I’ve never displayed advertising on my blog before, mostly because I hate reading blog posts on SOAP and seeing Google ads for Ivory Liquid. Targeted advertising, on the other hand, is entirely different.
Most people will not hesitate to tell you how much they hate advertising, myself included. There’s nothing I despise more than having a down-to-the-wire Red Sox / Yankees thriller interrupted by a bunch of Viagra ads (my junk works fine, thank you very much) or a beer ad in the middle of a great movie on TV (I don’t drink beer um, very often). And billboards? Don’t even get me started on how much I hate billboards.
But truth be told, it’s not advertising that we all hate so much, it’s untargeted advertising. That is, advertising that has no real connection to the media we happen to be consuming at the time. I happen to subscribe to a lot of motorcycle magazines, which are always stuffed to the gills with ads for bikes. But because motorcycles are something I am passionately interested in, the ads don’t bother me at all. When I run across an ad like the one to the right, I read it. That’s because I really, really like hot Italian models, of both the two-wheeled and human female variety.
James Avery over at Zerk Media really understands the power of targeted advertising. One of the projects he's built is the Lounge Advertising Network, an exclusive network of trusted, respected, influential publishers (mostly bloggers) who are focused on Microsoft technologies. The idea here is that if you’re reading a blog that is primarily MS-centric, you won’t mind seeing ads for cool Microsoft-related development tools. In fact, you’ll probably appreciate them being there, because you're passionately interested in developing on the MS stack, and the ads are for stuff that you might actually be interested in and want to learn more about.
I really appreciate that James seems to run a very tight ship over at the Lounge. First, James is pretty picky about the advertisers and advertising he accepts. These are well-respected and established companies, and the products all seem to be of high quality. Second, the ads themselves are pretty unobtrusive – a 120 x 90 pixel graphic and less than 100 characters of text. That’s it. No Flash, no sound, no garish banners, no in-your-face auto-play video crap. James understands that when an ad is well-placed, well-written, and well-targeted to the interests of the audience, 120 x 90 is all you need.
As a reader, if you have any feedback on the ads you see here, please don’t be shy. Love them? Hate them? Let me know in the comments or via the contact page.
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