Fun with ads on my blog

There have been 2 really interesting and innovative ad platform services to come out recently from Right Media and Feedburner. I’ve been playing with both on my blog, but I’ve only scratched the surface of the potential here.

First, Right Media’s publisher service is called RXDirect which hopefully will open up to everyone from the closed beta soon. It’s plenty robust enough to serve any small publisher’s needs, and some of its clever capabilities may prove useful to large publishers as well.

You get a simple self-serve ad management system where you can drop in new creative including ad code from your ad networks like YPN or AdSense or even Feedburner. I’ve also loaded in a house ad. It took only a couple of minutes to setup each ad.

Then you get your Right Media ad code to post into your web page templates.


Immediately, you get to watch nearly real-time reporting on your ads.

Now, here’s where it gets interesting. Right Media is also an ad network platform…not an ad network but rather an ad network platform for other ad networks to create inventory markets.

As a publisher, I can request permission to post ads on my page inventory from any ad network in the system. If the ad network approves me, then the ad network will serve ads to my site and pay me their rate for those impressions. I don’t need sales people on staff. I can just hook into an ad network that makes sense for my market.

I suspect that if they get the ad network platform right, we’ll see mini ad networks popping up everywhere, small telemarketing outfits in niche markets all around the world negotiating niche ad impressions for niche publisher inventory.

Wait, it gets better.

Right Media has opened up their APIs. They tell me they are using their own published APIs for their own tools, along with other internal APIs, I’m sure. And the APIs seem pretty well documented.

That means that market makers can potentially create their own ad networks, self-serve ecosystems, in essence. My mind spins at the possibilities here, but we’ll have to wait and see what happens at this early stage still. The key to this working is maintaining their self-serve approach. If it works, this system could be massive.

Similarly, Feedburner has taken a meta approach to creating niche publisher/advertiser networks. Publishers can create networks of feeds whose inventory can be purchased by advertisers. I setup a network called “Internet Voices” where I thought I might get a bunch of Internet media bloggers who use Feedburner to open up their inventory for advertisers. Feedburner will sell our inventory for us.

Feedburner is so focused on serving publishers you just have to admire them.

They also released a dynamic graphical ad unit generator. It’s basically a badge or widget. You give it a background image, and they burn your feed headlines on top of it.

The dirty little secret is that Feedburner knows that advertisers are quickly becoming publishers. As advertisers learn how to reach customers directly the role of intermediaries (media properties) changes. And an ad unit that publishes dynamic content starts to get at that.

It reminds me a bit of the huge outdoor billboard The Industry Standard had near the San Francisco Bay Bridge that scrolled current headlines we fed to it from the web site.

Anyhow, I took a feed from the FlipBait web site and created an ad unit that now runs in rotation on my blog via my Right Media ad server. I don’t have enough data to see whether the ad performs well, but that’s not important yet. This is the beginning of some new approaches to marketing.

Cool stuff, guys. Can’t wait to see what you do next.