Advertising, General, Journalism

It would appear that Matthew Buckland has a plan for the World Association of Newspapers. The same plan that Linda, Clive and the people of Darwen are working on…

I have Laura Oliver to thank for this. Or rather @lauraoliver.

But then we did have a chat, at length, yesterday as to ‘Where next?’; so maybe me and mine were fresh in her memory.

Either way, she pointed me in the direction of this…

http://www.matthewbuckland.com/?p=675

Why it might be of interest ain’t rocket science; not for anyone who has followed the birth and beta trial of ‘addiply’.

Many, many moons ago, I sat in New York on a revenue panel at Jeff Jarvis’ www.NewsInnovation.com gig at CUNY. I was the thorn between three BlogAd-type NY well-heeled corporate roses; www.addiply.com was little more than a twinkle in anyone’s eye as everyone pondered how we would ever make the web pay.

Afterwards, in the ‘break-out sessions’ that followed, that point was hammered home; that unless any of us decided to run a Britney blog – or a Jade Goody one – then our days were numbered; that we were all engaged in ‘a race to the bottom’… before we knew it, Google would have a salesperson in every town and city in the UK.

And we’d be toast.

Memories of which prompted a wry smile this morning…

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2009/mar/27/google-cuts-200-sales-and-marketing-jobs

Twat.

But we digress.

Cos you read Matthew’s piece again and it is clear that one or two others are also starting to wonder out loud whether Google – particularly with its AdSense hat on – might not, actually, be the answer to everyone’s revenue prayers. Search, that’s all their’s…

Revenue-wise, people are loking elsewhere – for new, little experiments beloved by Mr Shirky. Be that our Linda of growing www.darwenreporter.com fame – or, indeed, the World Association of Newspapers.

Why? Well, one of the reasons is a lack of transparency, apparently…

‘For most publishers, Google does not disclose the Adsense revenue share percentage portion due to the publisher, obliquely insisting that the “majority is given to the publisher”.

‘Google has been criticised on many occasions for this lack of transparency. Google does make an exception for larger online publishers, in which specific commission deals are negotiated…’

This is, of course, a walk we’ve walked before.

http://outwithabang.rickwaghorn.co.uk/?p=106

More importantly, given the current tenor of the times, I think the need now is for transparency; for numbers; for honesty…

Caveat vendor and all that…

http://outwithabang.rickwaghorn.co.uk/?p=249

All of which would appear to sit very nicely with the ‘big idea’ behind Matthew’s project.

The big idea: Create new media-centric search & advertising network

  1. Transparent commissions: Commission structures (ie. what is paid to advertisers, WAN and the publisher) should be transparent, with between 70%-90% of the revenues redeemed to publishers. It’s important to be clear that the lion’s share of revenue generated is transferred to publishers. This is not a venture for profit.
  2. Profit-making, yet non-profit: Another important way to differentiate the new offering from Google and create a favourable image for the project in publishers’ minds and get buy in is to emphasise that the profits are for the industry and for the individual publishers. Unlike Google, the primary aim is not to make profits off this programme, but to ensure its members make the bulk of profits and earn the revenue….

Which is why Craig, Linda, the PeoplesRepublicOfSouthDevon, etc… are all taking home 90% commission.

And that figure will, in my little mind, go up again as we scale. That they can take home 95%…

That, after all, is the basis of Evslin’s Law at work.

http://outwithabang.rickwaghorn.co.uk/?p=238

And there’s more.

9. Do-it-yourself, minimalist interface: The interface publishers and other stakeholders would use for signing up and administering the new advertising programme would be minimalist and easy to use, much like Google’s Adsense interface. It will result in low admin and generally help to keep costs down…

So, say, you just get Clive’s Photography to pop £10 into Linda’s PayPal ‘meter’; Linda decides her own revenue model and Clive can then see – exactly – what number of views and click throughs he’s getting on www.darwenreporter.com for his £5 per week…

As Linda herself explains…

http://www.darwenreporter.com/2009/03/advertise-with-darwen-reporter.html

Why I think it would work, writes Matthew…

  1. Publishers would write about and advertise the initiative: Publishers would write about the initiative and advertise it, generating interest and publicity.
  2. Smaller publishers would embrace the concept: It provides smaller players with more transparency and a greater revenue share on the new advertising programme. It’s the small publishers (eg smaller sites and smaller blogs) in particular that may feel “bullied”. It would also mean that advertising revenue would not flow out of countries to one dominant company — as is the case with Google’s Adsense programmes…

As Linda herself explains…

http://www.darwenreporter.com/2009/03/advertise-with-darwen-reporter.html

Conclusion
There is no doubt that this is an ambitious plan, possibly a bit crazy too. Publishers need to control their destinies by innovating and creating new models that support the interests of their organisations and industry….

… I think it would work.

Me too, Matthew, me too…

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