• The Future Of Video Ads Starts Today!
    A few months ago I wrote a post in which I argued that 30-second and 60-second video ads, especially when they cannot be skipped, are a terrible idea because they are considered the most annoying ad format, and because I don't believe you need that much time to get your point across. This should be of great concern to publishers, because ad annoyance causes readers to leave and to be annoyed with the publication, not with the brand. Since that time, three things have happened that give me hope that I am not alone in my views.
  • Why The Ad-Supported Model Will Destroy Online Publishing
    The online publishing industry is in a state of major turmoil; the relationships that bind advertisers, publishers and readers are increasingly tense and adversarial. I believe that the ad-supported business model is the root problem of online publishing, which will destroy online publishing as we know it today.
  • Of Wolves And Sheep
    In a recent post, I jokingly referred to consumers, publishers and advertisers as populations of predators and prey. The analogy reminded me of an area of mathematics known as system dynamics, which studies the behavior of complex systems over time. One of the best-known system dynamics models is the predator-prey model, an example of population dynamics models. The idea is simple: imagine a world in which only two species of animals exist: wolves and sheep. The wolves need other wolves to reproduce, and they must eat sheep to survive. The sheep need other sheep to reproduce, and in order to ...
  • Targeting Bayshore Boulevard
    I was driving on 101 South toward the San Francisco airport last week when I abruptly took the Cesar Chavez exit and followed signs to Bayshore Boulevard. I had plenty of time before my flight back to New York left, and seemingly no control over where my car took me. I had to pull into the parking lot of 3240 Bayshore Boulevard again - 13 years since I'd last pulled out.
  • Blendle: A Viable Micropayment Solution For Online Publishers
    Last week I wrote a slightly tongue-in-cheek post titled "Why Readers Should Pay For All Content." Unbeknownst to me, just one day earlier, the Dutch company Blendle launched a beta program in the U.S., an event I think will revolutionize online publishing while addressing many of the problems I raised in my post.
  • Why Readers Should Pay For All Content
    In previous posts, I have complained about the short-sighted approach of publishers and advertisers alike in the way they treat readers. I have argued vehemently against those who have accused readers of "stealing" or "breaking agreements" if they use ad blockers. I have suggested that publishers and advertisers should find ways to make the reader experience less offensive. However, I have finally come to the conclusion that none of these approaches could ever work. Instead, I think the best solution is for all publishers to come together and agree to charge readers for content.
  • IAB Talks About Consumers, But Doesn't Listen To Them
    A reader of this column invited me as his guest to a digital conference for local publishers two weeks ago in New York, hosted by Borrell Associates. Interactive Advertising Bureau CEO Randall Rothenberg was giving a speech on Adblock Plus, and my reader (thank you, Lubin) thought I would enjoy hearing it.
  • Know Thy Reader
    If someone exploring earth from a distant planet were to peruse the last year or so of articles related to digital advertising in preparation for her visit, she would conclude that there are three distinct species inhabiting our planet. Landing her spaceship in Manhattan, she would look around, expecting to spot the fanged carnivores known as advertisers, the laborious omnivores known as publishers, and the meek herbivores variously called readers or consumers (these terms being akin to the words cow or beef, depending on whether you are describing the grazing animal or the juicy steak you are about to consume). ...
  • The Trumping Of Adblock Plus
    I met the executives from Adblock Plus at a roundtable gathering in New York a few months back. They came across as well-intended people, authentic in their defense of the consumer. They came across likable - if that should even matter. What does matter: They came across as smart. They are, however, guilty of being a bit nave about the online advertising industry they have commandeered. That will get adjusted over time as they gain more ground between advertisers and publishers.
  • Dear Online Publishers: How About An Advertiser Directory?
    It used to be that virtually all print magazines included an advertiser directory: a list of the advertisers whose ads appeared in the magazine, along with a way of contacting the advertisers. In some cases, the magazine even included a tear-out card that you could mail in, checking off the advertisers in whose product you were interested. A superficial scan suggests that this practice is no longer common even for print magazines. And I can't say that I have ever seen an advertiser directory in an online publication. But why not?
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