Washington Post Gets Into Blog Ad Game

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The Washington post made an unexpected move today. They launched a product called blogroll where they will give certain blogs rotating space on the Washington Post home page, and push advertisers to those blogs.

Steve Rubel has good information on what Blogroll is offering. The advertising system seems most like Blogads, where blogs are grouped by topic and advertisers can purchase space on the blogs in bulk. The revenue split appears to be 50/50.

Whenever a new advertising platform is launched I check out Jeff Jarvis’ blog because he’s tried them all and is a good judge of whether of not something will work. In this case, he’s very bullish, saying the combination of promotion and sales creates a “virtuous circle”.

I’m more lukewarm on this. I think more ad networks are good things, but mostly because they will compete with the other networks and drive margins inevitably down. I consider the 40% I pay FM Publishing, my agent, way too high. But they are still a young service and I’m sticking with them. Eventually, though, they will have to fall to more sustainable levels or risk losing their bigger properties. As blogs get larger, hiring an in-house sales person becomes much more reasonable that paying ad networks 40-50% of total revenue.

I also think there is more room for business model innovation where blogs and other websites take much less risk than they currently do. At this point, if ads don’t sell, the blogs are out of luck. Something I’ve suggested to FM is that they simply negotiate with me every three months for a set fee to “own” the advertising spots on TechCrunch. We’d get guaranteed revenue, and FM would take the capital risk if they don’t sell the ads. They also get the upside if they sell more than they anticipate. When risks are properly allocated in this way things become more efficient. FM would have less incentive to focus on getting new blogs into the network and more incentive to sell lots of ads to the sites already in the network (something Newsvine commented on and then updated). So far FM hasn’t responded to this request, but my guess is that they or someone will eventually adopt this model.

  • http://www.techcrunchit.com/2009/06/04/liveblogging-microsofts-ray-ozzie-on-the-potential-of-cloud-computing/ Liveblogging Microsoft’s Ray Ozzie on “The Potential Of Cloud Computing”

    […] We’re at the Churchill Club’s “Potential of Cloud Computing” event, where Wired’s Senior Writer Steven Levy is interviewing Microsoft Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie. Ozzie made some interesting predictions on the future of cloud computing a few weeks ago at J.P. Morgan’s Technology, Media and Telecom Conference. Microsoft is continuing to assert its position in the cloud as the release of its cloud computing platform, Azure, draws near. Ozzie faced a few hardball questions from Levy, which you can find our analysis of here. […]

  • noooooobs


    Quite frankly they are toast anyway. There’s probably no more incompetent company on the planet of this earch then M$. Seriously, look at the crap they roll out, and maybe its just me. They take half a decade to deliver unintuitive, complex apps that really are obsolete.

    They are 2 slow adapting and developing, too bulky, and most important their IMAGE sucks.

    DO YOU REALLY TRUST A COMPANY that acts the way they do. With HTML5, with FLASH. Do they really have whats best for the user/internet in mind.

    Wave in contrary will be open, as a company you can run your own servers…

    Fact is MS does not get it, it’s run by a bunch of old faddy daddies, that were top 2 decades ago and now try to desperately hold on, while the rest of the world that really matters just has an odd and embarassing smile for them.

    I mean Bing, is a joke, Vista probably the worst IT project on the planet, their Servers suck, Win7 come on gimme a break is that it, SQL server been asleep on the wheel for a while, Cloud Computing…yeah right they can’t even get their own shit running and scalable… look at their websites and design, and look at googles… Am I really the only one that does see that.

    They need to take 5% of the brightest kids they have, found a new company and start kicking ass.. and getting rid of the rest – that includes ozzy and balmer. That’s their only chance to survive or not be marginalized.

    • Raza

      @noooooobs, I guess, using your argument, it is safe to say that Google’s Eric Schmidt should be fired as well since he is nothing but an ‘old daddy’.

      Microsoft bashing is becoming so obsolete. ‘Bing’ is a joke…. really…. have you even tried it? show us an example that it sucks and i will believe you.

      • only mistake

        Let me be frank, choosing name as “live” was the only mistake he did when he came to MS. They can never make “live” a brand, like google/yahoo became a brand, is there anybody thinks he can?

