In The Trenches With Tamas Decsi, CTO Pressflex
In '99 when Tamas Decsi started out at Pressflex, a Web publishing firm with offices in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and Budapest, his main focus was developing the firm's content management system. But now his time is almost entirely devoted to keeping the Blogads network running smoothly. Launched in August of 2002, the Blogads network currently connects around 700 bloggers with advertisers who run ads on their blog Web sites for blocks of time at a price determined by each blogger. At Pressflex, a small outfit of seven full-time staffers, Decsi concentrates on optimizing the Blogads system to accommodate its expanding ad load. "Right now, we're focusing on surviving the growth," explains Decsi.
What are your favorite online destinations in the a.m., the must-reads before you start your day? Why?
Checking Slashdot is the first thing I do in the morning, just to keep up with the news and trends I care for. Then comes my daily Sherman's Lagoon dose [a comic strip at slagoon.com], just to start the day with a smile on my face. [The animal characters in the comic strip] are the sort of animals I like--the turtle, the fish. That makes my day.
What other sites do you visit frequently? Why?
I can't say I visit other specific sites frequently. I prefer browsing through links in an ever-changing line of thoughts. But that eats time, so it's rather a winding-down activity for the end of the day. Sometimes I go to Wikipedia [a free encyclopedia Web site at wikipedia.org], or if I have something specific to look for, then I go to Google. I have some projects that interest me in the open source world....It's always depending on my mood.
What is the most challenging part of your job?
Blogads started as a side project some two years ago, and we didn't know what to expect from it. Then it started to grow and grow, and then it grew a little bit more. I'd say--keeping up with this many-times-fold growth is the biggest challenge in my job so far.
What do you like best about your job; what keeps you interested?
Given the liveliness of blogs and blog advertising, there's really not much time to get bored here. Something's always happening, and this keeps me thrilled. I also love to hear people's success stories using our services.
That we are in a different time zone, this makes the business even more enjoyable because we are at least six hours away from American time. This affects our response time and all the [fixes for the problems occurring] during the American day time...will happen the next day in the morning before everyone there wakes up. It makes it a lot easier to be responsive.
The other cool thing is the Internet phone, and we have a phone number in America. [The number has a New York City area code.] The funny thing with this set-up is--I realize the Internet connects everything, and everything's so close that almost anything can be done. The only difference is the time zones.
Do you find working with blog sites different from working for more "standard" or "traditional" Web publishers?
Absolutely. Bloggers and traditional Web publishers live in different worlds. Traditional publishers need more time to make decisions, and they make those decisions in bulk. On the other end, bloggers respond so quickly that sometimes it makes me doubt if they sleep at all.
How has the blog advertising and media landscape changed since you started working in this emerging media niche?
I remember the fear in bloggers in the beginning that they might scare away their audience by putting ads on their sites. We've seen how this fear transformed to excitement over the past two years. The near future, I think, will bring general acceptance throughout the Blogosphere.
What do you think has brought about the rapid acceptance by bloggers of advertising on their blog sites?
The first few who tried--whether they can make some money accepting reasonable ads, they succeeded and they convinced others. The other thing is--with our system, bloggers are in full control of the ads they're running. They can filter it, so it makes it comfortable for them.
MediaPost's In The Trenches profile series aims to honor the real troopers of the interactive ad industry, the up-and-coming creative staffers, the ad sales underlings, the minds behind the technologies that make it all happen. Do you know someone who deserves a salute from MediaPost's In the Trenches? Let us know! Contact Kate Kaye at email@example.com.