Here Om and I discuss some the challenges of operating a blog. The industry is in its infancy. In particular, there are difficulties with advertising networks and lack of analytics.
SM: Are you following what Time Warner is doing with companies like Adify? OM: I have not. There are several reasons for that, mainly I need to worry about my own thing, so I am basically not paying that much attention to Adify. I know what they are doing, and what their model is about. I think it will be interesting to see what happens with them.
SM: What about other ad networks; are you seeing other innovative things from the industry? OM: So far, to be honest, nothing has just grabbed my attention. The game is still all about selling CPMs, which is what blogs are annoyed about. I think this is why I feel that guys at FM do a better job, because they are educating the market at the same time. They are selling sponsorships and that yields much better revenue for blogs.
SM: Sponsorship is not a performance based metric. OM: True, but I think that is the part of the business that needs attention from everybody. The whole industry needs to think in terms of how you are going to value these assets. That is very crucial.
SM: On the other end of the spectrum, I think Google is doing a very bad job of selling blog adds. Between Google at one end of the spectrum and FM at the other, there remains huge opportunity. OM: There is a massive opportunity. I agree with you. This whole business could used a little bit more transparency. There are a lot of things you can’t yet get on a daily basis. We can’t even get decent stats.
SM: The stats are terrible. That is a whole other issue. OM: This is as ambiguous as the print business. We laugh at the print guys, but in reality we are the same. Between Google Analytics and a few other tools, you just don’t get any transparency of metrics.
SM: Google Analytics is a joke. OM: It’s just a yardstick. None of the tools are exactly good.
SM: I agree, the whole analytics and the monetization of the long tail side are big opportunities. That is one of the reasons I asked if you are tracking Adify because they are trying to fill that gap to some extent. It remains to be seen … their execution is nowhere near what it needs to be. Any other thoughts? OM: The only thought I had is that I wish I had more time to hang out with my friends, like you. Thank you for inviting me for the chat, it was fun. I feel like you are my therapist! I enjoyed myself.