog even after they’ve clicked through once just to see who you are.

1. Use your profile address to link directly to your Twitter landing page.

The space in the twitter profile that asks for a website address is the place to put a direct url to your landing page, rather than just a generic url to your blog. This is the page you will set up as a sneeze page View definition in a new window of sorts with content specifically chosen for your Twitter users. You can name it anything you want, but as you can see, I’ve named mine “About Anna And ABDPBT.” Generally, I would avoid using a URL shortener on this section if possible — it tends to look spammy. If it’s not possible because of how your blog is set up, then fine, but try to keep things short enough to keep your URL normal looking on your profile.

2. Always give a link to your About page.

Though your Twitter landing page is likely to answer many of the same questions as your About page, it’s always a good idea to link to your About page anyway. People come to your site and want a quick way of knowing what your deal is, so give it to them, even if you already have a link to the About page in your navigation. If they cannot find the page quickly, they are likely to leave, so it’s best to make things as easy as possible, even if it means linking things over and over again.

3. Offer subscription options, plus an explanation of what “subscribing” means if possible.

The best way to convert a one-timer into a repeat visitor is to get them to subscribe. So give them that option on your Twitter page in a very easy-to-understand way if at all possible. If you have a post that explains the ins and outs of RSS subscriptions to the uninitiated, go ahead and link to that as well.

4. Link to other sneeze pages full of themed content, rather than to individual posts.

Even a good post is a “dead end” in terms of navigation for a new reader, so it’s always better to direct a new visitor to a list of great posts first before you direct them to individual posts. Setting up a bunch of sneeze pages that contain good posts organized by themes can help you with this. For example, on my new Twitter landing page I’m using several different kinds of sneeze pages to direct visitors to collections of good content, including posts on my issues with my former ad network, the entirety of the Tanya series, and a page full of posts with good comment threads. The more choices you give, the more likely you’ll offer up a solution that sounds enticing to the person who has clicked over from Twitter.

5. Include social media themed content, particularly if it concerns Twitter.

Users visiting your page from Twitter are (duh) Twitter users, so they might enjoy reading any material you have that concerns Twitter. This also goes for any other social media themed content you have. Putting together a sneeze page that contains your best content on the topic of social media can be useful for this purpose.

Hey everybody, we’ve got a new featured blogger ad up and running! Please check out Amy’s ad for Pregnant Chicken in the sidebar ASAP! If you’d like to participate in the ABDPBT Featured Bloggers Program, please email me and I’ll put you on the waiting list.

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