When I first started blogging (almost two years ago), I ran a text ad on Dooce for several months, and many of my longtime readers originally found me this way. The ABDPBT Featured Bloggers Program launching this week is my effort at recreating this kind of specially targeted advertising space for other bloggers in my niche who want to grow their readership. The idea is: offer very low cost ad space to one blogger per week (and only other bloggers are eligible for ad space at this rate), and encourage the community here to visit that blog a few times and see what they think.
Now, let’s not kid ourselves: I don’t have Dooce ’s traffic. Oh, how I wish that I did! But alas, I cannot promise you the number of clicks I was getting off those text ads on Dooce. That’s part of the reason that I’m offering this space at like one-twentieth of the price that I paid to advertise on Dooce. But I do think that the community here has grown enough to support some advertising clicks, and even if it turns out to be a total bust, I think the price of $1 per day is low enough that nobody is going to go home with hard feelings. So, I want to set some guidelines and try to clear up confusion ahead of time today. Please read below for more details, and ask questions in the comments if there’s anything I’ve overlooked. if you are interested in participating (and have not already contacted me about this), please be sure to email me at anna at abdpbt dot com and/or comment below and I’ll ad you to the list.
- The price of $7/week is mostly a weeding tool. When I first thought about running a promotion for bloggers here, one problem I foresaw was that I’d get a huge influx of bloggers looking for easy publicity to their blogs who were not really invested in the community or regular readers of this blog. Part of what I want to do is create a space for bloggers who are likely to appeal to my readership, and for this to work there has to be some barrier to entry. My theory is that, by setting a few barriers to entry (money, creating graphics, waiting for space), we will weed down the participant list to people who really want to grow their blog readerships and are willing to make an effort to do so.
- Only one blogger per week means more clicks. I’ve already got a healthy list of interested bloggers, so those of you wanting to participate will have to be patient. You might be wondering why I don’t increase the number of spaces, and that’s a good question. I’m not going to do more than one blogger per week, at least at present, because I want to make sure people are actually clicking on the featured blogger’s ad. The more people who advertise, the more potential for spreading out the impact of the ad, and distracting people from visiting the site. So, at least until I get a feel for how successful this is, I’m not going to allow more than one ad. I hope you’ll all be patient with me while we get an idea of how much traction this thing has.
- I am going to visit these blogs; I hope you all will join me. The featured blogger program is kind of a hyper-targeted blogroll, because there is only one person per week, and what I am saying to you when I put the ads for these blogs up is, “Hey, I’m going to go over and check out this person, and see what they are all about. Will you join me?” Which is kind of like a blogroll, except slightly different, because of course you have to pay for this, but it’s also not asking much to visit one new blog every week, just to give it a shot. It’s tough to ask that of a list of blogs, and also . . .
- I don’t really believe in blogrolls. Well, I believe in the theory of blogrolls, but I don’t like the reality of them, which is that they are often meaningless because people either never update them or because they put everyone on them in an effort to be and or appear “inclusive.” I don’t know about you, but my blog reading list is constantly changing, and if I posted a blogroll I’d have to be constantly updating it and also fielding complaints from people with hurt feelings. Sometimes I like a blogger but I stop reading them for a few months and then go back. Am I supposed to take them off and put them back on every time? And also, what about all those bloggers who I think are talented, but are just not my “thing”? I don’t want them to feel like I don’t like their blogs, when really I’m just not interested in raising cattle or knitting or whatever. This is why I don’t regularly plug other bloggers in the form of a blogroll, and I’m also offering it to answer the inevitable critics who think it’s tacky of me to charge for promoting other bloggers.
- Max time for running an ad, at present, is two weeks. As noted above, there is already a list of people who want to participate. To make things go quicker, I’m going to limit everybody to a maximum of two weeks at a time for this go around. When I contact you about your spot, you can let me know if you want one or two weeks, and after your purchased time is up, you can always get in line to advertise again. If the number of interested people changes in the future, I’ll defintely consider changing this rule to fit the response.
- I don’t like fugly crap in my sidebars. You can choose your graphic (225 pixels wide by 150 pixels tall), but if I think it’s too ugly I’m not going to let you run it. Sorry, my blog, my rules. I don’t want any flash or animated gifs. Again, perhaps this will change in the future, but for now I’m going better safe than sorry. All of the graphics will have to be approved by me before I run them, and knowing me if there’s some kind of egregious aesthetic problem I’ll probably help you fix it (whether you like it or not) before I put the ad up. Keep your descriptions down to 20 words or less — you already have a graphic doing most of the work for you, there’s no reason to write a dissertation.
- I reserve the right to raise prices, within reason, if the demand becomes overwhelming. My goal is for this program to always be very affordable. However, there are only 52 weeks in the year, and if there are so many people wanting to participate that I’m looking at a two or three year backlog, it’s possible that I’ll have to raise prices to accommodate this. If I do raise prices, I will notify everybody ahead of time, long before their ad is slated to run, so that they can take their names of the list, if necessary. Once you’ve paid for your slot, though, that’s the price you get for that time period.
- I will invoice you with PayPal *before* your week begins. Keeping up with the virtual paperwork here is going to be tough, so I’m going to do everything up front. I will contact you within the next week or so to confirm details on your ad including when it’s likely to go up, etc. Then, a few days before the ad goes up, I’m going to send you a PayPal invoice. Your ad will not start running until I get paid, so if your start date comes and goes without payment, I’m going to bump you and let the next person start their week. So don’t be a slacker!
- I know there’s something I’ve forgotten. This is the first time I’ve tried anything like this so I know there’s going to be something I’ve forgotten or a problem I haven’t anticipated. Please be patient with me, and please go out and visit these bloggers!