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Old 03-17-2007, 10:48 PM   #1
wsz
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Lightbulb Where Is The Industry Going?

What kind of trends do you see happening in the next couple of years? I don't mean any breakthroughs or disasters. But, rather, the style and tone of the online ad industry?

My guesses:

CPA / Affiliate programs and networks will continue somewhat as they are. BeFree is practically already gone. LinkShare has been putting forth some good effort, but still need more work. Especially to compete with ValueClick, who have extra resources and diversification.

And ValueClick's strategy is important. The decent quality CPM/CPC of FastClick, plus the experienced and refined CPA/Affiliate infrastructure of Commission Junction, now under the same parent. Buying BeFree seems to have resulted in (and been intended as) picking up a few big-name sponsors to shift over to CJ.

Everybody has Google somewhere in their mind. CPM/CPC networks (and PPC networks) facing that "400-pound-gorilla" competitor. And publishers trying to find good-paying, reliable performance (plus payment safety) for banner spots.

But Google also needs to diversify, and they know it. You can tell from the range of non-ad stuff they have introduced over the past couple of years. And that means serious resources going to a proper CPA / Affiliate system. NOT just contextually-selected banners using CPA filler deals. But something directly on the same level as Commission Junction. So we can integrate CPA text links into our content, with our control. The toiling, human micro-management that is my own focus. NOT just an isolated box of links controlled by their scripts.

What about Casale, and Burst, and Tribal Fusion? I dunno.

Pure CPM / CPC is hard and stressful for everybody on the buying/network side. Worries about wasted blocks of impressions from poor (and poorly-targeted) creatives (a few million here, a few million there...) And CPC is all about the fraud hassles that just won't rest for even a minute.

And then the publishers suffer stoicaly through poor fill rates, low CPMs, hair-trigger fraud accusations, sleazy soft-pr0n creatives, and flashing trick-through cheesiness. All of which were annoying even when they were new, at least five years ago.

CPM advertisers will offer less money, for larger, more complex, and more bandwidth-intensive ads. Maybe next, they will want 3-D ads that reach out of the screen, and forceably put those red-and-green cardboard glasses onto your face, so that Mercedes looks like it's driving through the room. While blasting an annoying speech, even if your computer doesn't have speakers.


What about some of the smaller, more obscure CPA / Affiliate networks? Some seem to be doing reasonably well. And that's a good thing

Even as a young adult (which was, uh, "some" years ago), in non-geek occupations, I liked commission and piecework type deals. Including the blue-collar jobs I had back then. I've hardly ever been paid by the hour. So CPA fits my personal style.

Of course, as a site publisher, I go for every structure that I can. Although I still want to get into email newsletter stuff, but face the stress of mistaken spam complaints, plus compliance, schedules, etc. I already get people screaming that ancient posts on a Web forum I used to publish, dissed them (including a recent note from a lawyer.)


Looking into my two-year crystal ball...

I see contextual stuff, everywhere, in CPM, CPC, and CPA banners, and both text and graphics. With lots of efforts to offer self-serve PPC.

Some heroes successfully compete somewhere on a much smaller scale than the dueling Google and ValueClick behemoths. With "successfully compete" including decent cheques for pubishers with our noses to the grindstone. Particularily in CPA / Affiliate areas. OTOH, I see a never-ending arms-race between CPC providers and fraudsters. But an average publisher will still have a chance for a modest AdSense payment.

I see trouble in the American economy. Maybe less money for buying stuff online. On the other hand... A diversified approach can help, no matter what you are selling. Your menu can include gourmet fare for the rich folks, and macaroni for the poor folks. Beethoven to Brittney. The highest-end home theatre, to the cheapest MP3 player.

The catch is... doing it all at the same time...

.
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Old 03-18-2007, 11:18 AM   #2
gtmash
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Interesting post.

In your ad examples, you mention "so that Mercedes looks like it's driving through the room." Dude! Anyone of us would kill to have Mercedes ads! All we get are talking smilies and free iPods (incidentally NOT from Apple).

CPM feels like it's stuck for the past 3 years. Same frigging rates month after month.

Where is the new dot-com boom that we hear about so much nowadays? Limited to new no-income mega-sites?
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Old 03-19-2007, 10:40 AM   #3
purdue512
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Default I see things much worse than you

I'd have to say I'm not nearly as optimistic. I've focused mostly on the affiliate marketing side and have reached three main conclusions:

1) Many are ****s.
2) Affiliate members often don't really have an interest in the product.
3) Affiliate members often don't do the work they need to promote their site to generate revenue.

This entire model seems to be broken. Perhaps it's the ease of entry (i.e., it costs nothing to join an affiliate program).

It also seems that as the economy slows (which it has done in cycles for a LONG time), some ad money will dry up for a few years. Perhaps this will be good as it will get the spammy stuff off the table for a bit (though it will return).
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