      • http://blogs.conchango.com/jamiethomson Jamie Thomson

        No I don’t, ut as far as I know Ozzie had nothing to do with that decision.

    • http://blogs.conchango.com/jamiethomson Jamie Thomson

      Do you have a blog because I would LOVE to read more pearls of wisdom like this. Don’t hide your intellect from the world – share your gift!

  • noooooobs

    A guy that calls Google’s CEO a pussy, and he’ll kill google etc… all the while his company gets kicked in his ass, gets pussy whipped and is being run circles around him and is being made to look like a clown, beats them in every metric that matters… and that for years.. what does it say BALMER.

    THAT HE IS SIMPLY COMPLETELY OUT OF TOUCH that he is a LUNATIC who does not see REALITY. And a guy like that at the helm to compete with google, when he fucked up, was at the helm for the greatest software failures in the history of the planet…

    Maybe it’s just me but if I were an investor I’d kick the guys ass… and say after wasting BILLIONS of $ on VISTA and a decade… in every other organization they would have burned you alive..

    Or take ozzy’s tour.. those comments.. just shows that he does not get it neither. Relyling on monopoly, market share.. instead of quality of product. They both just need to leave.

    • Nathan

      can some ban this idiot?

      • noooobwss

        if you’re 13 years…. you shouldnt comment on stuff you don’t understand.

  • unkie

    say what you will about MSFT’s challenges, design incompentence and crazy CEO but they generate enormous amounts of cash, have astounding revenues a btw, has created the core and ecosystem that spawned millions of jobs, companies and ideas…they deserve props in that context

    • noooobwss

      Yes they did all that 10 years ago…. name me any accomplishment they’ve done after vista…

      • http://www.google.com/ Latesha

        Now I feel stupid. That’s crelaed it up for me

  • http://www.GoTorque.com George Thomas

    Google is trying to be Microsoft and Microsoft is trying to be Google. The fact is both companies are facing huge hurdles, in a few years, they will face what the newspaper industry is facing – competition from anybody who can write code.
    Today, the newspaper industry is competing with anybody who can write a blog article (like TechCrunch, Engadget, etc.) The Tech section in the NY Times cannot compete with TechCrunch.
    Already, there are web applications that Microsoft and Google cannot compete with (craigslist, monster.com, and dozens more). This will continue exponentially.
    Google and Microsoft should be content with what they have and stop trying to grow. They should concentrate on Search and Windows software respectively. Why are they trying to grow larger and larger, look at what happened to CitiGroup when they tried that approach.

    • Leon

      cannnot compete with craigslist and monster? u gotta be kidding right?

      • noooooobs

        Leon agree with you… craigslist and monster… I was rolling on my floor.. the quality of comments…. here is simply astonishing

      • insight

        noooooobs you are a know nothing troll and do not see things as they are, Leon you are even worse. the guy has a point…

  • http://www.clouds.com Chris

    How come Ray cannot define Cloud Computing ?

  • http://scripting.com/ Dave Winer

    No Steve, I don’t take it personally, I wish you guys would stop with the flame bait. What I objected to was the use of the words death and kill. You’ve stopped using them, so go ahead and opine and I will read and consider what you say. I don’t care if any of these technologies ebb and flow, or one replaces the other. What I dislike intensely are the human metaphors applied to things that aren’t living, never have been, and never will be.

    • Steve Gillmor

      I stand by what I’ve said and have no intention of changing how I express myself. Your commentary since my post has been frequently personal. The “dead” metaphor has been used by me and others going back way before Generalismo Franco, who by the way is still dead. Dislike it if you like, but learn to show respect to those who have always given you the same.

  • jasons

    Has anyone else noticed that Microsoft appears to be on a roll as of late? Granted, like many tech industry companies, some of Microsoft’s core businesses have taken revenue hit. But lately they just seem like a company that is making sound strategic decisions, that is rolling out innovative, competitive products, and is pushing the boundaries rather than playing catch-up. Has something changed in the company’s management that is leading to this change?

