Gawker Sees Promise Of Sponsored Posts
Also at the conference, Thrillist co-founder and CEO Ben Lerer said that Thrillist Rewards, in which New York events are "curated" and discounted for Thrillist's young male audience, "has worked so well" since its January launch that it will now be expanded to other markets.
Denton, who said Gawker's sponsored discussions are now in beta, gave an example of AT&T addressing consumers' complaints about network cell coverage in New York and San Francisco. By having an engineer, not a PR person, comment on "why it's difficult to improve the network -- here's what we're doing," he said, "you can turn people around."
David Carr, The New York Times media columnist who interviewed Denton for the conference, said he has not clicked on a Web ad for five years. "But I was watching 'Justified' last night, and the eTrade baby came on. I want to hear what he has to say. They're telling stories. Why isn't the Web doing that?"
"I like TV ads more than I like Web ads," concurred Denton. "I want ads of that quality on our site...I'm fine with running 15-second spots."
When Carr asked why so much Web advertising looks horrible, Denton blamed the need for "measurability," saying that the system was developed to reduce average CPMs by putting too many ads on the page.
Glam Media founder/chairman/CEO Samir Arora told the audience that online ads must combine "interactivity" with the "engagement" found in TV ads and the "emotion" found in print ads. But he added that they also need "volume, reach and quantity" to reach their full potential.