So about a month ago, i thought I'd make the fickle decision to add advertising to my blog. A tricky decision for a personal site owner to make at the best of times. Lucky for me there was a relatively new player in town that has made it their business to cater to a very niche market better than the big boys.
Giving away a part of me
Diary of a Ninja has become a part of my everyday life for nearly a year now. I wake up every morning and reply to emails from people who’ve stumbled across my part of the web while still in bed. I religiously respond to any ELMAH bugs the site shows (luckily only one noticeable one so far). And being the loser i am – I also check my stats a couple of times a day (Having the apps Analytics and Ego on one’s Jobsian handset of choice can be a time-waster waiting to happen).
It is because of this continued constant drive to make the site what it has become, that i have become very attached to it – it has become part symbiotic with me, as a person. It has driven me to realise how much i like sharing what little knowledge I laughingly think i have. It is part of the reason that i have become interested in becoming more of an Evangelist in my day-to-day offline world.
Me and this site are pretty good buddies.
1. The most wanky/over-hyped buzz word to have on your resume
2. To think that you (wrongly) have even the slightest intelligence to share with the world
So why sell-out?
Given this fact, you would instantly then wonder why the hell i would bother to even consider giving the well-to-do people of internet land with yet another place that they can get spammed by useless crap?
Not a page view goes by these days without Google knowing you’re enjoying the “privilege” of knowing-that-they-know, that you are surfing a site about wedding floral arrangements, or that you like to torrent, simply because while you are doing said things, the happy people at Google Adsense are trying to best predict which ads to serve you.
This type of advertising is crap. And when you consider the fact that Google is the first company to get this kind of right, you realise how wrong putting advertising on your site can be.
That’s why I'm using The Lounge Advertising Network. Because they are not Google Adsense.
The Lounge offers something that no other (read: I'm yet to find any other, so I'm probably wrong) advertising network can give me.
They can guarantee that they will only show advertising that my visitors will be interested in. Ads that are personally vetoed before being added to the rotation and are guaranteed to only be related to Microsoft .Net technologies.
You mean they only show ads that I'm interested in? But that's almost not advertising!
Yes… Almost. Well that is the way i look at it anyway.
The Lounge is run by James Avery of Ruby Row, The Lounge and now TekPub fame. So while juggling all of these projects, he appears to accomplish what a lot of the big boys can’t in niche market advertising – so big up to James!
So onwards and up wards with my trial of adding ads.
A month on
So some of you reading this because you’re a subscriber, others because they found this page through a Google background check on the service before dipping your toes in and joining. Either way, you may be wondering how the experience has been so far.
To summarise this I'll make categorized statements on a few things i would think are important if i was wanting to use them on my site.
Quality of ads
The quality of the ads provided by The Lounge is very good. They seem to be either .Net components, tools or .Net developer services. These appear to provide a pretty good CTR for a crappy little site like mine (i get about 0.2% CTR). Additionally i must say that i had a dislike for one ad that i saw on the site, as it broke my layout with bad text copy. A simple email to The Lounge, and the ad was modified – THIS IS HUGE. Personal service? Yes you heard correctly – and i believe this is a huge brownie point for them.
Speed of content delivery
I must say that from the moment of my application, right through to signup and support with CSS customisation, all emails were responded too within a matter of hours and were very friendly. Add to this my comment above mentioning how quickly they made changes to an advertisers ad to keep me happy and I'd have to give them a 10/10.
This is probably the only thing that i thought could have had a bit more work. Living in the world that we do, Google Analytics and the like have bred us to expect lots of pretty charts, cross-referenced stats etc. The Lounge’s publisher members area shows only the following:
- Average click-through for the publishers group you are a member of
These are displayed in either monthly or daily report scopes with basic bar graphs that are exportable to CSV.
While i understand that there isn’t much more you really need to know, more information would be awesome in the future. I know that there are a lot of people who make the decision to monetize their blog to attempt to replace income from other sources – these people want to be empowered by as much information as possible so that they can better leverage their advertising with their content. These people might want a little more from their reports.
Some things I'd be interested in seeing:
- Ad view / Click through by page URL
Does a certain type of page/page content attract more clicks on ads (i.e. can i see if playing with ad placement works for, or against me). Do i have a popular page that is a good earner?
- Ad view/Click through by referrer
Do people who come from Google search or Digg click more, less or not at all etc.
- Ad view/Click through by search words
If people are coming through search engine referral’s what key words seem to attract more clicks?
All up I'm quite happy with their service so far and will be keep the ads on the site while i continue to grow. Furthermore i would recommend the service to anyone with a .Net blog looking for an ad partner.
And at the end of the day, personal recommendation is probably the highest compliment i can give.