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Publishers Debate Automated Ad Networks

ESPN Steps Away From Ad Networks

6:41 pm on Mar 24, 2008 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Administrator martinibuster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

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The article describes how mega corporates like Turner Entertainment New Media are reconsidering automated ad networks, and although AdSense was not mentioned, it's one of the biggest and presumably included in the reconsideration.

Even as more prominent sites experiment with selling remnant inventory through online ad networks... ESPN.com is saying thanks, but no thanks.

The site recently cut ties with Specific Media and several other unnamed ad networks, and is taking the bold stand that ad selling that relies heavily on arbitrage and algorithms is not for them.

...some sites, like ESPN, see networks as profiting on their brand investments and their user data, while also threatening their own marketer relationships. Many just think using networks devalues the power of content.


8:21 pm on Mar 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I'm surprised it took them years to figure it out...
9:27 pm on Mar 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

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This is because businesses have become more knowledable about how to to monetize their own traffic. Setting up PPC ads and ad networks is very simple. To calculate the amount of money you can make off of targeted traffic is getting more and more understood.

When I started PPC advertising it wasn't clear to businesses and the common person how this stuff worked. Now it is VERY clear. People were very skeptical of it (I miss those days) Since Google went public you can now look at their financials. The statistics are now known.

I would expect it to get harder and harder for SEO companies and "middle men" to sell their services to larger companies as time goes on. The days of the "click broker", as I call them, are numbered.

If you have the traffic and a brand it is not that difficult to monetize it.

9:28 pm on Mar 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

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This is similar to an article that Associated Press ran this week:

From my days in the print world, the answer is "it depends." If you have a magazine or web site that has a strong story to be told in and of itself, then tell your story to the ad buyers.

The problem is and long has been the lack of time ad buyers have in researching those places where to put the ads. The truth is, ad buyers typically are young people who have little experience and are scare to death they'll make a mistake and get in trouble. And, ad buying is boring. (Usually. This is why you will see media firm hiring very attractive, outgoing people to sell ads. It makes a difference.)

So, if you have the top widget website in the world, then you'd be wise to talk to the top widget makers, one on one.

Alas, typically it's not an either/or decision. And, typically, its a major problem for the number three and four media buys.

Let me add this:
If you are really into widgets, it's fun to sell ads to widget people. You learn stuff, meet people who share your interests. Therefore, if you love widgets and they love widgets, but you have no real reason to call them and talk widgets...? Call them and sell them an ad. And talk widgets! Fun! And, you might make money. (It's funny how when you're having fun in business the money comes.)

4:16 am on Mar 26, 2008 (gmt 0)

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In many cases, ad networks work much better than site buys because of the targeting the network does. In most cases, an individual media property simply can't deliver the same thing. If you value being seen on ESPN.com then maybe you want to go directly to the site. If you put the emphasis on performance of the campaign, then you'll probably want to go to an ad network because it is often not the context in which the ad is placed but the activity the person has engaged in before they get to ESPN.com

It could also be execs who log onto their computers at night and see ads for lip gloss on ESPN because thier wife or daughter was using the computer earlier in the day and wonder what the heck are those ad networks doing?

2:21 pm on Mar 26, 2008 (gmt 0)

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There will be a war between almighty Google who owns Internet traffic and producers of quality content.

Often big media like bbc has the much more relevant content for kws, but their pages can not be found at Google because tricksters and scammers occupy many top spots.

Yahoo and msn are even miles behind Google in terms of search results`quality so that Brin and Page are as safe as Gates and Ballmer as long there is no competitive product available.

Ok, bbc and ccn do not need Goggle, but very few brands outside the top 100 sites are able to survive without big G at this time.

3:07 pm on Mar 26, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Ok, bbc and ccn do not need Goggle, but very few brands outside the top 100 sites are able to survive without big G at this time.

I agree with most of this...

Building a company from the backbone of another is not a good long term strategy for control and survivability. Ultimately becoming reliant on revenue from few sources puts a company (website) in a delicate position. Being a top brand and relying on the revenue streams of other marketing machines could spell the end of a company if those marketing machines should fail. Additionally, if one's payout is in the hands of another company it can be difficult to plan for the future and any sustainable and justified growth,

Having control of your revenue, customer and marketing base is good business sense. Becoming to reliant on others technologies or customers is bad long term business.

[edited by: Edge at 3:08 pm (utc) on Mar. 26, 2008]

11:26 am on Mar 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

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fully agree with your post.

Trouble is, that Google OWNS search and advertising as much as MS owns the pcs. Apple is a minority thing like yahoo and live despite itunes, iphone.

These are unpleasant facts that publishers have to deal with.

The only way out would be some common publisher efforts to create their own search engine, that would have to be limited to quality publications with proper editorial background and rich content.

Publishers have to act soon because the Google monopoly is growing at full speed and aiming to control even the Internet TV market.

9:48 pm on Mar 31, 2008 (gmt 0)

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If you don't already have one, launch a "make money online" blog and you'll see how impossible it is to convert on advertising. The visitors you get are all more than aware of how ads work and can spot them with ease (and avoid them just as easily).

What that signifies to me is that as people know more and more about web advertising, the less effective it will be. The entire internet industry is saturated with ways of monetizing websites now, gone are the days when people click freely. Trust, and easy fat profits, are a thing of the past. ESPN decided it's skinny enough I guess :p


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