It was inevitable.
Just as in the physical world advertising eventually found its way to airline tray tables, gas pumps and human babies, digital is trying to monetize every nook, cranny and idle pixel of the Internet.
Sponsored search created the most dominant business of the twenty-first century -- Google. Facebook baited and switched its way into a tidy sponsored-post business. Twitter is deep into sponsored tweets. But what’s left that has the reach, the scale, the potential audience to make advertising interruption worth the trouble?
The only thing left with genuine ubiquity is the online comment section, which obviously is a sewer, a circle of hell, a bilious playground for the id, strewn with jagged glass and incoherence and malice. Who would try to turn that into an advertising medium?
Oh. Disqus would. That’s the vendor to publishers of comment platforms, and these folks are smelling opportunity:
Whether you're looking to build brand awareness or drive engagement around your content, Disqus can create a campaign to accomplish your goals.
It's easy to get started. We incorporate your existing brand content into a Sponsored Comment. Our programmatic platform brings your campaign to scale.
Disqus offers “native advertising at scale,” which is like offering locusts at scale. But putting aside the pestilence that is native, can we for a moment contemplate the thing that gives native its supposed power and its very raison d’etre? Namely: editorial environment.
Here’s what I’m going to do right now; I’m going to random search Yahoo for comments about the “Seattle Seahawks” in advance of the Super Bowl. Then I’m going to search YouTube for, oh, I dunno, Miley Cyrus. Then I’ll search Vice.com for “Iran.” I have not scoped these out previously. As I write this, it is 3:51 p.m. EST. The next paragraph will begin at 3:56.
3:56 p.m. Okay. I’m back. And here y’go:
DAN 15 hours ago1
Seattle is Known as the Suicide Capital of the USA, they're already bringing in Extra Suicide Hotline People to Deal with Nutcases after the Seachickens LOSE !!! Better call Kurt Cocaine
Sia Kate Isobelle Furler
I f***k you miley you are a ugly bitch i swear everyone hates you because you cut your hair! F***in miley you was naked # stupid wrecking ball # f*** you
Rick ONeill · Reading Area Community College (RACC)
Yo anas your name resembles where shit comes from...so please dtop talking your stinking up the world...f*** u and f*** islam...go rape a goat....
Bless their hearts. Such solid argumentation, nuanced analysis and wit. Now, obviously, I went cherry picking for mouth breathers, but come on. Half the population is dumber than average. Half the population is more angry than average. Half the population is more frustrated than average. And half the population is more malicious than average. Even a casual perusal reveals that comment sections attract the left half of those bell curves.
And you don’t have to be discussing sports, entertainment or politics to attract the dolts and trolls, either. I’m now going to search The Guardian for “poetry.”
All right. Got it.
A middle aged man name of Chaucer
Met a wife from Bath, tried to force her.
She said "Let me pass" -
Shoved a rod up his arse,
And made him eat shit from a saucer
Says Disqus: YOUR MESSAGE HERE.
Yes, those guys are smelling something, but it may not be opportunity. The sales pitch to advertisers is that they can reach the most assertive, most engaged users of the Web. There’s some truth to that, I suppose. Once you get past the crackpots, malcontents and blithering imbeciles. My question is what’s next.
Sky’s the limit, baby. I mean, if you’re looking for an assertive and engaged audience, the jihadist-video segment is just ripe for the plucking.