    • noooooobs

      heeeee.. what are you talking about… well bing while still off.. was not a complete failure for a start..but it does not add anything that hasnt been here for a while.
      And otherwise I don’t see anything. Ozy’s appearance here simply confirms that nothing has changed…

      Competitive products.. name me one. And photsynth is nothing but a geek app. I mean something that actually is useful. Look at office 2007 after decades they can’t make a product that allows simple simple things. ITs packed with bugs, confusing, slow, big behemoth. Add features all the time instead of making it more conveniant, simpler, shareable, interactive…

      Look at livemail/hotmail, look at the ass backwards policies.. try forwarding email to gmail… not allowed. Try forwarding gmail to hotmail, allowed. Look at the ass backwards performance of their virus products, look at the vista garbage, win7 just the same as xp… , I mean seriously… what are those people doing.
      Wave has been developped within less then 2 years. M$ would need 2 decades for that.

      But I come back to my original statement take a CEO that thinks Google’s CEO Is a pussy.. and you get a company that gets pussy whipped!!!

      • jasons

        I would prefer to hear comments from someone who is over 13 years old and actually has something meaningful to say.

      • noooooobs

        do you always copy my comments… tzz.. loser…

      • Demo

        This article has spawned some interesting comments, but seriously noooooobs you are a complete moron.

    • Jason Sanders

      I completely agree. I’m quite impressed with what they have been coming up with recently.

      The New Zune Hardware, Project Nadal (for the Xbox) looks amazing, Windows 7 Rocks, Office 14embracing the web, Bing serving up results in an attractive UI…

      While there is still a series some misteps… this doesn’t seem like the same Microsoft from the 2000 days

      • noooooobs

        Bing is live with a new name…. that’s it. And some splash and marketing and u guys think it’s all different…. look under the hood.. notice how everything is similar…

  • http://solaroverpower.com/ Solar OverPower Tech Blog

    Generally, I’m on Google’s side when it comes to the MSFT-GOOG debate and I think MSFT will eventually self-destruct Bing.(and then finally acquire Yahoo search).
    BUT I just found from my blog’s statistics that, believe it or not, traffic coming from Bing IS OF MUCH HIGHER QUALITY than traffic coming from Google, in terms of no. of pages read, time spent on my blog (double that of Google visitors) etc..
    Read all about it, with screenshots, here:

  • Hyloka

    I paid a little attention when Live Mesh was launched, but recently when looking for a good way to remotely access my computers I installed it at home and it’s a pretty slick service. I’m looking forward to when they come out with the client application for mobile and I can control my home PC and access files and media through my mobile devices. Ozzie’s brought a lot of goodness to MSFT.

  • lrd

    I love seeing all these articles about Microsoft & Google fighting one another for control of search. While Apple’s really the company those two should
    be keeping an eye on.

    Soon to have over $30 billion in cash and amassing a huge content community for both the iPhone & iPOD Touch I’d be very concern is to who’s going to really lead the next revolution.

    Hint: I don’t think it’s going to be MS or Boogle.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tan_Ng/502271440 Tan Ng

    This article is typical linkbait. Leena Rao’s article has plenty of depth.

  • http://bobtuse.blogspot.com Bob MacNeal

    Great to hear Mr. Ozzie weigh in. I have made a living consulting on Microsoft products, but I also attended the July 09 Google Wave Hackathon and Federation Day to find out what all the buzz is about. I love the concept of real-time collaborative software. Google Wave is an interesting but immature product. There will be many challenges to adoption because we haven’t invented suitable metaphors for user activities. Thus the challenges are usability-based rather than technical.

    If interested, I’ve blogged about Wave at



  • http://www.techcrunchit.com/2009/10/07/ozzie-on-the-realtime-wave/ Ozzie on the realtime wave

    […] Google Wave, now being rolled out for testing by some 100,000 users. Ozzie followed up on his Churchill Club chat, where he described Google as taking on such a hard problem that it might limit […]

  • http://www.qibug.com/2009/10/ozzie-on-getting-users-to-do-the-realtime-wave/ Ozzie On Getting Users To Do The Realtime Wave | Tech stuff center

    […] Google Wave, now being rolled out for testing by some 100,000 users. Ozzie followed up on his Churchill Club chat, where he described Google as taking on such a hard problem that it might limit […]

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